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, UNIDIR's flagship Outer Space Security Conference 2022 provided 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.
For a summary of the key discussions and takeaways from the conference and its six panels, download the 2022 Outer Space Security Conference Report.
A recording of the event is available on UNIDIR's YouTube channel (or see below):
This event was held in-person, Room XXII of the Palais des Nations, Geneva, as well as being livestreamed with interactive participation.
1 and 2 November 2022, 10:00-18:00 (CET).
An updated list of speakers will be made available here in due course.
DAY 1 – Understanding outer space and outer space security
10.00-10.30 CET - Morning Refreshments
10.30 - 11.00 CET - Conference Opening. Welcoming remarks
Robin Geiss, Director, UNIDIR
Building common understanding: the road to space security
Speaker: Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Space has several unique characteristics that make the application of traditional arms controls and disarmament tools difficult. This panel explored the physics of the outer space environment, different orbital regimes and their uses. Furthermore, it looked at the nature of space systems and their component, functions, operators and users. Panellists addressed these topics from a technical perspective and also looked at how these technical characteristics condition the application of international law and wider governance tools to the space domain.
Hellmut Lagos, Chair of the UN OEWG on Reducing Space Threats through Norms, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behaviours
Hui Du, China Academy of Space Technology
Regina Peldszus, Space Policy Officer, European External Action Service
Joanne Wheeler, Managing Partner, Alden Legal Limited
Almudena Azcárate Ortega, Associate Researcher, Space Security and WMD Programmes, UNIDIR
12.30 - 13.30 CET - Lunch Break
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 looked at the past and present initiatives that States have undertaken to address space security concerns, and considered what lessons could be learned for the future. Attention was 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.
Andrey Belousov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation in Geneva
Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Amb. of Brazil, Consul General in Tokyo & former Chair of the GGE on PAROS
Ji Zhaoyu, Counsellor (Disarmament), Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Xavier Pasco, Director, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique
Jessica West, Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares
Cécile Aptel, Deputy Director, UNIDIR
15.00-15.30 CET - Coffee Break
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 explored these cross-domain relationships and how they can impact the escalation of tensions among stakeholders.
Beyza Unal, Head, Science and Technology Unit, UNODA
Eric Desautels, Acting deputy assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance, United States State Department
Sabrina Alam, Senior Specialist, Space Sustainability and ESG Programme Manager
James Black, European Lead, Space Enterprise Initiative, RAND Europe
Elina Mozorova, Executive Director, Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications
Laetitia Cesari Zarkan, Consultant, Space Security & WMD Programmes, UNIDIR
DAY 2 – Crafting effective mechanisms for space security
10.00 - 10.30 CET - Morning Refreshments
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 explored 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.
Aidan Liddle, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, United Kingdom Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
Raji Rajagopalan, Director, Centre for Security, Strategy & Technology at the Observer Research Foundation
Cassandra Steer, Deputy Director, Australian National University Institute for Space
Guoyu Wang, Dean, Academy of Air, Space Policy and Law
Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation
12.00 - 13.00 CET - Lunch Break
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 analysed how these factors are all necessary to achieve the goals of PAROS.
Anuradha Damale, Policy Fellow and Programme Manager, BASIC
Benjamin Silverstein, Research Analyst, Space Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Nivedita Raju, Researcher, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Kim Macharia, Executive Director, Space Prize
María Antonieta Socorro Jáquez Huacuja, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations
Patricia Lewis, Director, International Security Programme, Chatham House
14.30 - 15.00 CET - Coffee Break
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 explored 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.
Aya Iwamoto, Director, Japan Space Policy, Astroscale Japan
Bleddyn Bowen, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Leicester
JJ Domingo, Political-Security Officer, Philippines Mission to the U.N. in Geneva
Rene Holbach, Political Affairs Officer, Science, Technology and International Security Unit, UNODA
Sergey Belousko, Head of Division, Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, MFA
James Revill, Head of Programme, Weapons of Mass Destruction, UNIDIR
16.30 - 17.00 CET - Concluding Remarks
Robin Geiss, Director, UNIDIR
UNIDIR organised OS22 in cooperation the Secure World Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank and the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique.
Support from UNIDIR’s core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute’s activities. This event was organised with financial and organisational support from the Governments of the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and United States of America as well as the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (with the financial support of the European Union).