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UNIDIR and SWF Introduce the Space Security Lexicon: Bridging the Gap in Space Terminology
To standardize space security terminology and bridge understanding gaps, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) have introduced a comprehensive "Lexicon for Outer Space Security". The Lexicon, curated by editors Almudena Azcarate Ortega and Victoria Samson, categorizes commonly used space security terms from multilateral discussions. The initiative ensures geographic and linguistic inclusivity, collaborating with international experts and planning versions in all UN languages.
UNIDIR and SWF Introduce the Space Security Lexicon: Bridging the Gap in Space Terminology
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Aug 29, 2023

The intricacies of space security terminology can sometimes create barriers in international discussions. With the rapid evolution of space technology and policies, the need for a universal understanding of terms has become imperative. Recognizing this void, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) have crafted the "Space Security Lexicon."

The essence of this lexicon isn't just about offering definitions; it's about creating a platform for transparent dialogue. By providing clear explanations of terms, it's poised to reduce misunderstandings in space security conversations. However, understanding that interpretation can vary, the lexicon also incorporates diverse views on certain terminologies, ensuring a comprehensive perspective.

The creation of this lexicon was no small feat. Almudena Azcarate Ortega and Victoria Samson, the editors, began by scouring through United Nations Member States' statements and documents from various multilateral forums. The thorough investigation into English language documents followed by other UN languages pinpointed the commonly used terms that required clarity.

The refinement didn't stop there. An 11-member committee, consisting of renowned space and disarmament experts from different linguistic and geographic backgrounds, was formed. They collaborated through online workshops, delving deep into the terminologies and shaping their definitions. Their meticulous efforts were further polished by external peer reviewers, adding another layer of credibility to the lexicon.

Understanding the global nature of space discussions, the lexicon won't remain limited to English. The intention is to extend versions in all UN languages, using the English edition as the foundation but tweaking them to reflect the linguistic nuances of each language.

The lexicon's objectives are distinct. It isn't about dictating how terms should be understood but highlighting the various interpretations. By doing so, it sets the stage for transparent international discussions on space security.

The terms in this inaugural edition are organized meticulously into three primary categories:

1. Acronyms frequently found in space security, with detailed explanations and interpretations.

2. Common definitions to provide a broader understanding of typically technical space security terms.

3. Terms used by States in space policy dialogues that necessitate further clarification.

To make navigation easy, each term is alphabetically ordered within its respective category or subcategory. Additionally, cross-references have been incorporated for terms that are explained in different sections of the lexicon.

The Republic of Korea, seeing the importance of this initiative, generously funded this first edition.

For those unfamiliar, UNIDIR operates as a voluntarily funded entity within the United Nations. It has been instrumental in promoting dialogue and action on disarmament and security from its base in Geneva. Their commitment is about generating knowledge and assisting the international sphere in discovering innovative solutions to pressing security issues.

On the other hand, Secure World Foundation, a private operating foundation, has been steadfast in its dedication to ensuring the safe and sustainable use of space for the betterment of Earth and its inhabitants. Their collaboration spans governments, industries, international organizations, and civil society, focusing on ideas and actions that drive the secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of outer space.

The Space Security Lexicon isn't just a reference guide; it's a testament to global collaboration in the quest for a secure and peaceful space frontier. With space activities becoming an integral part of global development, ensuring clear communication is essential, and this lexicon is a significant stride in that direction.

Related Links
Secure World Foundation
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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