56th Otago Foreign Policy School takes off with space law expert as school director

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Nanaia Mahuta joined Dr Maria Pozza at the school’s opening

56th Otago Foreign Policy School takes off with space law expert as school director
Dr Maria Pozza

The Otago Foreign Policy School for 2022 has launched with space law expert Dr Maria Pozza as school director.

“The country sits at an important juncture, given both its regulatory infrastructure and unique positioning on the globe. However, this means that, now more than ever, New Zealand must work to collaborate with its partners for security, and this is especially true when shaping its own foreign policy,” Pozza said.

The director and principal lawyer of space law specialist firm Gravity Lawyers was joined at the school’s opening by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Nanaia Mahuta, which emphasises the importance of both the Foreign Policy School and its current focus on space law, Pozza told NZ Lawyer.

This year’s school will be examining the regulatory, scientific, cultural, and security aspects in developing New Zealand’s space policy and framework.

“The space industry in New Zealand has grown momentously over the few past years and, globally, its importance is increasing with the growing commercialisation of activities. While some nations have developed their respective space programmes on military research and design, New Zealand’s space industry lays within a foundation of commercial space activities, which presents both opportunities and challenges,” she explained.

According to Pozza, the key themes the 56th Otago Foreign Policy School is concentrating on are as follows:

  • New Zealand’s commercial, defence, security, and regulatory stances concerning space activities and development
  • international relations between New Zealand and other space-faring nations
  • potential challenges and opportunities posed by technological developments such as cyber security over space assets
  • collaborative scientific developments that consider environmental impacts from space activities and the maintenance of cultural heritage

She also highlighted the issue of space debris. Moreover, discussions will be held on topics like cyber security in outer space, space tourism, culture and the stars, international law, and the space programmes of other nations.

Speakers at the school will include Professor Dale Stephens (director of the University of Adelaide’s research unit on military law and ethics), Dovilé Matuleviciute (Luxembourg Space Agency), Emeritus Professor of Astronomy John Hearnshaw (University of Canterbury), Toni Hoeta (Otago Museum) and James Powell (Dawn Aerospace).

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