Between 1967 and 1979 the COPUOS drafted 5 international treaties. Some of them were widely signed by the international community and some were not. Here are some of the important aspects of the effects of these treaties:
No nukes in space. The Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967, is the backbone of international laws governing space. The Cold War was in its prime, and both sides were wary of bringing the conflict into space. This treaty states that it is illegal to place nuclear weapons or another weapon of mass destruction into space, meaning in orbit, on the Moon, or on any other celestial body. It is also illegal to place any military installation in space.
Nobody owns the Moon... maybe. There are a few clauses in the Outer Space Treaty that imply that the Moon and other celestial bodies cannot be claimed by any country. Specifically it says, "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means." Now to us laymen, this might seem like a pretty straightforward sentence, but to the wiley bureaucrat, it can be interpreted several ways.
The Department of State's explanation of the Outer Space Treaty makes no mention of this clause. In 1979 the Moon Treaty attempted to solidify any misconceptions of the Outer Space Treaty regarding sovereignty, stating that "neither the surface nor the subsurface of the Moon not any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any State." Now any country that supports the ideals that Article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty are based on would have no problem with the Moon Treaty. However, only 12 countries have ratified the Moon Treaty, and most of them are poor third world countries with no space program. In fact, no new treaties have been drafted for the past 30 years because of disagreement on this subject. So when countries to finally start moving into space, you can probably look forward to another colonial dash similar to European powers carving up Africa