The need of additional conventions prohibiting or limiting the use of certain methods and means of warfare was emphasized in the resolutions of the International Red Cross Conference of 1965 and of the International Conference on Human Rights of 1968 as well as in Resolution 2444 (XXIII) of the United Nations General Assembly of 1968. At the conferences of government experts convened by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1971 and 1972 to prepare the protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions and at the Diplomatic Conference of 1974-1977 the opinion prevailed that an agreement on conventional weapons should be attempted, leaving aside weapons of mass destruction.
Encouraged by the Diplomatic Conference, the ICRC convened two conferences of government experts on the use of certain conventional weapons which met at Lucerne in 1974 and at Lugano in 1976. The Diplomatic Conference, on 9 June 1977, adopted Resolution 22 (IV) which recommended that a conference of governments be convened not later that 1979 with a view to reaching agreements on prohibitions or restrictions of the use of specific conventional weapons.
The U.N. General Assembly endorsed this recommendation and the Conference took place in Geneva from 10 to 28 September 1979 and from 15 September to 10 October 1980. The Convention and the three Protocols annexed to it were adopted by consensus on 10 October 1980 and opened for signature on 10 April 1981.