Pursuant to their shared goal of advancing bilateral space cooperation as declared by their leaders, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of France held their first meeting of the Comprehensive Dialogue on Space in Paris on November 10, 2022.
This meeting was co-chaired by representatives from the Executive Office of the President’s National Space Council and National Security Council for the United States, and by representatives from the Secretariat-General for Defense and National Security (SGDSN) and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs from the French side, and Principal participants were the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Transportation; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from the U.S. side and the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty (MEFSIN); the Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINARM); the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES); the French Space Command (CdE); and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) from the French side.
The convening of this first Comprehensive Dialogue on Space begins an initiative announced by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2021 to ensure a whole-of-government approach to bilateral space cooperation. This Dialogue underscores the importance of the U.S.-France alliance’s more than 60-year relationship in space and recognizes the growing nexus of civil, commercial, and national security space activities and the increasingly interconnected nature of all three sectors.
At the inaugural meeting, U.S. and French officials exchanged information on respective space policies, including the U.S. Space Priorities Framework and U.S. National Security Strategy and France’s national-level space policies and strategies. Both sides reiterated their strong determination to expand already robust bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, including addressing the climate crisis; consulting on the development and implementation of guidelines and norms, rules, and principles of responsible behavior to promote the long-term sustainability of the outer space environment and the security and stability of space activities; advancing national security space cooperation; and enabling a sustainable space economy that preserves the benefits of space for future generations.
The participants held extensive discussions about challenges to our shared economic and national security interests. Both sides are determined to continue their close coordination in strengthening the global governance of space activities by promoting the development and implementation of guidelines and norms, rules, and principles of responsible behavior for the long-term sustainability of the outer space environment and the security and stability of space activities.
Both sides resolved to deepen the bilateral coordination of national security space capabilities. They also resolved to strengthen the coordination of national security space activities within NATO and with allies and partners around the globe. Both sides also confirmed their interest in working together to strengthen the security of space systems and protect space-related critical infrastructure.
The participants discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation in space exploration and science and opportunities to strengthen our partnership in these areas. Both sides are determined to continue collaboration on scientific missions to enhance understanding of our solar system and investigate the origins of our universe, including through NASA’s Artemis program. The participants also noted important science and Moon to Mars advances through the Mars Sample Return program. The participants also discussed potential cooperation on lunar surface activities.
Both sides celebrated France’s signature of the Artemis Accords in June 2022 and the September 2022 in-person gathering of Artemis Accords signatories in Paris. The participants affirmed their shared commitment to maintaining a robust dialogue with Artemis Accords signatories and utilizing multilateral fora to advance the peaceful, responsible, and sustainable exploration and use of outer space.
Both sides celebrated the United States’ signature of the Space for Climate Observatory Charter in June 2022, fulfilling the commitment made by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris during her November 2021 visit to France. Both sides recognized the important role of Earth observation and space science, to include weather observation and global environment observation from space, in supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation, and noted the upcoming launch of the NASA-CNES Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. The participants noted that SWOT will be the first global survey of Earth’s surface water, providing data for extreme events and long-term environmental changes that will improve our understanding of our changing climate. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to global climate leadership through the open dissemination of Earth observation data and decided to continue to develop operational tools to make this data actionable for governments and local communities. Both sides recognized the already unprecedented science return from the James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 25, 2021, which was made possible by robust contributions from both the U.S. and French sides. Both sides expressed their intent to explore future potential cooperation activities in the field of Earth observation, in particular regarding the Atmosphere Observing System mission.
The participants recognized the important contributions of the private sector in expanding our capabilities in outer space and welcomed efforts to strengthen industry cooperation. Both sides acknowledged their shared desire to create a safe and transparent environment for commercial activities in outer space, including evolving and emerging space activities, by clarifying government and private sector roles and responsibilities and supporting a timely and responsive regulatory environment. To create a free and fair market competition internationally, both sides noted the need to update and harmonize space policies, regulations, and other measures that govern commercial activities worldwide.
The participants also discussed multilateral cooperation, including our work in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and the United Nations General Assembly Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats (OEWG), two distinct but complementary fora. Participants recognized that the fora have vital and complementary roles to play in ensuring that human activity in outer space is safe, secure, and sustainable so that space systems can continue to deliver benefits to humanity into the future. Both the United States and France reaffirmed their commitment to working through UNCOPUOS to promote the responsible and sustainable use of outer space for peaceful purposes. For both sides, implementing the UNCOPUOS Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities is a priority. The United States and France look forward to continued engagement on this topic in the recently formed UNCOPUOS Long-Term Sustainability working group. Both sides also underlined the importance of continued close coordination, bilaterally and with like-minded partners, to support the work of the OEWG and its success in 2023. They stressed that the development and implementation of voluntary norms of responsible behavior, combined with enhanced mutual understanding, dialogue, transparency, and sharing of space domain awareness, will help to reduce risks of misunderstanding and unintended escalation. In this regard, both sides welcomed the United Nations General Assembly First Committee’s recent endorsement of the draft resolution UNGA A/C.1/77/L.62 on destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing.
Both governments recognized the importance of the Comprehensive Dialogue on Space and reaffirmed that this Dialogue would support cooperative relations between the two countries across ministries, departments, and agencies.
Both sides concurred on holding the second meeting of the Dialogue in Washington, D.C. in 2023.
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