No meaningful progress at the UN Group of Governmental Experts on autonomous weapon systems

On Friday, 29 July 2022, the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on autonomous weapon systems concluded its final formal session for 2022. After nine years of work at the United Nations, the GGE desperately needed to adopt conclusions that would provide a clear framework for responding to the challenges of autonomy in weapon systems. But once again, the final draft, which was adopted at the end of Friday’s meeting, was stripped of its substantive content, leaving the Group with nothing to show for all the hard work undertaken this year. In addition, the mandate for next year’s GGE has simply been rolled over from this year, despite the demand from most delegations for a concrete commitment to elaborate proposals or negotiate a new protocol. And the length of the 2023 session remains an open question. With Russia continuing to insist on only 10 days and many others calling for 20, this issue has once again been kicked down the road, for the CCW meeting of high contracting parties to contend with in November 2022.

This year, like last year, has shown the limits of what can be done in the CCW. Certain states have no intention of accepting any limitations over their ability to develop and deploy autonomous weapons. Unfortunately, not all governments are willing do anything about this. As Stop Killer Robots said, too many states are complicit in this deadlock. Urgent actions is needed to move outside the CCW and negotiate a legally binding intrument that ensures meaningful human control over all weapon systems.

Find out the details of what transpired with Reaching Critical Will's CCW Report and find documents and available statements on our website.