NSS Advances a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Human Space Expansion


NSS Makes the Case for Facilitating Sustainability on Earth by Expanding Humanity into Space

On September 15, 2023, the National Space Society, in partnership with Space Renaissance International (SRI), will host a joint session in New York City to advocate for the inclusion of an 18th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) focused on the expansion of humanity into space. The effort, supported by a coalition of 55 space organizations, will be used to shape a value proposition to be presented to United Nations delegates for the inclusion of this Space SDG in the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The space domain is clearly a different operating environment from Earth’s,” said Karlton D. Johnson, retired Air Force Colonel, Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors, and Chairman of the NSS International Committee which is leading the effort. “As such, we need a goal that will facilitate development of the space domain while garnering returns to address Earth-based challenges.”

Dr. Fredrick Jenet, NSS International Committee Co-Chair, added, “We presented our initial thoughts on an 18th SDG for permanent human expansion into space to the 66th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space [COPUOS] last June. Our ideas generated positive and enthusiastic reactions from many attendees. From there, largely because of tireless efforts by SRI CEO Adriano Autino, this movement has gained a huge following of professional organizations interested in seeing UN delegates submit and pass a resolution for an 18th SDG for human expansion into space.”

Enthusiasm for the September 15th joint session in New York City, which will occur during the UN General Assembly Science Summit, has grown rapidly. Organizations such as the Mars Society, Space Development Foundation, Beyond Earth Institute, and many others have lent strong support to the initiative. Alfred Anzaldua, long-time Policy Chair for NSS and International Committee member said, “It’s remarkable to see the surging support for this new SDG. This 18th SDG will help to focus people inside and outside the UN on the benefits that will accrue for humans everywhere, including on Earth, with the permanent expansion of human communities living and working in space. As a bonus, such an expansion will also help make many of the other 17 SDGs become more quickly sustainable.”

Dale Skran, NSS COO, added, “We’re extremely happy to see NSS continuing to take a leadership role in shaping the future of key space sector issues internationally. This discussion is what our organization is all about.”

People wishing to watch the sessions will be able to do so via YouTube (https://youtube.com/live/3dyrsT5jtaM) on or after September 15th.

Image: Karlton D. Johnson, Chair of the NSS Board of Governors and Chair of the NSS International Committee, and Alfred Anzaldua, also of the NSS International Committee, present at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Committee on the Peaceful Uses for Outer Space (COPUOS) meeting in Vienna, Austria, in June.


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Contributors to the NSS Blog are unpaid volunteers. Unless specifically labeled an NSS position or press release, all blog posts represent the views of the author and not of NSS, even if written by an NSS officer.

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