In 2013, the Meeting of State Parties to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or have indiscriminate effects (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons – CCW) agreed on a mandate on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). It mandated its Chairperson to convene an informal Meeting of Experts 'to discuss the questions related to emerging technologies in the areas of lethal autonomous weapons systems in the context of the objectives and purposes of the Convention'. Such meetings of experts were convened three times, in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and produced reports which fed into meetings of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention.
In 2016, at the Fifth CCW Review Conference, High Contracting Parties decided to establish an open-ended Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of LAWS (GGE on LAWS), to build on the work of the previous meetings of experts. The group was re-convened in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020–2021.
GGE in 2020 and 2021
The 2020–2021 GGE concluded its work in April 2021 without agreeing on a substantive report. A Chair's summary highlighting GGE's work was issued.
In November 2019, the CCW Meeting of High Contracting Parties decided that the GGE work would continue in 2020 and 2021, to explore and agree on possible recommendations on options related to emerging technologies in the area of LAWS, in the context of the objectives and purposes of the Convention.
The Group’s recommendations were expected to be reported for consideration at the 2020 Meeting of High Contracting Parties and 2021 Sixth Review Conference.