The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement between Canada, France, the former USSR and the USA (document C/S P.001) was signed in Paris on 1 July 1988 and entered into force on 30 August 1988. The Agreement is open for accession by other States wishing to provide space segment capabilities. It also allows for the use of the System by all States on a long-term non-discriminatory basis. The Programme Agreement is available under the "System Documents" section of our website.
The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement establishes a Council and a Secretariat. The Council oversees the implementation of the Agreement and co-ordinates the activities of the Parties. The Secretariat, the permanent administrative organ of the Programme, takes direction from the Council and assists the Council in the implementation of its functions. The Council has established a subsidiary organ, the Cospas-Sarsat Joint Committee, which is composed of an Operations Working Group (OWG) and a Technical Working Group (TWG).
States non-Party to the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement can participate in the System by notifying one of the Depositaries of the Agreement (the Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization or the Secretary General of International Civil Aviation Organization) of their association with the Programme either as Ground Segment Providers or as User-States. Ground Segment Providers and User-States are invited to participate in Cospas-Sarsat Programme meetings.