Summary Report from Workshop on Norms of Behavior in Space

Friday, August 23, 2019

Over the last several years, there has been a growing discussion about the importance of norms of behavior for space for supporting current and future space governance efforts. This discussions have focused on the need to identify existing norms of behavior and future norms that should be developed to enhance the safety, security, and stability of the outer space domain. While there is a strong interest in norms of behavior for space, there is a lack of understanding or agreement across the space community on what a norm is and what norms the community should be pushing to develop. 

To help address these issues, Secure World Foundation, with sponsorship from OneWeb, held a workshop on June 24, 2019, in Washington, DC, to bring together international experts from commercial, civil, and national security space sectors to develop ideas for norms of behavior in space that will improve space sustainability. Today, SWF and OneWeb are pleased to release a report summarizing the workshop's discussions and conclusions.

The workshop participants agreed that an important next step is for the space community to establish a taxonomy of terms and definitions for norms of behavior and related concepts, such as guidelines, best practices, standards, and regulations. In doing so, the space community should borrow and adopt research from other fields wherever practical. The space community should also study how other non-space sectors have established norms of behaviors and identify lessons learned from those experiences that are relevant to developing norms of behavior in space. Nearly all the participants agreed that improving global access to, and the quality of, SSA data and services would be essential to informing the creation of norms of behavior, monitoring compliance with existing or future norms, and improving the overall transparency of space activities. Finally, participants agreed that time is short and there needs to be a focused effort now from both bottom-up and top-down to begin establishing new norms of behavior to help support the long-term sustainability of space.

More information about the workshop can be found on the event page.

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Last updated on August 26, 2019