The near future will see a multitude of lunar missions through the efforts of both space agencies and commercial stakeholders. This concentrated lunar activity has brought with it an urgency to agree on a common level playing field by clarifying existing principles of international law that will aid in their implementation. The vagueness of the space treaties presents a challenge to future missions and could lead to conflict, especially among expeditions in the same part of the Moon, e.g. the lunar south pole. Other issues must also be addressed to ensure sustainable lunar exploration and settlement including, for example, mitigating the creation of debris in lunar orbit and regulating access to lunar space resources.
Considering the above and with the goal to de-risk future lunar missions and increase global cooperation for lunar exploration and settlement, the MVA started the definition of a common level playing field called " Best Practices for Sustainable Lunar Activities". This was first published last March.
The positive feedback received by several space agencies encouraged MVA to propose, being a neutral informal platform, the creation of a "Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities" (GEGSLA).
The goal of GEGSLA is to hold informal discussions, about the Best Practices or similar, and prepare material, in due time, to submit the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) where MVA is an observer member, for further discussions and deliberations. GEGSLA will lay out voluntary standards related to the Best Practices, or similar, as well as facilitate their implementation by means of specific actions, i.e. definition of interoperability, debris mitigation in lunar orbit guidelines, etc.
GEGSLA will be a multilateral informal forum involving experts from space agencies, as well as other stakeholders such as representatives from industries and academia. The composition of GEGSLA will be derived by a Call for Participation to be released by MVA in December. GEGSLA activities should start in early 2021, with the first results available by March 2022.
The work of GLESLA promises to help de-risk future lunar activities and increase global cooperation by engaging as many stakeholders as possible.
Giuseppe Reibaldi, President of the Moon Village Association stated:" The creation of the Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA) aims to reduce the risk of involuntary accidents, and foster peaceful global cooperation by defining common level playing field for lunar activities. For the first time, all relevant stakeholders will be engaged in multilateral informal discussions, supporting United Nations in enabling the start of sustainable lunar exploration and utilization for the benefit of humankind".
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About the Moon Village Association
The Moon Village Association (MVA) is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Vienna, founded in 2017.Its goal is the creation of a permanent global informal forum for stakeholders like governments, industry, academia and the general public interested in the development of the Moon Village. MVA is member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) as well as observer of UN-COPUOS. The MVA is the assembling of all efforts from private industry, governments and others aimed to explore and use the Moon in a sustainable manner. The MVA fosters cooperation for existing or planned Moon exploration programs, be they public or private initiatives. It comprises approximately more than 200 individual and 26 institutional members from more than 47 countries, representing a diverse array of technical, scientific, cultural and interdisciplinary fields. The MVA partners with non-space organizations to promote international discussions and formulation of plans to foster the development of the Moon Village, and is creating international, national and regional networks to engage civil society around the world. The Moon Village Association's mission is unique, bridging together both spacefaring and non-spacefaring nations offering them the opportunity to play a role in its realization. There is no other organization on the international scene having such a mission. For more information, visit the website at: www.moonvillageassociation.org.