On 15 April 2024, the International Conference on Space Resources was held alongside the Sixty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee of the UN COPUOS, which is currently underway in Vienna.

The Conference was structured into two panels and served as a platform for in-depth discussions to provide insights into the legal framework for space resource activities.

The first panel dealt with the “Implications of the legal framework for space resource activities” and was moderated by Andrzej Misztal, Chair of the Working Group on the Legal Aspects on Space Resource Activities. The panellists explored a wide range of space resources, including in-situ materials, spectrum, minerals, metals, and their utilization. Discussions delved into the legal framework needed to manage such resources, including economic incentives, sharing, and the issue of appropriation. Participants identified additional principles required to ensure sustainable and responsible space resource activities. Lastly, the panel highlighted some significant challenges that we must address as we venture further into space resource exploration and use. 

Sergio Marchisio was invited to speak at this first panel, alongside other space experts who shared views on the topic, including Gao Guozhu, Professor of international law at Beihang University, Christopher Johnson, Director of Legal Affairs and Space Law for Secure World Foundation, El Bachir Zantou, Researcher at Royal Centre for Space Studies and Research, Rosa Ma. Ramírez de Arellano, General Coordinator of International Affairs and Space Security of the Mexican Space Agency, Rocio Narvaez-Benalcázar, Geographic Production Chief and responsible for the space/special legal area in the Instituto Geográfico Militar, George Kyriakopoulos, Associate Professor of International Law at the School of Law of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Marcus Schladebach, Professor for Public law, Media Law and Space Law at the University of Potsdam, Vasily Gudnov, from Roscosmos.

The second panel delved into “The role of governance, including information-sharing, in supporting space resource activities”. The panellists explored the regulation provided by the current legal framework, including non-binding instruments and national space legislation, and the possible benefits of other international legal regimes, such as the law of the sea. Furthermore, the panel focused on the main aspects of establishing a common international framework on space resources, such as information sharing and priority rights over natural space resources.

The Vice-Chair of the Working Group on the Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities Steven Freeland moderated this second session, which benefited from the discussions shared by Su Jinyuan, Professor at Wuhan University Institute of International Law, Tanja Masson-Zwaan, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University, President Emerita of the IISL and co-funder of the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group, Konrad Marciniak, Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Yury Razoumny, Chairman of the Technical Committee for International Scientific Cooperation at the Space Council at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Director of the Academy of Engineering at RUDN University, Ian Grosner, Federal Attorney and Head of the Legal Department at the Brazilian Space Agency and Chair of the Working Group on the Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space of the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee, Mathias Link, Deputy CEO at the Luxembourg Space Agency, and Ryosuke Murayama, Director of the National Space Policy Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.

Did you miss the Conference? Watch it here 👉 https://webtv.un.org/en/asset/k1w/k1wuklzc5x

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