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Luxembourg And UNOOSA Partner For ‘Space Law For New Space Actors’ Initiative

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA (left), with Paulette Lenert, Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation (right). Photograph courtesy of the Luxembourg Space Agency.

On 13 November 2019, at the margins of the New Space Europe Conference, Ms. Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Ms. Simonetta di Pippo, Director of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a funding agreement to support UNOOSA’s new “Space Law for New Space Actors” project.

The “Space Law for New Space Actors” project will offer UN Member States tailored capacity building to facilitate their drafting of national space legislation and/or national space policies in line with international space law, promoting the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Such capacity building will support in particular new and emerging space-faring nations to conduct space activities in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Furthermore, the project will increase adherence to the existing normative framework governing outer space activities. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty), which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2017, serves as the foundation of international space law. This normative framework has been instrumental in supporting over half a century of exponential growth in space activities and the global space economy while ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable outer space activities.

Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Paulette Lenert, explained: “Space-based activities are becoming more important in our daily lives and research has shown that around 40% of the 169 targets behind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) benefit from the use of space. This innovative and forward-looking project specifically aims to include developing and least developed countries, to give them a voice and a chance to participate in the discussions around space law and to become “new space actors” in the framework of international space law.”

The development of the space sector is a priority for the Government. Luxembourg is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which was established by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development.  Moreover, the Grand Duchy has further increased its engagement and entered into dialogue and partnerships about space activities with a growing number of countries.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo commented: “With now more than 70 Member States, including some least developed countries, operating national space programmes, and many more beginning to explore the opportunities offered by space activities, it is necessary and incumbent upon the Office to provide the support required to increase adherence to the existing normative framework governing outer space activities. The partnership with the Government of Luxembourg is invaluable towards meeting that demand.”

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