Space security has been a topic of importance for the international community for many years. States are increasingly aware of the importance of space systems to humankind and have put forth multiple initiatives that seek to preserve outer space as a peaceful and secure environment. The 2023 Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on Reducing Space Threats Through Norms, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behaviours is one such initiative.

The OEWG was convened under General Assembly resolution 76/231 on Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours, and was tasked with “mak[ing] recommendations on possible norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours relating to threats by States to space systems, including, as appropriate, how they would contribute to the negotiation of legally binding instruments, including on the prevention of an arms race in outer space”. The OEWG was tasked with submitting a report to the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly.

Although the members of the OEWG did not agree on a report, the work that States and other stakeholders carried out throughout the four sessions held in 2022 and 2023 helped advance multilateral space security discussions. Now, as the international community moves forward and considers new initiatives and processes to prevent an arms race in outer space and achieve space security, it is also important to look back at the recent past.

This report therefore looks at the genesis of the OEWG, what its mandate was, and what the outcome of the process was. Moreover, this report highlights some key takeaways for the future, outlining what worked well in the OEWG process and what can be improved as States continue their work to achieve space security.

Citation: Almudena Azcárate Ortega and Sarah Erickson (2024). "OEWG on Reducing Space Threats: Recap Report", UNIDIR, Geneva.