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Negotiating a Treaty on Autonomous Weapons Systems - The Way Forward

This briefing paper sets out a positive vision to encourage governments to commence negotiations on a new treaty on autonomous weapons systems.

The growing momentum towards achieving new international law is the result of widespread recognition of the ethical, legal and humanitarian dangers posed by autonomy in weapons systems and clarity over the solution we need. The opportunity has arrived for states to take leadership in initiating negotiations on a new treaty that would transform our relationship to technology, achieve new standards in the use of force and promote a more peaceful world for generations to come.

For the process of establishing a new treaty to be a success, it should be receptive to lessons from previous treaties in disarmament and arms control, responsive to the particular complexities of autonomy in weapons systems, inclusive of diverse stakeholders with expertise on the issues and ambitious in safeguarding the rights and dignities of humanity. This briefing paper is intended to provide encouragement to government leaders and engaged partners on negotiating a successful treaty.

"A new treaty on autonomous weapons systems would have an historic impact on the relationship between humans and technology for generations to come. The ability to achieve this milestone requires certain foundations to be established in order to initiate negotiations and ensure their successful progress to completion. After 9 years of international discussions at the CCW, the core ingredients for commencing this process are now in place to make a new treaty possible."

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