Science, technology and weaponisation
Innovations and developments in diverse areas of science and technology, from neurotechnology to new materials, and from information technologies to nanotechnologies, have the potential for significant and diverse impacts on human society. The application of novel technologies in the military sphere, including new weapons, means and methods of warfare bears particular risks.
Early consideration of potential military applications of scientific and technological advances is important for building a common understanding of the environmental, ethical, health, legal and security implications of novel technologies or practices of violence, anticipating emerging risks and formulating adequate international responses.
Establishing processes to effectively review advances in science and technology has been a key concern in the field of biological and chemical weapons control for many years. In 2016, the Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) decided to consider how relevant developments in the field of science and technology (S&T) can be addressed within the framework of that treaty (see UN Document CCW/CONF.V/10, Decision 4).
Between August 2017 and May 2019, Article 36 led a research project, funded by Switzerland, designed to promote effective international scrutiny of developments in S&T with implications for the international control of weapons, and recognition of the CCW as an appropriate forum for raising and addressing developments in science and technology relevant to conventional weapons.
In the course of the project, Article 36
- conducted research into specific developments in S&T with potential implications for the multilateral control of weapons and disarmament, and explored more general, project-relevant questions relating to military innovation, science, technology and society, technology ethics, and technology governance
- published policy-relevant resource documents accessible to non-specialist publics that provide technical information and scientifically informed findings.
Download our publications
Envisioning Sustainable Security: The evolving story of Science and Technology in the context of disarmament