The 3- Day Kenya Technical Advisory Mission on Space Law was concluded on 20th April 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters, Nairobi. The advisory mission, tailor-made for the Government of Kenya, was jointly organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Kenya Space Agency. This follows the “First Stakeholders Workshop to Review the Kenya Space Policy and Develop Kenya Space Bill 2023”, held on 25 November 2022 and attended by representatives from Government and the private sector. The mission featured various central aspects of importance on international cooperation, fundamental principles of international space law, mechanisms for developing national regulatory and policy frameworks, national space activities and the current status and content of the draft Kenya Space Bill 2023.
Stakeholders were taken through a broad range of best practices and examples of models addressing: authorization; licensing and continuous supervision of space activities; liability and insurance perspectives; international and national registration requirements; safety considerations; the legal regime of Earth observation; satellite data security; legal aspects of spaceports; and included interactive scenario-based exercises having discussions among all experts based on clear needs-assessment.
In his closing remarks, the Ag Director UNOOSA Mr. Niklas Hedman, said that he sees outstanding prospects for Kenya further engaging in space activities and leading the region in terms of conducting responsible space activities. He expressed his deepest gratitude to the Chairperson KSA Board of Director, the Ag. Director-General KSA, KSA senior management, experts and all the stakeholders for attending the workshop. “I would also like to express my gratitude to the Government of France for their support of the Space Law for New Space Actors project and for making this TAM possible.” Said Mr. Niklas Hedman.
Kenya Space Agency Board Chairperson, Maj Gen (Rtd) James Aruasa, said it was a great honor for UNOOSA led by their Director to send a team to Kenya for the technical advisory mission in Nairobi, Kenya. Maj Gen (Rtd) Aruasa mentioned key takeaways like; There are inherent responsibilities on states that are party to the Outer Space Treaty (OST) on matters of registration, liabilities, rescue and recovery. It is thus clear that domesticating these treaties in national laws is of paramount importance.
The liability of space operations is squarely on the state and thus close coordination on this aspect is important for the agency charged with space affairs.
On his part, the Ag. DG KSA, Brig. Hillary Kipkosgey, pointed out that the mission was largely a capacity building session to put all participants in the same framework of understanding with regard to the International space law and obligations as a State party to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty. While thanking the participants, he highlighted the important milestone achieved so far and the need to convene a legislative drafting team to incorporate the views of the experts and stakeholders.
Present during the closing ceremony were KSA Board members, senior government officials and private sector players among others.