Jun 10

Montevideo statement by the IISL President

Montevideo statement by the International Institute of Space Law President Prof. Dr Kai-Uwe Schrogl on the occasion of the GLAC conference in Montevideo, Uruguay.



Dear colleagues,

The International Institute of Space Law (IISL), which is a sister organisation of IAF, is glad to support this GLAC 2018 conference. IISL is pleased to provide legal and regulatory inputs and analyses to various IAF activities. This is true for the jointly organised International Astronautical Congresses and also for IAF’s global conferences (such as the first GLAC and the recent GLIC on space in the information society) and the International Space Forums in Trento and Nairobi. At the present GLAC conference, IISL is providing speakers and inputs during the various sessions, which shall add legal and regulatory aspects to the scientific, technical and policy presentations, since law and regulations are an important tool for providing a stable and reliable frame for space activities as a whole.

As we are meeting here in the Latin American region, I would like to emphasise the long tradition and strong academic and practical experience in this field. I would just single out the Professors Maureen Williams and Jose Montserrat Filho associated to IISL as long-time members on the Board of Directors. It should also be highlighted that space lawyers and diplomats from the region have played key roles in the development of space law, in particular in UNCOPUOS and other international organisations such as ITU.

This year the United Nations will hold a special session of UNCOPUOS, commemorating the first global UNISPACE conference which took place five decades ago. Space law will figure high on the agenda, since it is of such paramount importance for each of the spacefaring countries, protecting your activities, enabling safe and secure space activities and making equitable and fair progress possible. The deliberations at GLAC can contribute to the deliberations at UNISPACE+50 in view of the future development of space law.

Last year the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty was celebrated. The OST has laid the foundations of space activities up to the current day. It is rare that an international agreement can celebrate such a long-time anniversary. The reason can only be that its provisions are of practically timeless value and their implementation and acknowledgement mirror the State Parties continued appreciation and respect. Let me point out the most relevant such principles contained in the OST: freedom of use, peaceful uses, sharing of benefits, non-appropriation, State responsibility and liability, international cooperation.

In this context let me make a first point. The provisions of the Outer Space Treaty (and the agreements which have been based on it, such as the Astronauts Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention, the Registration Convention and the Moon Agreement), which are of a particular value also for developing countries since they respond very much to their needs and interests, can only be translated into benefits when States actually ratify the OST and the other space law agreements. So far, only 110 States have ratified the OST and far less States have ratified the other agreements. Therefore, signing and ratifying the space law agreements is very much encouraged in order to become a beneficiary of the principles enshrined in the corpus of space law. IISL is open to support any such initiatives with our knowhow and our network of experts.

Whilst the principles of the Outer Space Treaty can be regarded as solid, their application has to take new developments into account. To name a few: the regulation of private space activities through national space legislation, the regulation of new types of telecommunication technologies and services, the search for dealing with cyber activities/security as it relates to space activities, Space Traffic Management, the regulation of the use of extraction and use of space resources, and the search for an approach for the regulation of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS). These issues of national and international relevance might even require new legislation or arrangements. From the perspective of IISL as global association for the promotion of space law, these developments should be conducted in an open and inclusive way. That was the second point which I wanted to make together with the offer from the Institute to be entirely dedicated to supporting such developments and providing assistance, in particular in the field of the establishment of national space legislation.

Space applications, as any other space activities, require a solid legal and regulatory foundation, in order to develop with the greatest possible reliability. The basic framework has been set out in the Outer Space Treaty and the following treaties and UN General Assembly Resolutions. This GLAC is in a position to provide new views and perspectives for the further development of law and regulation. IISL is glad to accompany and support this challenge.