Process of reaching agreement with UNCLOS will prove valuable as similar effort to develop space law unfolds
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UNCLOS, especially after its realpolitik redrafting, gives us an effective framework towards drafting a new Outer Space Treaty. Both treaties contain the concept of a lack of sovereignty and that resources of the deep sea and outer space are considered to be the common heritage of mankind. UNCLOS contains a detailed process by which a State or entity is granted limited access to hard-to-reach resources that can easily be adapted to the needs of outer space. The process that the drafters of UNCLOS underwent to gain global acceptance of the Convention shows us a way towards forming an internationally directed group, such as the ISA, to manage those resources that is perhaps less than entirely idealistic, but can gain the support of most, if not all, of the world’s nations.
When all is said and done, one can hardly consider an agreement that does not acknowledge the contributions of those nations at the forefront of space exploration and give them, or their corresponding corporations, every reassurance that resources garnered from space and returned to Earth can be traded freely in the world market for the benefit of all the nations of the world.
The solutions the international community worked out to resolve some of the most contentious issues over ocean governance -- specifically, how to equitably divide up a common shared resource, how to sustainably manage the global commons for the benefit of all, and how to ensure all states have the freedom to navigate a global common -- have potential to serve as the basis for a similar agreement for outer space.