The Hague Space Resources Governance Working Group

The development of space resource activities is happening now. In the absence of a clear framework to govern these activities, there is a need to examine the concepts that are being discussed in order to ensure that they meet existing treaty obligations regarding on-orbit operations and space resource rights. These concepts need to enable, support and co-ordinate the use of space resources and be acceptable for space-faring nations and other interested states.  

Recent developments

The first face-to-face meeting of the Working Group was held from 18-19 April 2016, at the Observatory of Leiden University, in the Netherlands. It was attended by a majority of members and a large number of observers. The meeting facilitated an extensive discussion on the proposed Building Blocks of the project, which form the basis for a future governance framework agreement.

The Building Blocks defined after the Meeting in April 2016 and currently under discussion are the following:
1. Objective of international legal framework
2. Definition of key terms
3. Scope of international legal framework
4. Principles of international legal framework
5. Exercise of jurisdiction over space resource activities
6. Access to space resources
7. Utilization of space resources
8. Safety of space resource activities
9. Prevention and abatement of harmful impacts of outer space activities
10. Sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of space resources
11. Exchange of information under international legal framework
12. Provision of assistance in case of distress
13. Liability in case of damage
14. Monitoring and inspection of space resource activities
15. Compliance with and enforcement of international legal framework
16. Institutional arrangements of international legal framework
17. Settlement of disputes
18. Final clauses of international legal framework

The second face-to-face meeting was held from 7 to 8 November 2016 at the Academy Building of Leiden University, the Netherlands. The discussions were based on the previously formulated Building Blocks. The participants elaborated further on the content of the Building Blocks and focused on the main elements that are required for establishing an international regulatory framework for the governance of space resources. 

The third face-to-face meeting was held from 10 to 12 April 2017 in Gravensteen of Leiden University. It enjoyed attendance from the great majority of Members and Observers. The participants discussed further on the content of the formulated Building Blocks and addressed extensively the issues related to the governance of space resources.  The next meeting is expected to take place in September 2017.

What will the Working Group work on?

  • Identification and formulation of building blocks for the governance of space resource activities as a basis for negotiations on an international agreement or non-legally binding instrument

  • Recommendations on the implementation strategy and forum for negotiations on an international agreement or non-legally binding instrument

During the course of the project, the Working Group will come together for a number of face-to-face meetings.

The Working Group started its activities in October 2015 and aims to complete them by end 2017.

Who is the Working Group made up of?

The Working Group consists of members as well as observers and it is hosted by a Consortium of organisations from each continent.

The Consortium

The principal Consortium partner is the Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), Leiden Law School, Leiden University (the Netherlands) ( The other Consortium partners are: the Catholic University of Santos (UNISANTOS) (Brazil) (, the Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL), University of Melbourne (Australia) (, the Indonesian Centre for Air and Space Law (CASL), Padjajaran University (Indonesia) (, the Secure World Foundation (SWF) (USA) (, and the University of Cape Town (UCT) (South Africa) ( 

Members and Observers

The Working Group members are stakeholders of space resource activities and represent consortium partners, industry, States, international organisations, academia and NGOs. The number of members in the Working Group is limited to twenty but there is no limit on the number of observers.

1) Members
Members are major stakeholders from government, industry, universities and research centres. Members form the operative body of the Working Group. They are responsible for making the decisions and they are the only participants from whom responses are expected. Members are invited to attend all teleconferences and meetings of the Working Group. The number of members to the Working Group is limited to approximately twenty.

2) Observers
Observers are professionals directly involved in space resources issues. Observers are invited to attend face-to-face meetings, but not teleconferences. They may speak at face-to-face meetings upon invitation by the chair. The number of observers able to attend meetings may be restricted depending on the capacity of the venue. They have the option of providing input, which is taken into account at the discretion of the members. Observers receive all final documentation distributed within the Working Group. There is no restriction on the overall number of observers to the Working Group, however the number of observers per organisation is limited to one. A formal application via email to the Secretariat is required in order to become an observer.

3) External persons who are only informed of the progress of the Working Group
Persons who are not involved in the Working Group and who are not directly involved in space resources issues, but whose work is closely linked to the subject matter of the project, may be included in the correspondence of the Working Group in order to keep them informed. These persons may provide input to the Working Group on an informal basis, however there is no obligation for the Working Group to take it into account. Persons in this category are not allowed to attend meetings, either face-to-face or otherwise. Inclusion on this list is upon request via email to the Secretariat.

Where can I find more information?

For further information, please contact us at

Please find more information about the Symposium, which openend The Working Group and introduced its activities, held on 17 April 2016 on legal-aspects-of-space-resource-utilisation here.

Associated organisatons

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague
Secure World Foundation (SWF), Broomfield CO
Catholic University of Santos, São Paulo
Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL), The University of Melbourne
Indonesian Institute of Air and Space Law, Padjajaran University, Bandung
International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), Leiden University
University of Cape Town
Birkbeck College, London
Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), Washington DC
Deep Space Industries (DSI), Moffett Field CA
French Space Agency (CNES), Paris
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Paris
Institute of Space Law, Beijing Institute of Technology
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Geneva
ispace technologies, Inc., Tokyo
Mexican Space Agency (AEM), Mexico City
Ministry of the Economy, Luxembourg
Moon Express, Cape Canaveral FL
National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja
Office of the Chief State Law Advisor, Pretoria
Planetary Resources, Washington DC
Shackleton Energy Company, Del Valle TX
UAE Space Agency, Abu Dhabi
University La Sapienza, Rome 

Consortium Partners




Last Modified: 18-08-2017