An International Space Authority: A Governance Model for a Space Commercialization Regime
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However, heated discussions did not lead to any substantial improvement in the legal regime accommodating the commercialization of outer space. Existing space law does not provide any guidance enabling the creation of an effective regime fostering commercial space exploitation. Theoretical analysis did not come to any conclusion acceptable to all the parties. Nevertheless, even with the unstable legal status in place, various par- ties, foreseeing potential profit, have started their own projects aiming at commercializing outer space. For example, the IGA provides a specific model for multinational cooperation among active participants without an overarching international legal and governance regime." The United States has also executed a series of bilateral Memoranda of Understanding with Partner States concerning outer space activities."8 With no clear-cut rules and regimes in place, the activities are carried out subject to Partner States' own interpretations. This is increasingly det- rimental to the development of commercial activities in outer space. States can take actions at will and there are no defined rules governing their activities, which ultimately leads to the devastating result of a "gold rush" by space-faring states. Developing states will be completely left out of the game. Such a situation will fail to provide a predictable and stable environment which is necessary for the involvement of private entities, and will fail to win international approval.
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Based on the example of the deep seabed, it appears that CHM has lost much of its attraction for developing countries. The political and economic conditions that led to the UNCLOS have changed significantly. The treaties containing the concept of the CHM were argued vehemently in the politically tense at- mosphere of the Cold War. The primary goal was to prevent the former Soviet Union and the United States from gaining a mili- tary advantage, rather than developing a regime that would support private development.3' The end ofthe Cold War and the adoption of a market-economy approach by most developing countries has pushed the idea of capitalism and the free market approach into the limelight. 2 Through years of discussion, most scholars believe that the CHM, while maintaining some policy significance, lacks the force of accepted international law.33 A great number of persons even consider the concept as meaning- less and lacking no practical value.
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While continuing upholding the concept of CHM, the free-market approach plays an important role in devising the regime for the deep seabed. Most scholars believe that only by making full use of the resources in the deep seabed rather than establishing a regime installing commercial exploitation, can the living standards in all the Nations be effectively improved.35 Acknowledging the benefits of commercial exploitation, all nations, developed and otherwise, have a basis to work together to find an appropriate resolution. Essentially, the same political and economic environment exists for outer space. A similar regime to that of the deep seabed could, thus, be possible for the exploitation of outer space resources. Consequently, the focus for now is to identify the legal mechanisms and political compromises that successfully resolved the CHM dilemma for the deep seabed and apply it to outer space. This is more efficient than developing new legal, economic, and political theories.
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Realizing the commercial potential of outer space is an issue in need of urgent resolution. It is important to devise a regime for the exploitation of outer space by reaching a balance between protecting the profits of relevant exploiting entities and serving the interests of humankind.5 While previous discussions focused on the theoretical framework of the CHM concept, it is the purpose of the present paper to focus on establishing a governance regime based on the successful example of the Seabed Authority. Discussions concerning the use of CHM will continue, just like the situation regarding the deep seabed: heated discussions continued even after the Seabed Authority was established and commercial activities began. Nonetheless, the existence of a stable governance regime can, as in the case of the deep seabed, enhance the confidence of space investors and promote further development of commercial space activities.
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A pragmatic approach is proposed in the present paper. The progress made on the UNCLOS led to an improved understanding of the CHM and suggests that the differences between developing and developed countries can be reconciled. While leaving the theoretical discussion of the term unresolved, formulation of an international body to address the use of outer space resources can begin. Whatever form it takes, the body should be able to address and further the common, equitable interests of the developing countries (the non-space powers), and the interests of developed countries (the space powers)."' The proposed governance regime will try to encourage the beneficial aspects of property rights and formulate rules that discourage conflict and predation."
While following the example of Seabed Authority, this paper proposes the establishment of an International Space Authority. The commercialization of outer space is no longer a fantasy. There is an urgent need to take a practical look at the issue and formulate feasible rules and organs to guard against taking the wrong direction. Humankind has taken the first tentative steps laying the technological foundation for commercial expansion. The challenge lying ahead is to build on the existing technological foundation and create the appropriate legal regime that will support and encourage this expansion.