Space Mining Governance from the Perspective of International Consultations with regard to Marine Genetic Resources and the Multilateralism-Unilateralism Dichotomy – Preliminary Considerations

Łukasz Kułaga

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21697/priel.2017.6.2.03

Abstract


The 50 th anniversary of the constitution of international space law – 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (hereinafter Outer Space Treaty) coincided with enacting legislation regarding the commercial use of the space resources by the United States in November 2015 and preparation of an analogical act on the other side of the Atlantic, in Luxemburg. These domestic initiatives commenced an intensive discussion with regard to its legality, legitimacy and suitability. Until now the debate related to exploitation of the space natural resources was to large extend concentrated on the interpretation of fundamental customary and Outer Space treaty principles and did not take into account new scientific tools, which can significantly contribute to the assessment of the space mining governance. As first such a instrument – this article recognizes current international consultations on the marine genetic resources aimed at creation of new international regime, which can have several important similarities with the space law resources regime. As the second instrument – this article identifies multilateralism-unilateralism dichotomy, which have practical implications for process of finding international framework relating to space mining. The issue of space mining is the subject of discussion on international fora. In particular from March 2017 it started to be discussed by the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee. The outer space technologies constitute a sector of global economy, which is considered as the most prospective one. According to European Commission “The space sector is both a driver to scientific progress and enables systems and services with growth potential (…) These systems and services (…) help us to address major societal challenges such as climate change, scarce resources. health, or the ageing of our population. (…) They stimulate innovation and competitiveness well beyond the space sector, and contribute to economic growth and job creation in almost all economic areas”. This assessment is supported by figures. According to European Space Agency: “In 2015, the global space economy maintained its long-term growth trend, expanding from 14% compared to 2014 and totaling 291.4 billion of euro. Thus, proposing new scientific instruments for international community aiming at evaluation of the space mining will  constitute a valuable tool in the search for appropriate model of governance in this regard.

The 50 th anniversary of the constitution of internationalspace law – 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of Statesin the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon andOther Celestial Bodies (hereinafter Outer Space Treaty) coincided withenacting legislation regarding the commercial use of the space resources bythe United States in November 2015 and preparation of an analogical acton the other side of the Atlantic, in Luxemburg. These domestic initiativescommenced an intensive discussion with regard to its legality, legitimacyand suitability. Until now the debate related to exploitation of the spacenatural resources was to large extend concentrated on the interpretationof fundamental customary and Outer Space treaty principles anddid not take into account new scientific tools, which can significantlycontribute to the assessment of the space mining governance. As first such* Assistant professor, Faculty of Law and Administration, Cardinal Stefan WyszyńskiUniversity in Warsaw.66Łukasz Kułagaa instrument – this article recognizes current international consultationson the marine genetic resources aimed at creation of new internationalregime, which can have several important similarities with the spacelaw resources regime. As the second instrument – this article identifiesmultilateralism-unilateralism dichotomy, which have practical implicationsfor process of finding international framework relating to space mining.The issue of space mining is the subject of discussion on internationalfora. In particular from March 2017 it started to be discussed by the COPUOSLegal Subcommittee. The outer space technologies constitute a sectorof global economy, which is considered as the most prospective one. Accordingto European Commission “The space sector is both a driver to scientificprogress and enables systems and services with growth potential (…) Thesesystems and services (…) help us to address major societal challenges suchas climate change, scarce resources. health, or the ageing of our population.(…) They stimulate innovation and competitiveness well beyond the spacesector, and contribute to economic growth and job creation in almostall economic areas”. This assessment is supported by figures. Accordingto European Space Agency: “In 2015, the global space economy maintainedits long-term growth trend, expanding from 14% compared to 2014 andtotaling 291.4 billion of euro. Thus, proposing new scientific instrumentsfor international community aiming at evaluation of the space mining willconstitute a valuable tool in the search for appropriate model of governancein this regard

Keywords


space mining; marine genetic resources; multilateral obligations; unilateralism; governance

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