The Space Domain: Exploring Legal and Ethical Considerations to Support the UNGA SDGs
Humanity and society are reliant on space and its assets. Nearly every aspect of our lives depends on access to a satellite or other space resource. Responsible and ethical use of space goes hand-in-hand with the UNGA’s SDGs.
Our session highlights for the UNGA the ethical implications of space exploration, promotes the protection of cultural heritage in space, and examines the need for democratization of space for all to explore and use. We will discuss how peaceful space exploration and utilization for the benefit of all humankind can help the UNGA achieve their sustainable development goals.
This session, held from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, will be broken into four hour-long panels on topics specific to space law and ethics:
Panel 1 (8:00 am – 9:00 am): “Shooting for the Moon: How Lunar Exploration Inspires Science and Collaboration to Support SDG 17”
This panel will recount the impact crewed and robotic missions to the Moon had and continue to have on individuals and on STEM education around the world. The panel will start with a historic backdrop, look at the societal effect of the lunar landing around the globe and assess impact on youth across geographies.
Panel 2 (9:00 am – 10:00 am): “SDG 17: Building Partnerships, the Science, Law and Need for Multilateralism to Protect Cultural Heritage Beyond Earth”
This panel will discuss the law, science and engineering of protecting cultural and operational objects on the Moon. It will open with an introduction to the so-called plume effect and the physics of the ejecta. The current state of the law and proposed solutions will also be detailed.
Panel 3 (10:00 am – 11:00 am): “Promoting Access to Space to Support Multiple SDGs”
This panel explores what access to space means, how emerging space actors and nonspace actors can be given a voice, and how the field of space participants can be significantly and accountably broadened.
Panel 4 (11:00 am – 12:00 pm): “SDG16: Building Strong Institutions, a Review of Legal, Ethical and Technological Considerations of Human Space Exploration”
This panel will consider the balance among law, ethics and echnology and offer different perspectives on what ethics means in the context of current law and space activities. Panelists will review current law, explore different belief systems, and highlight urgent ethical issues arising with respect to human exploration and use of space.
- Introduce the UNGA to the cultural heritage that can be found beyond Earth, suggest that the same must be protected for future generations, and offer legal and technological paths forward.
- Share the inspirational effect of historic lunar landings and encourage the UNGA to embrace this new generation and cycle of space exploration to inspire and support STEM education across the globe, growing skill sets and in turn economies.
- Provide the UNGA with a toolbox of potential solutions that can be implemented to establish a space ecosystem that ensures equal opportunities for all interested States and parties, regardless of their technological capability, socio-economic background, gender, nationality, or institutional affiliation.
- Build momentum for collaboration and peace by recognizing and celebrating the university and global impact of human activities in space.