Delegate Name: Nova Wilson
Outer space has long been revered as the final frontier for mankind to conquer, but with this— as with all frontiers before— comes the militarization of it. The militarization of outer space has begun with the placement of satellites in orbit that militaries and civilians worldwide depend on for command and control, communication, monitoring, early warning, and navigation with the Global Positioning System. Despite this being benign, satellites can also direct bomb raids at the surface level. Hand in hand with the militarization of outer space is the weaponization of outer space. This can be understood as “the placement in orbit of space-based devices that have a destructive capacity” (“Critical Issues”). The advancement of militarization in outer space could result in a new arms race for this generation as precedented by the race to space. In 2017, the UN General Assembly established a Group of Governmental Experts who met in two two-week sessions (one in 2018 and one in 2019) in Geneva to consider the militarization of outer space and the prevention of an arms race. In their report, they stated practical measures for this prevention and convened a two-day open-ended intersessional informal consultative hearing to discuss with the Member States and hear their views on the topic. One view was that “Member States reaffirmed that outer space must remain free of nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” (Open-Ended Intersessional Informal Consultative Meeting on the Work of the Group of Governmental Experts on Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space).
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has had the objectives of “promoting the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science, and to ensure that space science and technology provide socio-economic benefits for Canadians” (Agnew) since its inception in 1989. Thus, Canada and the CSA would like to implement Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures to create international norms in outer space to reduce strife caused by misperceptions of any State’s actions and advancements in outer space. Canada wants space to remain an environment without weaponry that all States approach with clear intentions. Canada has supported multiple actions to secure this— including the 2013 Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Transparency and Confidence-Building in Outer Space Activities, the four core space treaties, the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union and its Radio Regulations, the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization, the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Given the gravity that the militarization of outer space holds Canada implores the UN and Member States to implement Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures. Canada would look favorably upon the creation of a new treaty to outline the use of dual-use space systems— as many countries currently have in orbit— and define the proper use that would maintain the peace of outer space along with a guide for the proper continuation of expansion into outer space.