NAM’s emphasis on Peaceful use of Outer Space

Internationally, for many years, it has been agreed that space should be used for peaceful purposes, and for the benefit of all humankind. However, recent years has seen increasing militarization of space. The militarization of space means placement and improvement of military hardware and military technology in the outer space.

NAM has recognized the common interest of all mankind and the sovereign rights of all State in the exploration and use of outer space for exclusively peaceful purposes, and emphasized that prevention of an arms race in outer space, including a ban to deploy or use weapons therein, would avert a grave danger for international peace and security. NAM leaders have further emphasized the paramount importance of strict compliance with existing arms limitation and disarmament agreements relevant to outer space, including bilateral agreements, and with the existing legal regime concerning the use of outer space and also the urgent need for the commencement of substantive work in the Conference of Disarmament. In the Cairo NAM Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1964, the movement welcomed the agreement of the Great Powers not to orbit in outer space nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction and expresses its conviction that it is necessary to conclude an international treaty prohibiting the utilization of outer space for military purposes.

Currently, NAM has expressed its full support to the prevention of an arms race in outer space and in this context has taking note of the joint Russian-Chinese initiative of a draft treaty on the “Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects” (PPWT) presented in the Conference on Disarmament on 12 February 2008. Article II of the Treaty states that” States Parties undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies and not to place such weapons in outer space in any other manner; not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects; and not to assist or induce other States, groups of States or international organizations to participate in activities prohibited by this Treaty.” Article VI of the Treaty mentions that “With a view to promoting confidence in compliance with the provisions of the Treaty and ensuring transparency and confidence-building in outer space activities, the States Parties shall implement agreed confidence-building measures on a voluntary basis.” The Non-Aligned Movement has noted that the initiatives undertaken as per the relevant parts of the PPWT Treaty are indeed a constructive contribution towards achieving the goal of disarmament and also form a good basis for further discussion toward adopting an international binding instruments in order to establish peace in the outer space.

In 2012, Indonesia speaking on the behalf of NAM at the Thematic Debate of First Committee in an Outer Space disarmament debate stated that “the Movement continues to be concerned over the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defence systems and the threat of weaponization of outer space which have, inter alia, contributed to the further erosion of an international climate conducive to the promotion of disarmament and the strengthening of international security. The abrogation of the ABM Treaty brought new challenges to strategic stability and the prevention of an arms race in outer space”. The Indonesian representative reiterated the apprehensions of NAM that the movement remained seriously concerned at the negative security consequences of the deployment of strategic missile defense systems, which could trigger an arms race and lead to the further development of advanced missile systems and an increase in the number of nuclear weapons.

NAM has underscored that space science and technology and their applications, such as satellite communications, Earth observation systems and satellite navigation technologies, provide indispensable tools for viable long-term solutions for sustainable development and can contribute more effectively to efforts to promote the development of all countries and regions of the world, to improve people’s lives, to conserve mitigation of the consequences of disasters.

In this regard and while underlining the importance of the availability of space science and technology to all interested countries, NAM stresses that they should be utilized in accordance with the international law and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, in particular promotion of international peace and security.

Leave a Reply