UNIDIR’s Outer Space Security Conference is an annual flagship event that provides a unique forum for the diplomatic community — as well as experts from military, industry and academic backgrounds — to jointly consider challenges and solutions related to security in outer space.
Space security has become increasingly important, with outer space technology enabling many of the services that humankind relies on. In this sense, space is increasingly critical to modern life on Earth. However, there is growing concern that, as space becomes more economically and strategically important, it could become a theatre for conflict, with devastating effects in space and on Earth. This challenge will become more complex as technology continues to develop and diffuse, creating new space security issues.
The international community has attempted to address these concerns through various initiatives. However, space security is an evolving process, and no single initiative will be able to address all of the complex issues related to the security of outer space. In this regard, the international community has recognized the need for ensuring the complementarity of different measures and building common understandings to effectively achieve space security.
The 2023 Outer Space Security Conference provided an informal opportunity for the space security community to consider current challenges, as well as how various initiatives and processes can be brought together in a mutually reinforcing complementary manner to achieve the goals of PAROS and foster space security.
10.00 - 10.30 CEST - Morning Refreshments
10.30 - 11.00 CEST - Conference Opening
Robin Geiss (Director, UNIDIR)
Guy Ryder (Under-Secretary-General for Policy, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations)
11.00 - 12.30 CEST — Panel 1 — Mapping space threats, risk and challenges
Space related technologies are advancing and diffusing around the globe creating significant opportunities to address societal challenges in several different areas. However, these technologies can also be employed for hostile purposes by states and potentially non- state actors. This first session set the scene with an overview of the value of space assets for development and present different perspectives of threats, risks, and challenges to space security.
Brian Weeden (Director of Program Planning, Secure World Foundation)
Andrey Shabalin (Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva)
Rania Toukebri (Project Manager, Airbus Defence and Space)
Joanne Wheeler (Managing Partner, Alden Legal)
Sarah Erickson (Research Assistant, Space Security and WMD Programmes, UNIDIR)
12.30 - 13.30 CEST - Lunch Break
13.30 - 15.00 CEST — Panel II — Taking stock of multilateral efforts to build space security
In recent years, many different mechanisms and processes have been proposed to address space security concerns and to achieve the goals of PAROS. Illustrative examples include the Open-Ended Working Group established under the UN General Assembly resolution 76/231 on Reducing Space Threats through Norms, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behaviours, which came to a close on 1 September; the 2019 Group of Governmental Experts established under UN General Assembly resolution 72/250 on Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space; the 2013 Group of Governmental Experts established under UN General Assembly resolution 65/68 on Transparency and Confidence-building Measures in Outer Space Activities; 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; international initiatives and political commitments on no first placement of weapons in outer space, and on destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing, and the 2023 UN Disarmament Commission recommendations to promote the practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities with the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space. This panel analysed such initiatives and consider the impact of these measures as well as how they can complement and inform future steps to achieve space security.
Hellmut Lagos (Consul of Chile to La Paz, Bolivia & Chair of the OEWG)
Clive Hughes (Head of Space Security and Advanced Threats, FCDO)
Carine Claeys (EU Special envoy for Space / Head of the Space Task Force)
Peter Martinez (Executive Director, Secure World Foundation)
15.00 - 15.30 CEST - Coffee Break
15.30 - 17.00 CEST — Panel III — Preparing for success in future multilateral space security initiatives
Further work will be required to develop and sustain space security in the future, including through the work of Group of Governmental experts on Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, which will consider and make recommendations on substantial elements of an international legally binding instrument on PAROS, including, inter alia, on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space. This panel considered how best to build on past initiatives and prepare for the success of this and other future initiatives.
