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2020 Space Security Conference


2020 Space Security Conference

UNIDIR is pleased to invite you to one of its annual flagship events: the 2020 Space Security Conference (OS20): Are we in an arms race in outer space?

OS20 will provide an informal setting to consider whether there is already an “arms race in outer space” and how the international community can still “prevent an arms race in outer space”. If it cannot be avoided, how can such an arms race best be managed?


Tuesday and Wednesday, 7-8 April 2020. Conference Room XXIV of the Palais des Nations. Light refreshments will be available throughout the event.


UNIDIR encourages the participation of representatives from Permanent Missions to the United Nations and experts on disarmament and arms control with access badges to the Palais des Nations.


If you require registration for access to the Palais des Nations to the event, please click here. Please contact Reniel Arganoza at with any inquiries.




2020 Space Security Conference: “Are we in an arms race in outer space?”

7-8 April 2019

Room XXIV, Palais des Nations, Geneva

A Conference organized by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in collaboration with Secure World Foundation and Fondation pour la recherche stratégique


DAY 1 – The Challenges

  • Keynote address
    • Why the international community needs to ask, “Are we in an arms race in outer space?

  • Panel I — Indicators of an arms race in outer space
    • Over the past year, several countries announced major policy shifts regarding space and defence, including the establishment of dedicated military units and the acquisition of counterspace capabilities. This panel will discuss indicators, for whether there is an arms race in outer space. This includes geopolitical rivalries, enabling capabilities, and accelerated development of arms.

  • Panel II — Space activities in cross-domain strategic competition
    • The growing possibility of an arms race is not limited to the space domain. Indeed, counterspace capabilities are only part of a greater trend towards the development of cutting-edge weapons across several new domains. This panel will explore how space technology is intertwined with strategic and conventional arms, such as in the case of hypersonic missiles and missile defence.

DAY 2 – The Options

  • Panel III — PAROS at 40 years
    • The international community has been talking about PAROS for more than forty years, and the concerns of today still echo those that existed at the outset of these discussions. How has PAROS evolved, and what are the key security events that shaped the current space environment? Who are the major players reshaping the possibilities in the near-Earth space environment? This panel will reflect on four decades of space activities and multilateral discussions, looking at lessons from the past that might still serve States today.

SPECIAL LUNCH PRESENTATION – Space Situational Awareness: a key to transparency and verification

  • Panel IV — Industry and military space: roles, risks and opportunities
    • The private sector is poised to supply technology and services to facilitate and support military operations in outer space. However, this comes with technical and legal implications for private actors, whether they be manufacturers or operators. This panel will examine possible implications of the increased commercialisation of military space services, as well as those initiatives taken up by the private sector in lieu of multilateral mechanisms.

  • Panel V — The non-military consequences of conflict in space
    • The physical characteristics of space are such that the outbreak of conflict in that domain could have destabilising consequences not just for the parties involved but for people all over the world. How might civilians and non-combatants be impacted by conflict in space? What are the economic and humanitarian consequences of targeting satellites for disruption or destruction? What are possible short- and long-term measures that can mitigate the possible effects of conflict in space?

  • Panel VI — Alternative avenues to PAROS
    • This panel will consider different approaches to discussing space security—including those related to space safety and the inclusion of non-traditional stakeholders—that can still lead to the ultimate objectives of PAROS.

For more information, please contact Daniel Porras (


07 - 08 April 2020


Conference Room XXIV of the Palais des Nations