- Press Release
- Dec 3, 2022
UN Outer Space Legal Subcommittee Concludes 43rd Session in Vienna
Agreement Reached on a Draft Resolution on the Application of the Concept of the “Launching State”
VIENNA, 13 April (UN Information Service) — The practice of States and
international organizations in registering space objects was a new agenda
item discussed by the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on
the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) during its forty-third session,
held in Vienna from 29 March to 8 April 2004.
Other topics of discussion included the definition and delimitation of
outer space, the status and application of the five United Nations treaties
on outer space and a preliminary draft protocol on registering property
interests in space assets. The Subcommittee also agreed on its contribution
to COPUOS for the preparation of its report to the General Assembly. The
report will review the progress made in the implementation of the
recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration
and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III).
The Subcommittee agreed on the text of a proposed draft General Assembly
resolution on the concept of the “launching State”.
A symposium, held during the first day of the session, examined the new
developments and the legal framework covering the exploitation of the
Moon’s resources. The Symposium was jointly organized by the International
Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation and
the European Centre for Space Law.
Practice of States and International Organizations in Registering Space
The Subcommittee discussed the practice of States and international
organizations in registering space objects as a new agenda item of the
session. The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer
Space requires States that launch objects into space (such as satellites)
to make information on the object launched available to the United Nations.
Based on this information, the Vienna-based United Nations Office for Outer
Space Affairs (OOSA) maintains a Register of Objects Launched into Outer
In accordance with the work plan for this item, covering the period from
2004 to 2007, Member States and international organizations reported on
their practice in registering space objects and submitted the information
to OOSA for inclusion in the Register. OOSA representative made a
presentation on the Register.
Draft Resolution on the Legal Concept of the “Launching State”
The Subcommittee agreed on the text of a draft General Assembly
resolution on the application of the concept of the “launching State”. This
will be presented to COPUOS for its consideration at its forty-seventh
session in June, before being presented to the General Assembly.
Status and Application of the Five United Nations Treaties on Outer
The Subcommittee continued to discuss the status and application of the
five United Nations treaties on outer space. The Working Group established
by the Subcommittee on this topic reviewed the implementation of the five
treaties and the obstacles to their universal acceptance. The Working Group
approved the text of the model letter that the Secretary-General might wish
to send to the ministers for foreign affairs of States that had not yet
become parties to the United Nations treaties on outer space. The letter
would be sent together with the information material summarizing the
important benefits and responsibilities of participation in those treaties.
Preliminary Draft Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets to the
Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment
Another item on the agenda of the Subcommittee was the examination of
the preliminary draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the
Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. The Convention
establishes a legal framework for registering interests in mobile
high-value equipment that moves across national boundaries.
The preliminary draft protocol on matters specific to space assets is
aimed at establishing an international system for registering property
interests in space assets. It is being developed by the International
Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), an organization
not affiliated to the United Nations. The possibility of registering
property interest in space assets would have the effect of facilitating
asset-based financing for space projects, as it would enable creditors to
reduce their risk by obtaining the asset as collateral for their loan.
The Subcommittee focused on two issues under this agenda item: issues
relating to the possibility of the United Nations serving as the
supervisory authority under the preliminary draft protocol, and the
relationship between the terms of the preliminary draft protocol and the
rights and obligations of States under the legal regimes applicable to
outer space. The Subcommittee reconvened its Working Group to consider the
questions reflected in these two issues separately.
The Legal Subcommittee, like COPUOS, its parent Committee, has the
following Member States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad,
Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan,
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco,
Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi
Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan,
Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay,
Venezuela and Viet Nam.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the
decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for
promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,
and assisting developing countries in using space science technology.
Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at
United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS)
P.O.Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: (+43-1) 26060 4666, FAX: (+43-1) 26060 5899
Visit our home page: www.unis.unvienna.org