EU Releases Revised Draft Space Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

EU Releases Revised Draft Space Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

The European Union (EU) unveiled a revised draft of its “Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities during a meeting at the United Nations last week. The Secure World Foundation and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) sponsored the event in conjunction with a meeting of the U.N.’s First Committee. The Council of the European Union had adopted it on October 11.

Meanwhile, the U.N. First Committee is proposing creation of a Group of Governmental Experts on Space Security to develop Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs) for space, according to SWF’s Ben Baseley-Walker in a press release summarizing the meeting.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose explained, President Obama’s new National Space Policy calls for developing TCBMs in order to promote “responsible and peaceful behavior in space.” As examples, he listed “dialogues on national security space policies and strategies, expert visits to military satellite flight control centers, and discussions on mechanisms for information exchanges on natural and debris hazards. Joint resolutions on space security, and the adoption of international norms or ‘codes of conduct’ are also examples of TCBMs.” Regarding the EU draft code of conduct specifically, Mr. Rose noted that the United States had been working with the EU over the past 18 months and hoped to decide “in the coming months” whether to sign on to it.

Jean-Francois Mayence provided a snapshot of the revised draft, whose purpose is “security, safety, sustainability” for all space activities based on four guiding principles: freedom of outer space as expressed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the principle of self-defense as expressed in the U.N. Charter, non-harmful actions, and the peaceful use of outer space.

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