Let me begin by once again commending your professional and skilful chairmanship of the GGE this week.
We associate ourselves with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) earlier today and would like to reinforce and add a few points in our national capacity.
Although my delegation would have preferred a more ambitious mandate, this GGE was ultimately tasked to develop possible options for addressing the humanitarian and international security challenges posed by emerging technologies in the area of LAWS, while considering elements of their characterization, human-machine interface and potential military applications.
This week, we again observed a large majority of States, including my own, express the strong desire to pursue a legally binding instrument stipulating prohibitions and regulations on LAWS. This is clearly emerging as the strongest option.
We note that other opinions have also been voiced during the meeting, such as the call for exploring the possibility of non-legally binding and transparency and confidence building measures. In our view, this can only as an interim step towards a legally-binding instrument.
At the same time, States that are believed to be actively researching and developing such weapons prefer to do nothing at this stage, almost negating the vociferous concerns related to LAWS. In our view, doing nothing while weapon systems with Artificial Intelligence and increasingly autonomous functions are fast becoming a reality should not be an option.
States Parties have attained a sufficient degree of common understanding on the various aspects of LAWS. The discussions held this week contributed to further refining this understanding. We need to shift gears now and move towards the development of concrete policy recommendations, which should be the prime focus of the GGE. My delegation will engage with that process in a constructive and cooperative manner in order to arrive at a robust report by consensus.
As called for by NAM, the need to pursue a legally binding instrument stipulating appropriate prohibitions and regulations on LAWS should be clearly reflected in the Conclusions of the report of the GGE.
As for the set of principles and common understandings, we see the following three key areas that should form part of that list:
First, LAWS are a unique and novel class of weapons that have given rise to multi-faceted concerns, especially related to their humanitarian and security dimension, which need to be addressed multilaterally. National regulations and responses such as national weapons reviews are unable to deal with them.
Second, human control on the use of weapons with autonomous functions has been deemed as essential. The need now is to ascertain the scope and extent of human control that would satisfy all concerns related to the humanitarian, security and ethical dimensions of LAWS.
Third, weapons with autonomous functions must comply with International Law including International Humanitarian Law, bearing in mind the question whether autonomous machines are even capable of being programmed to ensure such compliance.
Over time, the concerns surrounding LAWS have exacerbated and become more pronounced. Despite attempts by the technology holders to point out the virtues of doing nothing at this stage, the international community at large is not ready to sit idle. The consequences, especially on international peace and security, are too grave to be ignored. This process launched within the CCW can only be sustained if it is result-oriented and seen to be heeding the concerns of all member states. We, therefore, support the renewal of the GGE with the mandate to negotiate a new Protocol to the CCW dealing specifically with LAWS.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.