The United States welcomes the achievement of landmark consensus by the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities during last week’s meetings in New York.
Through these discussions, the United States sought to find solutions to common challenges and problems in an increasingly contested and congested space environment. The Group’s study was a unique opportunity to establish consensus on the importance and priority of voluntary and pragmatic transparency and confidence-building measures to ensure the sustainability and safety of the space environment as well as to strengthen stability and security in space for all nations.
The Group recommended that States and international organizations consider and implement a range of measures to enhance the transparency of outer space activities, further international cooperation, consultations, and outreach, and promote international coordination to enhance safety and predictability in the uses of outer space.
Furthermore, the Group endorsed efforts to pursue political commitments – including a multilateral code of conduct – to encourage responsible actions in, and the peaceful use of, outer space. In this regard, the Group noted the efforts of the European Union to develop an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities through open-ended consultations with the international community. Previously, on January 17, 2012, the Secretary of State announced that the United States has decided to join with the European Union and other nations to develop a Code of Conduct.
All UN member states share a common commitment to the pursuit of peace and security. We support the principle, solemnly declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1963, that the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried on in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation and understanding.
In the half century since this principle – subsequently incorporated into the 1967 Outer Space Treaty -- was recognized, all nations and peoples have seen a radical transformation in the way we live our daily lives, in many ways due to our use of space. The globe-spanning and interconnected nature of space capabilities and the world’s growing dependence on them mean that irresponsible acts in space can have damaging consequences for all. As a result, all nations must work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations.
The United States is pleased to join consensus to affirm the role of voluntary, non-legally binding transparency and confidence-building measures to strengthen stability in space. This consensus sends a strong signal: States must remain committed to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, security, and stability of the space environment.
The United States looks forward to the official issuance of the Group of Governmental Experts’ study and our future dialogues on these issues with the international community, including all relevant entities and organizations of the United Nations system.