Washington, DC - Today, the United States joined 44 nations to issue a Joint Declaration for the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled UAVs.

As a world leader in the development and deployment of military UAVs, the United States seeks to promote efforts to ensure the responsible export and subsequent use of this rapidly expanding technology. In February 2015, the United States announced the U.S. Export Policy for Unmanned Aerial Systems, which put in place stringent conditions on the U.S. sale or transfer of military UAVs. In the 2015 policy, we also stated our intent to “work with other countries to shape international standards for the sale, transfer, and subsequent use of military UAVs.”

This Joint Declaration reflects a logical next step in this process by:

  • Establishing broad international consensus that, as with other weapon systems, the use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs is subject to international law, including both the law of armed conflict and international human rights law, as applicable;
  • Committing to the responsible export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs in line with existing relevant international arms control and disarmament norms, as well as consistent with multilateral export control and nonproliferation regimes;
  • Acknowledging the benefits of transparency on the export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs including reporting of military exports through existing mechanisms, where appropriate; and
  • Pledging continued international dialogue about the export and use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs in light of the rapid development and proliferation of UAV technology, and welcoming additional countries to join the Joint Declaration.

This Joint Declaration will serve as the basis for discussions on a more detailed set of international standards for the export and subsequent use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs, which the United States and its partners will convene in Spring 2017. These discussions will be open to all countries, even if they choose not to join the Joint Declaration.