SWF commends work of UN OEWG on space threats; applauds Japan and Germany for commitment not to conduct destructive anti-satellite tests

Monday, September 19, 2022

The UN Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats Through Norms, Principles and Rules of Responsible Behaviour met for the second time in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of its mandate to examine the “further development and implementation of norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours and on the reduction of the risks of misunderstanding and miscalculations with respect to outer space”. The meeting was a productive discussion of the various types of space threats and allowed many countries to express their views on the priority of those threats.

SWF commends the UN OEWG and its Chair, Mr Helmut Lagos, for its on-going work and for the willingness of all to engage in constructive dialogue. We hope that the on-going discussions will result in greater awareness of the growing threats to global space activities and a vision of next steps to reducing those threats diplomatically. 

SWF would also like to commend the Japanese and German Governments for their commitment not to conduct destructive anti-satellite tests. These mark two more notable steps towards creating a norm that the intentional destruction of satellites - and the intentional creation of long-loved debris - is not responsible behavior. They join the US, Canada and New Zealand in taking this pledge. 

SWF will continue to support the work of the OEWG on space threats however we can. At the most recent session, SWF’s Washington Office Director, Ms Victoria Samson, gave a presentation on earth-to-space threats on the second day of the session to help inform delegates on these critical issues. SWF is also working to conduct regional workshops and briefings for UN delegates, providing critical information and analysis in order to inform the on-going discussions around space security. SWF also produces its annual report on Global Counterspace Capabilities, an open source assessment, as well as other materials to raise awareness around the threat of such weapons to space objects and activities. 

We continue to encourage UN Member States to participate actively in the UN OEWG and to maintain the current momentum on developing norms as a first step towards a more safe, secure and sustainable space environment. We also call on all States to follow the example of Japan and Germany and commit not to conduct destructive ASAT tests, and to support any such initiatives aimed at preventing the generation of long-lived debris.  

Last updated on September 19, 2022