DOI: 10.5553/IISL/2020063002011

International Institute of Space LawAccess_open

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Legal Support for the Private Sector: An Implementation Agreement for the Moon Treaty

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    There is currently a gap in space law that has had a detrimental effect on private activity in outer space. Article II of the Outer Space Treaty prohibits appropriation. The Moon Treaty includes a process for overriding that prohibition (an implementation agreement (IA) under Article 11), but most countries have not adopted it because it uses the term “Common Heritage of Mankind”. But the CHM has no independent legal meaning; it is whatever the implementation agreement says it is. Both the ban on appropriation and the concerns about the CHM are addressed by the Model Implementation Agreement. Without an IA, everyone fears the worst. But if the specific language of an IA is agreed to beforehand, then countries could adopt the Moon Treaty while being assured that they are protecting their national interests.

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