UNIDIR Space Security Conference 2015: The Principles of Self Defense in Space: National Perspectives and Critical Issues

When: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where: Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) hosted a small, closed-door meeting focused on understanding how the principles of the right to self-defense may be applied to the outer space domain.

This event was an invitation-only meeting and took place under Chatham House Rule. The event was held in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 31, 2015.

Interpreting how existing national commitments on the inherent right to self-defence, as enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, should be applied in the outer space environment, is a key step in moving forward to a more stable space environment. There is currently significant divergence among many members of the international community on the way forward.

This meeting discussed norms of behavior and new legally binding agreements focused on space security, it also provided an opportunity for participants to put forward and explain national positions and discuss key issues such as:

  • The concept of an armed attack for outer space
  • Proportional responses
  • The principle of distinction in outer space
  • Frequency interference

Additionally, the meeting  examined how other domains have progressed on this subject, such as the cyber domain; it is envisaged that this can inform a best way forward for the discussion on self-defense in the space domain.

For a copy of the report, please click here.

For more information, please contact Washington Office Director Victoria Samson.

Last updated on March 9, 2017