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Wrap Up: Keep Space for Peace Week

14 October 2014
Image Credit: The Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Credit: Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

Last week, Reaching Critical Will (RCW), the disarmament programme of WILPF, co-sponsored the Keep Space for Peace Week 2014. Here is the wrap up!

The goal of WILPF is to create action and awareness about the importance of outer space security so that it remains free from weapons and is protected against weaponisation, militarisation, and irresponsible behaviour.


It is extremely important to keep space for peace in order to facilitate humanitarian needs, such as telecommunication, disaster mitigation, resource management, and development.

This was highlighted by the coinciding World Space Week’s theme “SPACE: Guiding your way”, about the importance of Global Satellite Systems to modern life on Earth.

A conflict in space would lead to devastating direct consequences for our daily life on Earth, but also affect the overall long-term sustainability and peaceful use of space as illustrated by the Space Weeks.


During the week RCW has posted the latest news, information about risks and threats, international agreements and initiatives, and recommendations related to disarmament activities in outer space.

Public action and events for the Keep Space for Peace Campaign took place at many various locations during the week. The World Space Week 2014 recorded over 1000 events at different places around the world.

We applaud everyone who participated in any way and encourage everyone to start planning for next year!


Space Debris around Earth Credit: Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Space Debris around Earth
Credit: Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

The main threats identified were accidental and intentional collisions due to debris and other space objects caused by the increased space activity, as well as the threat of weaponisation and militarisation of outer space.

There is a worrying trend in technology development in recent years that weaponisation of space technology is no longer just science fiction. Some states have developed and even tested anti-satellite systems and ground-based “missile defence” technologies can also have dual-use capabilities as space weapons.

This is very concerning against the backdrop of the lack of progress in negotiations of a multilateral agreement to ensure peace in outer space. The overwhelming majority of the UN Member States are concerned about the weaponisation of space.

This is demonstrated by increasing initiatives in the disarmament agenda, including the Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) debris mitigation guidelines, the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space, the EU International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities (ICoC), and Russia and China’s draft treaty on the Prevention of the Placement Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT) in the Conference on Disarmament.

However, none of the efforts have yet managed to achieve the results needed and desired. In the meantime, money is being spent to develop technologies that could disrupt and destroy our use of outer space now and for future generations.


Last week the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) started its 2014 session. The First Committee is a month long consensus-building body, where issues of international peace and security are collectively discussed among all UN Member States.

During the first week of general debates the issue of space had some increased attention compared to last years and many states highlighted the above discussed risks and threats.

Brazil for example emphasized that this increasing interest shows that “the use of outer space for military purposes is firmly underway.” The Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the African Group acknowledged the emerging space challenges and welcomed the new initiatives that have emerged in the last years.


For a long time, only a few NGOs have been involved in space issues. Governments need an active civil society that can make sure that the public follows any activities taking place and demand action.

WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will has therefore increased its focus on space, as one of the civil society actors working to increase attention and public participation.

In light of the on-going UN General Assembly First Committee, WILPF calls on all delegations to highlight the importance of preventing the weaponisation of outer space and to condemn any anti-satellite tests and the development of weapons to be placed in orbit or to be used to target space-based assets.

WILPF urges all delegations to indicate support for the negotiation of a treaty preventing an arms race in outer space and for interim measures such as the International Code of Conduct on outer space activities.

To see more on about our work and what was said at the UNGA First Committee on space and other disarmament issues please visit RCW’s First Committee Monitor.

To see all our posts from the Keep Space For Peace Week visit RCW’s Facebook Page.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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