On 24 May 2023, Volterra Fietta hosted a virtual seminar on “Challenges in Space ahead of the ITU’s World Radio Conference 2023”, another seminar in its continuing Space Law seminar series.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies. Every three to four years, it convenes the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in order to review and revise the Radio Regulations, an international treaty that, among other things, governs the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. The next WRC will be held from November – December 2023 in Dubai.
The WRC’s decisions have significant, real-world impacts on the development of space-based services, including space-based communications services. This year will be no different. This year’s agenda considers, among other items, the harmonisation of specific frequency bands, the protection of aeronautical and maritime mobile services stations located in international airspace and waters and potential new allocations to the mobile-satellite services. The ITU’s WRC agenda also relates closely to other current pressing space law issues such as mega-constellations and space debris.
The distinguished panel of speakers were:
Prof Frans von der Dunk, Harvey & Susan Perlman Alumni and Othmer Professor Of Space Law, Nebraska College of Law. Professor von der Dunk has advised governments, international organisations and private entities including the Dutch Government, several foreign Governments, the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Dutch National Aerospace Agency (NIVR), the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA), the German Space Agency (DLR), the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), the Saudi Space Agency (SSA) and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He was also member of the Advisory Group to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the drafting of Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes relating to Outer Space. His work deals with a broad area of issues related to space activities, such as space policy, international cooperation in space, national space law, privatisation of space activities, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) (in particular Galileo), satellite communications, radio astronomy and earth observation.
Mr Gunjan Sharma, Partner at Volterra Fietta. Mr Sharma is widely acknowledged as a leading expert on the nascent field of space law. He has been senior counsel on two of the three large space-based international arbitrations concerning satellite services in the last ten years (Devas v India and Al Jazeera v Egypt). He routinely advises clients in litigations on matters concerning ITU regulations and frequency allocations. His writings on space law have appeared in both, trade publications such as Satellite Evolution and national newspapers like The Times and NRC. Based on the recommendations of his clients and peers, Mr Sharma has been recognised as a “Rising Star” in public international law, “for sure”, by Legal500 and as a “Rising Star” in Commercial Arbitration by Euromoney.
The event was moderated by Ms Maanya Tandon. Ms Tandon, Associate at Volterra Fietta, advises and represents clients on a wide range of public international law and international dispute resolution issues. She previously worked as an international legal adviser at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including on space law issues.