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  • the moon agreement in the 21st century

    Paper number



    Ms. Antonella Bini, UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, Austria



    Forty years after the Promethean achievement of Apollo 11, the major space-faring nations are showing a renewed interest in missions to the Moon. The United States, China, India and Japan are developing lunar exploration programmes, and Canada, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, the European Space Agency and other countries have revealed their future plans for human and robotic mission exploration of both the Moon and Mars. 
    In the 1960ies, in the context of the Cold War, the decision to land humans on the Moon was perceived as a strategic political instrument. In the 21st century, a considerable increased number of space actors complicate the scene with sectorial and national interests. Security still prevail although economic considerations play an increasing role. Commercialisation and privatisation of space activities, leads to new challenges raising the issue of the role of the international legal framework. 
    In this context, the Agreement Governing the Activities of the States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Moon Agreement) could be able to play a relevant role. There are several political and legal questions that arise for discussion. As of today, only 13 States have ratified the Moon Agreement, and an additional 4 have signed but have not yet ratified it. Moreover, some of its principles continue to be object of debate in relevant fora.
    At its forty-sixth session, the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) decided to include a discussion on the activities being carried out or to be carried out on the Moon and other celestial bodies in the forty-seventh session of the Subcommittee in 2008. 
    In light of the above, this paper reviews the activities held within COPUOS and its subsidiary bodies, in particular its Legal Subcommittee.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.E8.4.11.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.