Keynote address at the SIPRI 2019 Stockholm Security Conference: Conflict and Technology, amazonaws.com

Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

However, we are currently mired in a geostrategic context defined by distrust, the militarization of international relations and a dearth of dialogue. Relations between the socalled “great powers” are eroding as the rules-based international order – including the disarmament and non-proliferation regime – is being challenged.
Other global issues – climate change, mass migration and social unrest – will also continue to affect the nature and conduct of armed conflict.

In this unsettling environment, where brakes on warfare are being removed, the utmost caution should be exercised in the deployment of technological innovations with disruptive ramifications. […]

As the Secretary-General said in February this year: “We need a new vision for arms control in the complex international security environment of today.” Any new vision would need to preserve the indispensable benefits of the existing frameworks but could address many of the issues I have already mentioned. It should encompass all kinds of nuclear weapons and their qualitative developments. It could consider particularly destabilizing categories of weapons such as hypersonic weapons. […]

I believe the UN has to play a central role in bringing together the security and humanitarian discourses in a new vision for arms control and disarmament. And I believe the UN should contribute creative ideas to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges of disruptive technology. The use of technology in warfare in ways that undermines our collective security is not a forgone conclusion. Through dialogue, transparency, negotiation and cooperation, we can build the normative framework that prevents the direst of scenarios from taking place. I look forward to working together to secure our common future. Läs talet