The entire terrestrial-space infrastructure is threatened by new technology and a deteriorating international security environment, in which more and more states see space as an appealing target for disruption and even violence. This threat to our way of life could be on the scale of climate change, with repercussions that will be felt for generations.
This document reflects research and analysis conducted by Project Ploughshares Senior Researcher Dr. Jessica West and Gilles Doucet of Spectrum Space Security on how the existing normative framework in outer space can serve as a basis for informing the development of additional norms of behaviour for security-related activities.
“There’s a good display of goodwill and broad engagement. I think there’s points of consensus on what needs to be done. We need to find common understandings of how international laws apply in space,” says Jessica West, a senior researcher at the research institute Project Ploughshares based in Waterloo, Ontario, who’s attending the meeting.
More than a year and a half after Canada’s unsuccessful run for a seat on the UN Security Council, shortcomings in Ottawa’s arms control and disarmament agenda remain prominent. As the international community continues to face multiple, overlapping security challenges at the start of 2022, the federal Cabinet installed last October has a fresh opportunity to take stock of Canada’s foreign policy priorities.
This statement was drafted on behalf of civil society by Project Ploughshares Senior Researcher Jessica West. Dr. West presented it to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee for Disarmament and International Security on October 13, 2020.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), widely considered the bedrock of the global nuclear disarmament regime, has not been immune to COVID-19. The latest in a series of Review Conferences (RevCon) of NPT states parties, which are held every five years, was to have taken place this past May at UN Headquarters in New York, but was postponed.
Even though multilateral arms control and disarmament efforts are of critical importance every year, the international security landscape was at a particularly troubling juncture just before the pandemic, not least because of risks associated with nuclear weapons.
Addressing the world on March 23, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire in response to the deadly spread of COVID-19. Noting that it “attacks all, relentlessly” but …
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long wanted to get Canada back on the UN Security Council, where it last had a seat in 2000. For Trudeau, such a return would signal Canada’s “renewed commitment to international peace and security.”
Outer space now provides vast social, scientific, and economic benefits to humanity, but the continued enjoyment of these benefits is anything but guaranteed. As the number of space users and applications has increased, so too have the threats to its long-term sustainability.