Bassem Hassan (Minister Plenipotentiary & Director, Department of Disarmament and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Michael Spies (Deputy Chief, Geneva Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs)
Jessica Tok (Space Policy Analyst, United States Department of Defense)
Konstantin Vorontsov (Deputy Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation)
Jian Shen (Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China)
Almudena Azcárate Ortega (Researcher, Space Security and WMD Programmes, UNIDIR)
10.00 - 10.30 CEST - Morning Refreshments
10.30 - 12.00 CEST — Panel IV — Practical tools to facilitate space security, safety and sustainability
Space security, safety and sustainability cannot be achieved through any single initiative. Multiple approaches and tools are required. This panel looked at practical tools and approaches to building space security, safety and sustainability that can complement and support multilateral process, including the registration of space objects, notifications of launches, as well as others as the sharing of information on space security doctrines and policies, and analysis of how they could be implemented, used, monitored and verified.
Dmitry Stefanovich (Research Fellow, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences)
Andrew Peebles (External Relations Officer, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs)
Juliana Suess (Research Analyst and Policy Lead on Space Security, RUSI)
Krista Langeland (Senior Physical Scientist, RAND)
Victoria Samson (Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation)
12.00 - 13.00 CEST - Lunch Break
13.00 - 14.30 CEST — Panel V — The importance of global diversity, inclusiveness and multilateralism for space security
Globally diversity, inclusiveness and multilateralism should be taken into account as the international community works towards the establishment of mechanisms to achieve PAROS. This panel considered how globally diverse multilateral and inclusive approaches —through international, intra– and inter-regional cooperation— can contribute to space security.
Pascal Legai (Senior Security Advisor to ESA DG, European Space Agency)
Romina Morello (Regional Legal Advisor for the Americas, International Committee of the Red Cross)
Noelle Riza Castillo (Director of the Space Policy and International Cooperation Bureau, Philippine Space Agency)
Andre Nonguierma (Chief of the Geospatial Information Section at the UN Economic Commission for Africa)
Laetitia Cesari (Consultant, Space Security and WMD Programmes, UNIDIR)
14.30 - 15.00 CEST - Coffee Break
15.00 - 16.30 CEST — Panel VI — Building common understandings between stakeholders
Achieving space security hinges on the ability to create a common understanding among States and stakeholders to pave the way towards a more secure, transparent and trusting space environment and ensuring that the exploration and use of outer space is carried for peaceful purposes, wherein different actors, instruments, and processes work towards shared goals of PAROS and the preservation of space for peaceful purposes in a mutually reinforcing manner. This panel brought together different representatives of the stakeholder communities to discuss means to exploit synergies and foster common understandings with a view to achieving PAROS and bolstering space security for all.
Aya Iwamoto (Vice President, Policy and Government Relations, Astroscale Japan)
Guoyu Wang (Associate Professor and Dean of the Academy of Air, Space Policy and Law, Beijing Institute of Technology; Founder, Beijing HarmonizeSpace Consultancy)
Alexandre Vallet (Chief, Space Services Department, Radiocommunication Bureau, International Telecommunication Union)
Hannah Ashford (Managing Director, The Karman Project)
Claudio Leopoldino (Head of the Division for Disarmament and Sensitive Technologies, Brazil Mission to the UN, Geneva)
James Revill (Head of Programme, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Space Security, UNIDIR)
Cécile Aptel (Deputy Director, UNIDIR)
Wednesday 13 September, and Thursday, 14 September 2023
Hybrid format: Room XXVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland; & virtually via Webex.
The Outer Space Security Conference is principally aimed at the diplomatic community, to serve as a forum for delegates to learn about and discuss developments in space security. In addition, UNIDIR seeks to promote the engagement of other stakeholders in space security, including the commercial space sector and academia as well as the general public.
For in-person participation, please register here.
For virtual participation, please register here.
For any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNIDIR will prepare a factual summary report of the proceedings of OS23. This report will include the salient points of discussion and key take-aways and will be published and promoted online in electronic format, freely available to the public.
UNIDIR organised OS23 in cooperation with the Secure World Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.
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 Holy See, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and United States of America.