Declaration of Objectives and Agreements Regarding Cultural Heritage in Outer Space

(A Declaration recognizing the existence of human cultural heritage sites in outer space and seeking the implementation of certain preliminary steps to manage and balance preservation goals with exploration of space and utilization of space resources.)

The undersigned parties (the “Parties”), 

RECOGNIZING the common interest of humankind in furthering the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes;

EMPHASIZING that outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is free for exploration and use by all;

RECALLING that this freedom is enshrined in international law as part of the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, more commonly referred to as the Outer Space Treaty;

MINDFUL that the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, also known as the Liability Convention, establishes international rules and procedures concerning the liability of launching States for damage caused by their space objects;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space established a mandatory central register of objects launched into outer space;

GUIDED BY the 1972 Convention Concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage which recognizes “that deterioration or disappearance of any item of cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all nations of the world”.

NOTING that there are more than 80 sites on the surface of the Moon and an increasing number of similar sites throughout the solar system that bear evidence of human activity and similar sites throughout outer space (hereinafter expressed as “Cultural Heritage Sites in Space”);

EMPHASIZING that each of Cultural Heritage Sites in Space (1) represents part of the narrative of human history on the Moon and in space, (2) provides evidence of the first achievements of humankind in the realm of space travel and exploration, and (3) contain artifacts and/or other evidence of human exploration activities that remain, in their undisturbed state, a potential source of historic, archaeological, scientific and engineering knowledge to be shared by all humanity;

CONVINCED that destroying the environment surrounding any of the Cultural Heritage Sites in Space could cause irremediable loss of its historical, archaeological, scientific and engineering significance and value;

RECOGNIZING that none of the aforementioned treaties, nor any other international laws, regulations, principles or guidelines recognize or offer any level or protection for any of the Cultural Heritage Sites in Space;

DEEPLY CONCERNED about of the precarious nature of the Cultural Heritage Sites in Space today and in the future;

BELIEVING that cultural preservation is important for the continued evolution of sustainable and successful space activities, including, in particular, missions to utilize space resources as well as missions to create human communities in space, on the Moon and on other celestial bodies;

DESIRING to address the void in international law which exposes all the Cultural Heritage Sites in Space to the risk of both inadvertent and intentional destruction and despoliation;

AFFIRMING that the nonprofit, non-governmental organization, For All Moonkind, Inc. (“For All Moonkind”), is the only organization focused on obtaining international recognition of Cultural Heritage Sites in Space as part of common human heritage and international agreement to provide relevant levels of protection for each of the Cultural Heritage Sites in Space as to be determined,

Have agreed as follows:

SECTION 1 – OBJECTIVES

1.  This Declaration has as its primary objective the collaboration and participation of all Parties to ensure that Cultural Heritage Sites in Space are recognized for their outstanding value to humanity and consequently preserved and protected for posterity as part of our common human heritage.

2.  The secondary objective of this Declaration is to encourage and educate humanity of the value of the exploration of outer space and recognize that the exploration and use of space offers many benefits to all humanity by embracing the universality of human achievement in space.

SECTION 2 – AGREEMENTS

The Parties do hereby agree to:

1.  Work together and with For All Moonkind to address the uncertainties with respect to current space law in relation to human heritage in space by developing, adopting and amending from time to time as may be necessary, progressive standards and recommended practices and procedures (“SARPs) dealing with the protection and preservation of Cultural Heritage Sites in Space on a general and a site-by-site basis, as the case may be. SARPs are intended to promote and facilitate the exploration and use of space, while balancing development and preservation.  SARPs may take into consideration any national recommendations and guidelines implemented by national governments in respect of their own space objects.

2.  Work with For All Moonkind to assure that each of their space activities, including any activities implemented before the development of relevant SARPs, whether on the Moon or elsewhere, will avoid disturbance and damage to any protected Cultural Heritage Sites in Space.

3.  Work together and with For All Moonkind to assure that any entity seeking access to space through or with their services also agrees to assure that each of their space activities, whether on the Moon or elsewhere, will observe the SARPs, and in any event, avoid disturbance or damage to any protected Cultural Heritage Sites in Space.

4.  Comply with any SARPs promulgated and agreed pursuant to Section 2(1) above.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this Declaration.

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