Space is increasingly critical to modern life on Earth. But there is growing concern that, as it becomes more economically and strategically important, it could become a theatre for conflict. Aware of this danger, the international community has attempted to address these concerns through various arms control, disarmament and governance proposals.
To explore these issues further, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is pleased to invite you to the 2022 Space Security Conference. This two-day flagship event provides a unique forum for the Geneva-based diplomatic community —as well as visiting experts from military, industry and academic backgrounds— to discuss the particularities of the space domain and consider policy options to enhance space security.
This event will be held in-person, Room XXII of the Palais des Nations, Geneva. It will also be livestreamed, with the possibility of interactive participation.
1 and 2 November 2022, 10:00-18:00 (CEST).
An updated list of speakers will be made available here in due course.
DAY 1 – Understanding outer space and outer space security
Building common understanding: the road to space security
Panel I — How to make space security work: understanding the space domain and space systems
Space has several unique characteristics that make the application of traditional arms controls and disarmament tools difficult. This panel will explore the physics of the outer space environment, different orbital regimes and their uses. Furthermore, it will also look at the nature of space systems and their component, functions, operators and users. Panellists will address these topics from a technical perspective and also look at how these technical characteristics condition the application of international law and wider governance tools to the space domain.
Panel II — How can space security be achieved: past, present, future efforts and practical measures for PAROS
Over the years, many different mechanisms and processes have been proposed to address space security concerns and to achieve the goals of PAROS. This panel will look at the past and present initiatives that States have undertaken to address space security concerns, and to consider what lessons can be learned for the future. Attention will be paid to initiatives including, the draft treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects, the draft International Code of Conduct for outer space activities, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, the groups of governmental experts on TCBMs in outer space activities and on advancing a legally binding mechanism for PAROS, as well as the most recent open-ended working group on reducing threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours.
Panel III — Why is space security not just in space: the intersection between outer space and other domains
Space is often thought of as an isolated domain, separate and different from other domains. And while there are some characteristics that make it unique, it is nevertheless very closely interconnected with to domains on Earth and the technologies and systems that operate therein. This panel will explore these cross-domain relationships and how they can impact the escalation of tensions among stakeholders.
DAY 2 – Crafting effective mechanisms for space security
Panel IV — What threatens space security: space systems and the threat vectors
Space security is endangered by a wide array of threats. These can take the form of space to space threats, space to ground threats, ground to space threats and even ground to ground threats to supporting space infrastructure. This panel will explore these threats and the form that they can take (kinetic physical, non-kinetic physical, electronic, cyber, etc.) in order to attempt to determine how best to mitigate and prevent them.
Panel V — Who can achieve space security: the need for diversity to reach PAROS
Access to outer space is no longer limited to a select number of States. Not only is space increasingly important to humankind, but there is also an increasing number of stakeholders and actors, with a vested interest to keeping space peaceful and secure. Regional perspectives, multi-stakeholder participation, and a gender inclusive approach are therefore more important than ever. This panel will analyse how these factors are all necessary to achieve the goals of PAROS.
Panel VI — What is space security: striving towards common understanding
Lack of common understanding, miscommunication and limitations in transparency can heighten tensions in a dangerous manner that, if unchecked, could lead to conflict. This panel will explore the importance of these elements and the areas where common understanding is most urgently needed, and it will also discuss the mechanisms (both technical and in terms of policy) that can be implemented in efforts to build space security.
UNIDIR encourages the participation of diplomats, national representatives, policymakers, as well as academics, practitioners and other experts working on or interested in issues pertaining to space security.
Participants can join the event either in-person or virtually:
To participate in-person, please register through the United Nations INDICO system here.
To participate virtually, please register through Eventbrite here. The link to access the broadcast of OS22 will be emailed to registered participants one day prior to the event.