The Conference “2019. Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control.” aims to provide a forum to help better understand the challenges posed to global arms control by the military application of new technologies, and to help discuss solutions in response to these challenges.

Set against a backdrop of rapid technological change in many fields the Conference will focus on lethal autonomous weapons systems, new trends in missile technologies as well as the harmful uses of cyber-instruments and the potential misuse of biotechnologies.

In discussing these four salient areas, the Conference’s main goal is to enable a well-informed international dialogue on policy responses among policy-makers, diplomats, military professionals and scientists.

These will need to take into account already existing regimes as in the case of weapons-related biotechnologies (Biological Weapons Convention), current processes as in the case of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (under the UN Conventional Weapons Convention) as well as the potential need for new dialogue as in the case of novel missile technologies. Furthermore the role of UN-led dialogue processes on cyber-instruments, such as the Group of Government Experts on advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security will also be considered.

Within this framework the Conference aims to contribute to

  • building an improved shared understanding of how new technologies change the nature of future weapons systems and military instruments,
  • creating awareness of the potential risks for our future security and stability,
  • assessing existing frameworks and identifying new policy responses in the fields of arms control and transparency regimes including questions related to compliance with international law.
  • The Conference will be opened with a keynote-address by German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. This will be followed by a high-level panel to assess current arms control challenges in a global context.

Conference participants will be invited to an interactive “Gallery Walk”, panel-discussions as well as to workshops dedicated to each of the four focus areas co-moderated by expert scientists and diplomats. The Conference will close with an overview of the findings and policy-recommendations for an effective future arms control agenda.