About The Committee
Since its inaugural Meeting in 1954, the Bilderberg Meeting has been an annual forum for informal discussions, designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. Every year, approx. 130 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, labour, academia and the media are invited to take part in the Meeting. About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields. The Meeting is a forum for informal discussions about major issues. The Meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed. Thanks to the private nature of the Meeting, the participants take part as individuals rather than in any official capacity, and hence are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.
Agenda: The Importance of space
A large chunk of the agenda had a military flavour: “The weaponisation of social media”, “cyber threats”, even “the importance of space”. Space may be the final frontier, but it’s an expensive one to explore. There are ample problems with which to contend here on Earth, and that leads some people to wonder if space exploration is worth the hassle. Humans did not evolve to go into space, but we go there anyway. That has led to the development of various technologies that feed back into the economy and improve our lives on Earth. Without space programs, we wouldn’t have GPS, accurate weather prediction, solar cells, or the ultraviolet filters in sunglasses and cameras. There’s also medical research happening in space right now that could cure diseases and prolong human lives, and these experiments can’t be done on Earth. Space exploration could save your life. The economic viability of colonizing Mars has been extensively examined. It is shown that of all bodies in the solar system other than Earth, Mars is unique in that it has the resources required to support a population of sufficient size to create locally a new branch of human civilization. When space crops up in conversation, ownership does not immediately spring to mind. But as the human race continues to advance in this field, and with commercial space enterprises just around the corner, questions about power politics and their interaction with space exploration must be asked and answered. Neil Armstrong famously planted a US flag on the Moon in 1969. This gesture may have implied territorial ownership, but was purely symbolic because of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. 129 countries, including China, Russia, the UK and the US, have committed to this treaty, which is overseen by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.