Joint Statement of the Second Meeting of the U.S.-France Comprehensive Dialogue on Space

Joint Statement of the Second Meeting of the U.S.-France Comprehensive Dialogue on Space

France - Amsterdam Aesthetics originally published at France - Amsterdam Aesthetics

The following joint statement was released by the Governments of the United States and France as the second meeting of the U.S.-France Comprehensive Dialogue on Space.

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 second meeting of the Comprehensive Dialogue on Space in Washington, D.C., on March 20-21, 2024.

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 for Europe and Foreign Affairs for France. Principal U.S. participants were from the Executive Office of the President’s Office of the National Cyber Director; the Departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Transportation; the Department of Defense, including U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The French delegation was made up of representatives from the Ministry for the Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty; the Ministry for the Armed Forces -including the French Space Command (CdE)- and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

The convening of this second Comprehensive Dialogue on Space continues 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 meeting, U.S. and French officials exchanged information on respective national space policies, including the U.S. Framework for Novel Space Activities and France’s forthcoming update of its national space law. Both sides reiterated their strong determination to expand already robust bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, including addressing the climate crisis; advancing national security space cooperation and information sharing; and strengthening bilateral commercial space cooperation.

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 widest possible accession to and compliance with the Outer Space Treaty, as well as the development and implementation of voluntary, non-legally binding international instruments to promote the sustainable, secure, and responsible use of outer space.

Both sides resolved to deepen the bilateral coordination of national security space capabilities, particularly given the growing scope of space-enabled and related threats. They also resolved to strengthen the coordination of national security space activities with allies and partners around the globe, including by leveraging innovative commercial space capabilities, to ensure access to critical space-based services. Both sides also confirmed their interest in working together to strengthen the security of space systems and protect critical space-related infrastructure against the full spectrum of hazards and threats.

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 missions. The participants also expressed their intent to discuss further cooperation in exploration, particularly on Lunar surface activities.

Both sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to maintaining a robust dialogue with Artemis Accords signatories, deepening the implementation of the Accords in practice, and utilizing multilateral fora to advance the peaceful, responsible, and sustainable exploration and use of outer space.

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. The participants also noted mutual interest in collaborating on a project to develop a common Coastal Zone Digital Twin to monitor climate change and flood mapping. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to global climate leadership through the Space for Climate Observatory and open dissemination of Earth observation data and decided to continue to develop operational tools to make this data actionable for governments and local communities.

The participants celebrated the launch in December 2022 of the joint U.S.-French Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, which now measures the height of nearly all water on Earth’s surface. SWOT is developing one of the most detailed, comprehensive views yet of the planet’s oceans and freshwater lakes and rivers. Combined with other information, unprecedented data from SWOT is helping researchers and scientists determine how flood conditions evolve during extreme events, such as those experienced this year in northern California.

Both sides expressed their intent to cooperate on Earth science missions in the fields of aerosol, cloud, convection, and precipitation (ACCP) research, Designated Observables from the U.S. 2017 Decadal Survey, that is expected to include time-differenced microwave radiometers from CNES to measure convective vertical motions.

The participants recognized the important contributions of the private sector in expanding our economic activity 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 separate but complementary UN space security fora. Participants recognized that each forum has a vital and complementary role to play in ensuring that activity in outer space is safe, secure, and sustainable, so that space systems can continue to deliver benefits into the future.

Both the United States and France reaffirmed their commitment to working through UNCOPUOS to promote the safe and sustainable use of outer space for peaceful purposes. For both sides, implementing the UNCOPUOS Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the UNCOPUOS Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities are priorities. The United States and France look forward to continued engagement on the topic of long-term sustainability in the UNCOPUOS Long-Term Sustainability working group. Both the United States and France welcomed the progress towards the establishment of a new UNCOPUOS agenda item focused on Dark and Quiet Skies and expressed their commitment to astronomical sciences and the important benefits provided by commercial satellite services.

Both sides also underlined the importance of continued close coordination, bilaterally and with like-minded partners, to constructively support the work in UN space security fora, with a particular focus on the second OEWG on reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviors when it starts its work in 2025 to build upon the meaningful discussions during the first OEWG in 2022 and 2023. They stressed that the development and implementation of voluntary norms of responsible behavior and transparency and confidence-building measures, represent concrete first steps to promote mutual confidence among States while reducing the mistrust, misunderstanding, and miscalculation which may lead to unintended escalation. In this regard, both sides welcomed the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 77/41 and called upon all States to commit not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile tests. Both sides welcomed States making and observing this national commitment in order to ensure that this proposal becomes an internationally-recognized norm of responsible behavior.

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 third meeting of the Dialogue in Paris.

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