Voluntary measures considered to prevent space-based proliferation

Member States of the U.N. First Committee cautioned that steps should be taken to prevent outer space from becoming the "next theater of proliferation" of chemical and nuclear weapons during a meeting in New York on Friday.

The need for renewed action stems from technological advancements in space-based technology since the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space was signed in 1963.

To address new challenges presented by technological advancements and increased access to space-based technology, the European Union's delegation suggested a "Space Code of Conduct" that would include "voluntary rules of the road" to establish guidelines for the use of space-based technologies.

Reducing the danger of technology in orbit and reducing the threat of "deliberate disruption" were the objectives of the voluntary guidelines discussed by Member States on Friday.

A report drafted by the Group of Government Experts on Outer Space Activities could be used as a starting point for drafting the guidelines.

Brazil's delegation noted that such confidence-building measures could be productive, but also expressed doubt that voluntary measures would adequately address the complexities of drafting a security policy for outer space.

Brazil's delegation concluded that a multilateral approach and a specific mandate would strengthen efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and strengthen security in outer space.