The 2019 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) was convened in Geneva on 13-15 November. It was decided that the CCW will discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) on 22-26 June and 10-14 August 2020. These meetings will focus on the “development of aspects of the normative and operational framework” on LAWS. In 2021, the CCW’s milestone Sixth Review Conference will take place in December, which the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots aims to set as the absolute end point for the CCW talks on killer robots .
The Campaign, which SGI is a member of, expressed disappointment over the lack of progress at the CCW and does not feel that the plans are ambitious enough. The Campaign wants a mandate to negotiate a legally binding instrument prohibiting LAWS and to conclude negotiations in 2021. To this end the Campaign during the CCW launched a new publication titled “Key Elements of a Treaty on Fully Autonomous Weapons”, authored by Bonnie Docherty of Harvard Law School, and is working towards finding a group of states that will lead a negotiation process outside of the UN or in the General Assembly. The Campaign is organizing a global meeting in February 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to further discuss these goals.
During the CCW on 15 November Brazil announced that it will host an international symposium on killer robots in February 2020, in Rio de Janeiro.
Prior to the CCW, on 12 November, Hayley Ramsay-Jones of SGI helped the Campaign organize a briefing for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) representatives and non-High Contracting Parties to the CCW to discuss the issue of LAWS. Moderated by a representative of Haiti, the meeting was attended by 25 participants, including 18 government representatives. Many SIDS members have not been active in the CCW discussions so far, due to lack of resources and/or not being High Contracting State Parties to the CCW. The briefing aimed to inform government participants of the issue, and to look at how the Campaign could work with them.