Delegation of the European Union to the

UN and other international organisations in Geneva

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons - Group of Governmental Experts - Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

Geneva, 29/08/2018 - 17:00, UNIQUE ID: 180829_2
Statements on behalf of the EU

EU Statement Group of Governmental Experts Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Geneva, 27-31 August 2018

Possible recommendations on options related to emerging technologies in the area of LAWS in the context of the objectives and purposes of the CCW

Mr. Chairman,                                                                                                            

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia[1], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Georgia align themselves with this statement.

The EU and its Member States look forward to further cooperation with all High Contracting Parties and other stakeholders in order to achieve consensus on a substantive GGE report by the end of this week.

The 2017 GGE LAWS concluded that there is a need to continue work in a focused and participative manner on options for addressing possible humanitarian and international security challenges posed by emerging technologies in the area of LAWS.

The EU recalls that the GGE LAWS should, in accordance with its mandate, pave the way for identifying possible ways forward in the context of the objectives and purposes of the CCW. We are in favour of agreeing on a mandate for the year 2019, subject to available resources. It is essential that all High Contracting Parties recognise their responsibility in this regard and comply with their financial obligations without further delay.

The GGE LAWS has been mandated to explore and agree on possible recommendations on options related to emerging technologies in the area of LAWS. This might include possible regulatory options as regards the use of emerging technologies in weapons systems with increasingly autonomous functions to ensure compliance with international law, International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and other provisions of international law, including on the protection of the environment.

We welcome your idea, Mr. Chairman, to agree on a set of common principles, building on the previously agreed work to provide a shared reference point for further work. Such principles could include the reaffirmation that international law, including IHL and Human Rights Law, applies to the development and use of all present and future weapons systems, and set out some key elements of human control. The principles could be reviewed and updated regularly. This approach would have the advantage of enabling substantive progress in our current discussions without closing off any particular future option for our work.

Mr. Chairman,

Legitimacy and public acceptance of the new technologies are dependent upon ensuring responsibility and accountability. These issues are increasingly present in the public debate in Europe and reflected also in the work of the EU institutions. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly highlight the latest policy developments in Brussels on Artificial Intelligence more broadly.

In its Conclusions of 28 June 2018, the European Council invited the European Commission to work with EU Member States on a coordinated plan on Artificial Intelligence (AI), building on the Commission Communication on AI of April 2018. The Commission has highlighted its wish to agree on a coordinated plan on AI by the end of 2018. The Commission is also facilitating a broad multi-stakeholder platform – the European AI alliance.

Operationally, the EU’s AI policy in the making would address three main issues: 1) boosting the EU’s technological and industrial capacity and AI uptake across the economy, 2) preparing for imminent socio-economic changes, and 3) ensuring an appropriate ethical and legal framework based on EU values and fundamental rights. As regards the international security dimension, the AI policy will build on the work of the EU High Representative in the Global Tech Panel and within the UN and other multilateral fora.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman


[1] The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.