Global Space Governance Study


Origins of the McGill Global Space Governance Study

The now historic Second Manfred Lachs International Conference on Global Space Governance was held at McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, in Montreal, Canada, in May 2014. Attended by over 120 experts from 22 (space-faring and non-space-faring) countries, the Conference notably brought together not only experts in space law and policy, but also scientists and engineers who all share the vision that space technology and space applications can help unlock the secrets of the cosmos and unravel a whole new industry that will benefit humankind.

Following three days of presentations and intense discussions, it was recognized the current international legal and political order governing space activities is sordidly inadequate to meet humanity’s needs, challenges and developments in the 21st Century. The current global space governance system was conceived and matured in 1960s and 1970s, thus much rooted in balancing the dominant political interests, ideologies and concerns of the Cold War period. Today, rapid changes and developments in the space arena—ranging from the increasingly multilateral nature of the world to the rise of emerging countries and new space-faring nations, from the advent of commercial and private space actors and endeavors to the (over-)reliance of modern societies on the space infrastructure—point to a dire need to examine and assess the adequacy of the current global space governance system to endure in the future.

It was commonly recognized that fashioning a better framework for the global governance of outer space did not require more proposals for treaty law or eloquently worded white papers on space activities; nor can a more orderly and coherent system governing humankind’s growing interest, and interests, in outer space be found in drafting more technical papers on space transportation or fantastic proposals to harvest the rich natural resources the cosmos has to offer. The great void in creating a new global governance of outer space is the interchange of knowledge, ideas, and understanding of the evolving challenges and opportunities in space development.

In essence, what is needed is more effective communication and exchange between the growing number and variety of stakeholders and players in the space arena. What is needed is the vital understanding and integration of ideas and varied interests that best reflect the current and anticipated needs of a bourgeoning industry and sphere of activity that is vital to the future and sustainability of humanity.

At the conclusion of the Second Manfred Lachs International Conference, participants representing governments and intergovernmental organizations, the academic and scientific community, NewSpace start-ups and entrepreneurs, and space engineers and scientists adopted what has now been globally recognized as the Montreal Declaration on Global Space Governance. The Montreal Declaration called upon civil society, academia, governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to together develop an effective global governance regime for peaceful and sustainable exploration, use and exploitation of outer space for the benefit of all humankind. This new governance regime must be representative and reflective of the global public interest in outer space. In addition, it must provide enough scope to enable new commercial space efforts to grow and allow conventional space agency programs in the exploration of the Universe to move forward. Participants at the Second Manfred Lachs International Conference, led by the great foresight and vision of Professor Ram Jakhu and Dr. Joseph Pelton, called upon the McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law to initiate, compile and disseminate an international interdisciplinary study examines the drivers of space regulations and standards.

Hence, the Global Space Governance (GSG) Study was born.

We invite you to take a closer look at the structure, contributors and tremendous impact of the Global Space Governance Study, which has squarely placed McGill's Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, and the impressive host of experts and academics involved, at the forefront of innovative research that will have practical and global influence on the future of space activities.


The Executive Summary of the Global Space Governance Study is now available.

The book Global Space Governance: An International Study is available with Springer Press.


4-6 May 2017: Fifth Manfred Lachs International Conference on Global Space Governance

The Fifth Manfred Lachs International Conference is the Second Global Space Governance Conference and took place on 4-6 May 2017 in Montreal, Canada.
The Conference is the long-anticipated event at which findings of the seminal Global Space Governance Study will be presented.
For more information, please visit the dedicated conference site (under construction).


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