In memoriam: Eduardo Gaggero (1937-2011)

Sadly, Dr Eduardo Gaggero is no longer with us. His friends and colleagues remember him as a figure of great renown in the field of air and space law, not only on the international scene but also as head of CIDA-E, the Uruguayan Centre for Air and Space Law, which he loved so much and conducted so well. Winning hearts and minds in the various institutions to which he belonged was no more than a natural consequence of his friendliness and kind personality. He was a long-time member of the IISL, and also made CIDA-E one of the Institute’s first institutional members.

Dr. Gaggero followed the steps of Alvaro Bauza Araujo, a famous Uruguayan law professor, who launched one of the first books on space law in Latin America in 1957 entitled “Towards an Astronautical Law”. Bauza Araujo was then the Uruguayan pioneer in this new branch of the legal sciences. Gaggero was also a pioneer, in his case in the hard challenge of research, teaching and dissemination of space law. He wrote a number of interesting papers on the subject, as well as on air law. He made an important contribution to the elaboration of the first Uruguayan document on Space Policy, adopted by the National Commission of Aeronautical Policy in 1975. That same year, Dr. Gaggero was appointed director of CIDA-E, a recently set up national institution to promote research and development and disseminate knowledge in the aerospace fields, where he worked with dedication encouraging the ratification of the Space Treaties to which Uruguay was not yet a party. Efforts were not in vain: by 1981 Uruguay had already ratified the Moon Agreement.

CIDA-E, with the support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promoted the Third Space Conference of the Americas (Punta del Este, 1996). Uruguay assumed the Pro Tempore Secretariat of the Conference, a position held by this country until the celebration of the Fourth Conference in 2002. During those six years, CIDA-E, always presided by Gaggero, organized various seminars covering different aspects of space activities. In those days
the country became extremely active in many areas of the field, especially the law of outer space.

A firm supporter of the idea that the teaching of space law should be an important element of a country’s foreign policy, Dr. Gaggero joined enthusiastically in the pursuance of the creation of a Regional Centre for Space Law Studies, proposed by the present authors, with the purpose of organizing space law courses in the Latin American countries. In 2007, Dr. Gaggero and the present writers worked together in Montevideo at a regional conference arranged on the initiative of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science with the full support of the then recently founded Uruguayan Society for the Progress of Science and Technology. During a Round Table dealing with the legal aspects of space activities, to his great satisfaction, a declaration was adopted by consensus, currently known as the Montevideo Declaration, as a follow up to the Buenos Aires (2004) Declaration on the subject.

Dr. Gaggero’s contribution to the objectives of the IISL were numerous and based on the authority of his experience as delegate of his country to COPUOS. In this sense his papers ‘International Cooperation in Space: a Uruguayan point of view’ (Budapest 1983) and ‘Space Law Teaching in Uruguay’ (Innsbruck 1986) went a long way in lightening up the thinking of Uruguay in other countries and continents. To cite just a few of his other excellent papers:
• Space law: reflections upon its evolution at the beginnings of the third millennium (Journal of the Universidad de Scezin, 1989)
• Developing countries and space: From awareness to participation (CIDA-E, February 2003)
• New roles in space for the 21st. century: a Uruguayan view (Space Policy, August 2003).

The striking feature of Dr. Gaggero’s papers is their being, at the same time, scholarly and practical. In fact, it is fair to say that, over the years, he was the example of a -nearly perfect- equilibrium between idealism and pragmatism which is so important in the world of today.

No doubt Dr. Gaggero’s life-work for the progressive development of space law will go down in history. A bright team of his disciples now remains to continue his efforts and pursue the objectives of CIDA-E, in Uruguay and the world, under the powerful guidance of his teachings and example.

On behalf of the IISL Board of Directors Maureen Williams (Argentina/UK) and José Monserrat Filho (Brazil)