The following Joint Declaration was issued today by the United States and the governments of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.
Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
An increasing number of States are acquiring and employing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to support a range of missions, including military missions that promote peace and security. Individual States may already have laws and policies in place to ensure the responsible export and use of UAVs that are armed, or that include equipment related uniquely to the deployment or delivery of weapons.
However, recognizing that misuse of armed or strike-enabled UAVs could fuel conflict and instability, and facilitate terrorism and organized crime, the international community must take appropriate transparency measures to ensure the responsible export and subsequent use of these systems. In this context, we continue to recognize the following principles, none of which should be construed to undermine the legitimate interest of any State to indigenously produce, export, or acquire such systems for legitimate purposes:
A. The applicability of international law, including both the law of armed conflict and international human rights law, as applicable, to the use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs, as with other weapon systems;
B. The importance of engaging in the responsible export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs in line with existing relevant international arms control and disarmament norms that help build confidence as to the peaceful intention of States;
C. That the export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs should be done consistent with the principles of existing multilateral export control and nonproliferation regimes, taking into account the potential recipient country’s history regarding adherence to its relevant international obligations and commitments;
D. The importance of appropriate voluntary transparency measures on the export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs including reporting of military exports through existing mechanisms, where appropriate, and with due regard to national security considerations; and
E. That in light of the rapid development of UAV technology and the benefit of setting international standards for the export and subsequent use of such systems, we are resolved to continue discussions on how these capabilities are transferred and used responsibly by all States.
We call upon other governments to support this declaration. [End Text]