MIL-OSI Russian Federation: Statement by Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov at the Opening of the First United Nations Conference on Space Law and Space Policy, Moscow, September 11, 2018

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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Dear Mrs. Director,

Dear Mr. Deputy Director-General,

I would like to welcome the organizers, participants and guests of the first United Nations Conference on Space Law and Space Policy. I am sure that this event will be a good platform for wide discussion and exchange of experience in this field.

It is expected that the Conference will contribute to the formation of competences in the field of space law and space policy, incl. in developing countries, taking into account the objectives of the existing program on capacity building, training and education implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. We expect that the participants in the Conference will demonstrate a high level of analysis of approaches by which states could be guided so that the United Nations, and in particular its Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (the UN Committee on Outer Space), can successfully ensure the further development of the international regulation of space activities.

Allow me to make some comments that seem appropriate in the light of the agenda of the Conference.

Periodically, general references are made to various international forums on the need for the development of international space law. Nevertheless, there are no common approaches, both at the academic and political levels, regarding the use of potential new legal regulation.

It is well known that after the General Assembly, by its resolution 34/68 of December 5, 1979, approved by consensus the Moon Agreement, the member states of the UN Committee on Outer Space increasingly began to adhere to the idea of ​​further international regulatory framework through the development and adoption of specific legally non-binding instruments.

This approach seemed acceptable and reasonable, since it provided an opportunity to provide a regulatory framework in specific areas of space activities (such as the use of nuclear power sources in outer space) on the basis of political commitments. Such a concept essentially meant proper regulation, which was characterized by additional flexibility and fully met the requirements of responsible behavior in outer space.

A similar approach, if fully and effectively applied to the set of guidelines for ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities, work on which, unfortunately, was interrupted in June this year, could help fill the obvious gaps in international legal regulation of security in outer space. Unfortunately, for political reasons this did not happen. If all states were more constructive and far-sighted in dealing with the serious issues of the security of space operations, the UN Committee on Space would make a significant step towards the formation of a wider system of general security in outer space.

International regulation in the space sphere seems to have lost significance for some states that claim that their own standards, procedures and practices are of exceptional value.

The situation surrounding the negotiations on the development of a set of guidelines for the long-term sustainability of space activities is of particular concern to us.

It goes without saying that States should be encouraged to formulate policies at the national level that regulate their space activities in accordance with international law. However, there should not be any geopolitical subtext and intentions to establish rules for the entire world community.

We would also like to note that, for all the importance of the development of the so-called. the best practices, states can not afford to switch to the development of future international documents containing only references to such practices or their general description, because through such documents regulation will not be possible.

Legally non-binding regulatory regulation could play an even greater role if states supported it through the adoption of appropriate policy directives at the national level. I believe that I will be right if I say that Russia is the only country that, in its Military Doctrine, unequivocally confirmed its commitment to the establishment under the auspices of the United Nations of the security regime for space operations. We would invite all states to follow this example, thus creating prerequisites for the success of future negotiations.

There will inevitably be greater problems if States neglect international regulation of space activities and embark on the path of empowering themselves to regulate outer space beyond what is permitted by international law. The one-sided approach is already evident and manifests itself, first of all, in attempts to form a completely new, politically motivated understanding of how to develop space resources. The fascination with the policy of unilateral actions can damage safety in outer space.

The existence of an appropriate international regulatory framework relating to the security of space operations, for which Russia is advocating, would mean that States successfully advance the objectives of building confidence in space activities. The very regulation would be an important factor in the formation, in particular, of the so-called model. traffic control in space (UDC), which is seen as a possible new concept for the implementation of space activities.

It would be in the interests of all states to reach reasonable judgments regarding the potential UDC. Meanwhile, we are all at the very beginning of the process of comprehending and developing potential new international regulation. For example, the provision and joint actualization of information about objects and events in space is of critical importance for such an undertaking. Nevertheless, in the context of developing a set of principles for ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities, the states agreed only on a general provision on the need to exchange information on objects and events in space, failing, however, to determine the tools for achieving effective information interaction.

Given that the United States, in its recently approved political documents, suggested that other states “integrate” their interests in the US national structure of the UDC, we could expect that the United States will nevertheless share its vision of a truly international UDC regulation.

Russia is actively working on ideas of potential regulation that would prevent the emergence of conflicts in outer space. We advocate a comprehensive study of the factors that endanger security in outer space. It would be very important for states to have international regulation that would help ensure that contingencies in outer space do not get out of hand and should be resolved.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that it is not too late to jointly understand the new effective international regulation in outer space. Russia is ready for such substantive work.

Thank you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should be grammar and / or sentence.

MIL OSI Russian Federation

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