Objective: To promote on the basis of equality the further development of cooperation among States in the exploration and use of the moon and other celestial bodies (thereafter the celestial bodies) and to prevent the moon from becoming an area of international conflict.
Summary of provisions: Several articles contain key principles, inter alia, that these bodies are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes (art. 3). Moreover, their exploration and use are to be the province of all mankind and for the benefit and in the interests of all countries (art 3.1). Due regard must be paid to the interests of present and future generations as well as to the need to promote higher standards of living (art. 3.1). The Agreement declares the freedom of scientific investigation, right to exploration and use without discrimination of any kind on the basis of equality and in accordance with international law (art. 6.1) and the right to collect and remove samples of mineral and other substances of these celestial bodies (art 6.2). It further affirms that these celestial bodies are not subject to national appropriation (art 11.2) and that they are, along with their natural resources, the common heritage of mankind (art. 11.1).
Contracting Parties agree to inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the public and the scientific community, to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, of their activities regarding the exploration and use of the moon (art. 5) as well as of any phenomena they discover in outer space which could endanger human life or health and any indication of organic life (art. 6). They are to take measures to prevent the disruption of the existing balance of the environment of these bodies and to avoid harmfully affecting the environment of the earth (art 7). Parties agree to notify the Secretary- General of the United Nations in advance of all placements of radio-active materials on these planets and the purposes of such placements (art.7.2). They also undertake to report to the Secretary General and other Parties areas having special scientific interest to consider designating e.g. international scientific preserves with special protective arrangements (art. 7.2). Parties may pursue their activities in the exploration and use of the moon anywhere on or below the surface (art. 8).
Parties undertake to inform the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as the public and the scientific community to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, of any natural resources they may discover on the moon (art 11.6) and to establish an international regime to govern the exploitation of these resources as such it is about to become feasible (art. 11.5). Art 11.7 defines the main purposes of such a regime.
Finally, Parties are to bear international responsibility for national activities on these bodies and for assuring that they are carried out in conformity with the Agreement (art 14.1). Moreover, they may assure themselves that the activities of other Parties in the exploration and use of the moon are compatible with the provisions of this Agreement (art 15).
(Source: IUCN ELC, 08.2005)