The near future will see a multitude of lunar missions through the efforts of both space agencies and commercial stakeholders. This concentrated lunar activity has brought with it an urgency to agree on a common level playing field by clarifying existing principles of international law that will aid in their implementation. The vagueness of the space treaties presents a challenge to future missions and could lead to conflict, especially among expeditions in the same part of the Moon, e.g. the lunar south pole. Other issues must also be addressed to ensure sustainable lunar exploration and settlement including, for example, mitigating the creation of debris in lunar orbit and regulating access to lunar space resources
Considering the above and with the goal to de-risk future lunar missions and increase global cooperation for lunar exploration and settlement, the MVA started the definition of a common level playing field called ” Best Practices for Sustainable Lunar Activities”. This was first published last March.
The Best Practices have been subject of public consultation, several public webinars as well as informal discussions with experts of several space agencies from all continents. The present status of this document is available, for information, at https://moonvillageassociation.org/best-practices-for-sustainable-lunar-activities-issue-1/. This document will evolve in the future and is meant to be considered as an input for further elaboration.
The positive feedback received by several space agencies encouraged MVA to propose, being a neutral informal platform, the creation of a “Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities” (GEGSLA).
The goal of GEGSLA is to hold informal discussions, about the Best Practices or similar, and prepare material, in due time, to submit the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) where MVA is an observer member, for further discussions and deliberations.
GEGSLA will lay out voluntary standards related to the Best Practices, or similar, as well as facilitate their implementation by means of specific actions, i.e. definition of interoperability, debris mitigation in lunar orbit guidelines, etc.
GEGSLA will be a multilateral informal forum involving experts from space agencies, as well as other stakeholders such as representatives from industries and academia. The composition of GEGSLA will be derived by a Call for Participation to be released by MVA in December. GEGSLA activities should start in early 2021, with the first results available by March 2022.
The work of GLESLA promises to help de-risk future lunar activities and increase global cooperation by engaging as many stakeholders as possible.
Giuseppe Reibaldi, President of the Moon Village Association stated:” The creation of the Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA) aims to reduce the risk of involuntary accidents, and foster peaceful global cooperation by defining common level playing field for lunar activities. For the first time, all relevant stakeholders will be engaged in multilateral informal discussions, supporting United Nations in enabling the start of sustainable lunar exploration and utilization for the benefit of humankind”.
Quelle: Moon Village Association