MOON VILLAGE PRINCIPLES – Issue 2, Draft
During the Second International Workshop and Symposium of the Moon Village Association (“MVA”) held on November 4th and 5th 2018 in Los Angeles, California, the MVA presented for the first time the Moon Village Principles (the “Principles”) and opened them for consultation to its members and to the public at large. The First Draft Principles were published on 21 December 2018.
These Principles were intended to set forth the Moon Village concept and to be used to assess the missions and activities of various organizations conducted in line with the Principles.
In February 2020, the Principles were revised, by the Coordination & Cooperation Working Group of the MVA, to ensure that the Principles are consistent with: (i) international law, (ii) the UN Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities adopted in 2019 and (iii) the Building Blocks for the Development of an International Framework on Space Resource Activities published by The Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group (the “Hague Building Blocks”) in November 2019.
Following a public consultation, this Second Draft Principles will be published by the Moon Village Association in 2020 with the goal to establish the “best practices for sustainable lunar activities” used by the majority of lunar stakeholders.
2. THE PRINCIPLES
ALL SPACE ACTORS, whether governmental or nongovernmental, conducting or intending to conduct activities on the Moon or in cislunar space (“lunar activities”),
MINDFUL that the following Moon Village Principles (the “Principles”) were created to implement the “Moon Village” approach to settling the Moon, a vision of peaceful global cooperation in lunar exploration and utilization;
UNDERSTANDINGthatthe Principles are not legally binding, but are intended to set practical goals and provide guidance in the conduct of lunar activities;
AWAREthat the overarching goal of the Principles is to develop best practices for the long-term sustainability of lunar activities; and
EXPECTINGthat the Principles will evolve as circumstances dictate in accordance with the principle of “adaptive governance”, i.e., the incremental evolution of governance in step with technological and economic development;
SHOULD ENDEAVOR to adhere to the following principles for the benefit of all countries and humankind:
Conduct lunar activities in a manner that complies with international law, including the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the “Outer Space Treaty”), the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the “Rescue and Return Agreement”), the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the “Liability Convention”), and the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the “Registration Convention”, collectively, the “Outer Space Treaties”).
Conduct lunar activities in a manner that takes into account the interests of other actors and benefits all countries and humankind. Both governmental and nongovernmental actors involved in lunar activities should provide for benefit-sharing through all feasible means, including for example the promotion of the participation in lunar activities by all countries, and, in particular, developing countries.
Incrementally develop a system of governance to facilitate the establishment and expansion of lunar activities through the cooperation of both governmental and private entities. Existing international law will, by default, serve as the initial system of governance, including, but not limited to, the following principles derived from the Outer Space Treaties:
- The Moon shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
- All actors shall be guided by the principles of cooperation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all of their lunar activities with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other actors.
- If an actor has reason to believe that planned lunar activities would cause potentially harmful interference with the activities of other actors, it shall undertake appropriate consultations before proceeding with such activity.
- States shall bear international responsibility for the lunar activities of its nationals and shall bear liability to pay compensation for damage caused by its space objects, as set forth in the Liability Convention.
- States shall authorize and continually supervise all lunar activities of their nationals in order to ensure compliance with international law.
- States shall register their lunar activities in accordance with the Registration Convention for the purpose of promoting peaceful global cooperation in lunar activities.
Conduct lunar activities in compliance with the United Nations Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities and promote the development of technology to facilitate the long-term sustainability of lunar activities.
Promote the development of private activities on the Moon and in cislunar space, including purely commercial activities, such as space tourism and resource extraction, as well as non-commercial private activity, such as science and exploration.
Promote the scientific study of the Moon and cislunar space.
Make available sufficient information to allow global cooperation among governmental agencies, private companies, and the general public in the establishment and expansion of lunar activities.
Take appropriate measures to avoid:
- Causing harm to the Moon, cislunar space, or existing lunar activities, including the harmful contamination of the Moon in contravention of planetary protection policies;
- Harmful interference with existing lunar activities; and
- Changes to sites of significant scientific or historical interest.
Establish a publicly available international land use registry (the “Land Use Registry”) for registering existing and prospective lunar activities. Each registration should include information regarding (i) the location of the activities, (ii) the nature of the activities, and (iii) the duration of the activities. Ideally, the United Nations would serve as the registrar charged with maintaining the Land Use Registry.
Promptly register any existing or planned lunar activities and recognize the right of registered lunar activities to be free from harmful interference.
Establish an international publicly available database, separate from the Land Use Registry, for making the following information publicly available:
- Scientific information obtained from lunar activities; and
- Best practices with respect to lunar activities.
This information should be shared to the extent feasible in compliance with legal limitations including export controls, the protection of intellectual property and other proprietary information, and national security.
Support the development of both hard and soft law to facilitate the establishment and expansion of lunar activities, including but not limited to initiatives regarding engineering standards, safety practices, the harmonization of interfaces, the Land Use Registry, natural resources, finance, and environmental protection.
Contribute ethically to human societywith respect to science, technology, health, culture, the arts, and education.
Encourage the efficient resolution of disputes through alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration under the PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space Activities. States shall also promote the enforcement of (i) arbitration agreements and (ii) arbitral awards under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Develop mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these Principles, as well as for their review and further development consistent with the principle of adaptive governance.