In the Crosshairs? Addressing Military Drone Use and Proliferation

United Nations General Assembly 78th First Committee Side Event
18 October 2023
In the Crosshairs? Addressing Military Drone Use and Proliferation

A multitude of different uncrewed (aerial) vehicles or systems (UAV/UAS), also known as drones, are increasingly taking a dominant role in wars and armed conflicts. The demand for military drones is rapidly increasing, and exports are on the rise throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Non-state armed groups are simultaneously boosting their own drone capabilities, often with state-supplied single-use explosive drones, and actively using them in conflict areas that provoke state military responses. The UN Secretary General’s New Agenda for Peace report highlights the perils of the proliferation of drones among both state and non-state actors in the absence of sufficient governance frameworks. The increasing global misuse of drones by terrorist groups has been a particular concern of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee.

This side-event aims to take stock of the recent developments in terms of drone use at various conflict areas to provide participants with the latest analysis of drone warfare, and will have experts share insights on State use, the interest of non-state actors, and address ongoing policy discussions around export controls mechanisms.


Opening remarks:

  • Robert in den Bosch, Disarmament Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Geneva

Moderator: Rachel Stohl, Vice President of the Stimson Center

Panel discussion:

  • Wim Zwijnenburg, Humanitarian Disarmament Project Leader for PAX
  • Paul Holtom, Head of the Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
  • Rob Perkins, Head of Research at Conflict Armament Research (online participation)
  • Anietie Ewang, Researcher in the Africa division at Human Rights Watch (online participation)



Wednesday, 18 October 2023, 13:15-14:45 EDT.

Hybrid event: In-person in Conference Room 8 at UN HQ, New York, and online.  

Please register here to attend the event either in person or to participate online.

Online participants will receive the link several days prior to the event.

For in-person attendees without UN badge, registration is required by Sunday, 15 October.

Requests to make an intervention should be sent to Ms. Christina Parandii ( and Mr. Francesc Teodoro ( no later than 5pm EDT on Monday, 16 October 2023.


Representatives from permanent missions in New York and Geneva, national experts, representatives of United Nations entities, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations interested in this issue.

This event is held in partnership with: