Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) has 66 Member States and is the sole negotiating body for multilateral nuclear disarmament.
38 States (2017 session)
The CD was formed in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum of the international community, after agreement was reached among Member States during the first special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) devoted to disarmament (1978). The CD is the successor to the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (TNDC), Geneva, 1960; the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC), Geneva, 1962-68; and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD), Geneva, 1969-78.
As originally constituted, the CD had 40 members; however, following the unification of Germany and the breakup of former Yugoslavia, only 38 countries participated in the work of the Conference until 1995. On 17 June 1995, the CD unanimously decided to admit 23 additional members.
The CD has a special relationship with the United Nations. It adopts its own rules of procedure and its own agenda, taking into account the recommendations made by the UNGA and the proposals presented by its members, although its secretary is appointed by the UN Secretary-General. It reports to the General Assembly annually or more frequently, as appropriate. The budget of the CD is included in that of the United Nations, the CD meets on UN premises and is serviced by UN personnel. The Conference conducts its work by consensus. The CD has a permanent agenda agreed upon in 1978 at the first special session of the UNGA devoted to disarmament.
The CD and its predecessors have negotiated multilateral arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Environmental Modification and Seabed treaties, the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The CD’s permanent agenda is known as the Decalogue and includes the following issues:
- Nuclear weapons in all aspects
- Other weapons of mass destruction
- Conventional weapons
- Reduction of military budgets
- Reduction of armed forces
- Disarmament and development
- Disarmament and international security
- Collateral measures; confidence building measures; effective verification methods in relation to appropriate disarmament measures, acceptable to all parties
- Comprehensive programme of disarmament leading to general and complete disarmament under effective international control
The tenth issue, as suggested by the nominal title, was a focus on chemical weapons, removed after the CD completed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1992.
Because of the ambitious scope of the permanent agenda, each year a narrower agenda is adopted.
Most recently, in 2013, the agenda of the CD included:
- Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament
- Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters
- Prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS)
- Effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
- New types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons; radiological weapons
- A comprehensive programme of disarmament
- Transparency in armaments
- Consideration and adoption of the annual report and any other report, as appropriate, to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Points of Contact
Mrs. Tatiana Valovaya
Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to the Conference
Secretary of the Conference on Disarmament
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
Palais des Nations, CH-1211Geneva 10, SWITZERLAND
Phone: (41 22) 917 2100
Fax: (41 22) 917 0034
Since the conclusion of the negotiation of the CTBT in August 1996, the CD remains deadlocked. With the exception of 1998 and 2009, it has not been able to reach consensus on a programme of work and thus to commence substantive deliberations. The principal problems included difficulties in the current relations between key players, disagreement among them on the prioritization of main issues on the CD’s agenda, and attempts of some countries to link progress in one area to parallel progress in other areas. The key items under consideration include: a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT), nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and negative security assurances.
2020 First Part
The first part of the 2020 session of the Conference on Disarmament met in Geneva from 20 January to 27 March. The Presidency of the 2020 Conference was as follows: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus. As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the number of plenary meetings was reduced and the platform of meetings varied. During the first session regular plenary meetings were held through 10 March, after which regular sessions were unable to be convened.
On 28 January, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Secretary General of the Conference on Disarmament, Tatiana Valovaya, delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General. This statement noted the uncertainty with which the world approached disarmament negotiations in 2020, noting the recent demise of the Treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the New START treaty. The Secretary-General’s message further called for action to overcome divisions that have contributed to “the paralysis that has crippled” the Conference on Disarmament in recent years.
Argentina assumed the presidency on 17 February.
On 24-26 February, the Conference held its High-Level Segment.
On 3 March, the Conference discussed gender equality and women’s participation in disarmament based on a non-paper presented by the Argentinian presidency. The German Edmundo Proffen, the president of the Conference stressed that the Conference must extend its efforts beyond words to include gender considerations in its work. Subsequent discussion on the issue saw delegates noting the absence of women in international disarmament fora, emphasized that diversity in decision-making may help reinvigorate the substantial contribution of women to the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.
2020 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament began on 25 May under the continuing presidency of Australia.
On 8 June, Austria assumed the presidency.
Beginning 30 June, teleconference systems were provided by the United Nations Secretariat and employed to allow plenary meetings to proceed in a hybrid format with delegates participating in person and remotely.
2020 Third Part
The third session of the Conference on Disarmament was held between 3 August and 18 September under the leadership of Bangladesh and Belarus.
On 18 August, the Report of the Conference on Disarmament to the General Assembly of the United Nations was released. The report noted that use of hybrid and virtual formats for Conference proceedings will not set a precedent for future meetings but rather served as a measure to allow the Conference to continue its work in the pandemic situation.
On 17 September the Australian Delegation submitted a proposal to make the Conference on Disarmament Rules of Procedure gender neutral.
2019 First Part
The first session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 21 January in Geneva, Switzerland. The presidency of the 2019 Conference was as follows: Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and Zimbabwe. The presidency of the first part of the Conference for 2019 was the Ukraine. At the Conference’s opening, Director General Michael Moller expressed the importance of multilateral diplomacy with respect to nuclear disarmament. He stressed that emerging technologies and weapons systems required current arms control measures to be modernized.
On 18 February, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 25 February, the Conference on Disarmament held its high-level segment. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, warned in his speech that arms control initiatives, especially those related to nuclear and chemical weapons, were collapsing. He emphasized the importance of preserving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the importance of extending the New START Treaty between the U.S. and Russia.
On 18 March, the United States assumed presidency of the Conference.
Records of the first part of the 2019 Conference meetings are under preparation and will be published on the UN Conference on Disarmament page when they become available.
2019 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 13 May, under the continuing presidency of the United States. On 24 May, the representative of the Republic of Belarus circulated an earlier joint statement by Member States and Observers to the Conference, reiterating their support for the Conference as the single multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament, cautioning against politicizing the institution of the Presidency of the Conference, and urging States to “redouble efforts to overcome its stagnation” in the interest of producing substantive work.
On 27 May the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela assumed presidency of the Conference.
Representatives from the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement on 11 June recognizing recent international security challenges and criticizing the actions of some States, acting in their own security or commercial interests, in dismantling the existing arms control regime: specifically, the United States’ withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The statement also emphasized the importance of cooperation between nuclear States within and beyond the context of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
On 24 June, Viet Nam assumed presidency of the Conference.
2019 Third Part
On 29 July, the third and final session of the Conference on Disarmament opened under Viet Nam’s continued presidency.
On 19 August, the presidency was assumed by Zimbabwe until the conclusion of the Conference. The General Assembly’s report on the Conference was released on 13 September.
2018 First Part
The first session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 23 January in Geneva, Switzerland. The presidency of the 2018 Conference was as follows: Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, and Turkey. The presidency for the first part of the Conference for 2018 was Sri Lanka. The Conference opened with a statement from the Ambassador of Sri Lanka, H.E. Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, in which he noted that despite international commitment toward disarmament, multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives must continue to be implemented in order to ensure a safer world. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, supported this statement and expressed that despite advances in inter-Korean talks regarding denuclearization, the overall disarmament agenda needed to be modernized and strengthened.
On 16 February, participants in the Conference supported the adoption of CD/2119, which would appoint a coordinator to each of the five subsidiary bodies under the guidance of the President. Each subsidiary body concentrated on specific goals the Conference hoped to achieve. The goals included: nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, prevention of an arms race in outer space, international agreements to protect non-nuclear weapons states, and managing emerging weapons of mass destruction.
On 19 February, Sweden assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 26 February, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, informed the Conference that disarmament, arms control, and reductions in military spending were among his top priorities for the 2018 agenda.
On 19 March, Switzerland assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 27 March, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha of Sri Lanka delivered his farewell statement to the Conference. He welcomed the new states assuming presidency, and expressed appreciation for the contribution the Sri Lankan delegation was able to accomplish with respect to CD/2119.
2018 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 15 May in Geneva, Switzerland.
On 28 May, the Syrian Arab Republic assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 29 May, the Conference on Disarmament held a plenary meeting in which delegates from Pakistan and Canada provided statements. The representative of the Pakistan delegation, Counsellor Usman Jadoon, congratulated the Ambassador of Switzerland and the outgoing CD president on successfully establishing the subsidiary bodies. Pakistan expressed hope for productive cooperation between the upcoming six presidents of the CD, and warned delegates not to let differences in political opinion taint their relationship with future state’s assuming presidency. In contrast to this statement, Canada expressed condemnation of Syria’s upcoming presidency in light of continued Syrian chemical weapons use.
On 5 June, Pakistan provided a statement expressing disapproval of the two of the five coordinators of the subsidiary bodies who refused to accept the President of the Conference’s invitation.
On 12 June, both Pakistan and Venezuela provided statements at the CD plenary meeting. Venezuela delivered a general statement on behalf of the Group of 21 (G-21) which stressed nuclear disarmament as the Conference’s main priority. The G-21 confirmed its commitment to the working papers in document CD/2099, a document that lists the actions member states of the G-21 will implement to help accommodate the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Pakistan spoke on behalf of the member states of the G-21 regarding negative security assurances. In the statement, Pakistan emphasized the importance of protecting non-nuclear weapon States from the threat of nuclear-weapons states (NWS).
On 19 June, Canada expressed its concern for the future of the Convention on Disarmament and the reputation of the CD in light of Syria’s assumption of the presidency.
On 25 June, Tunisia assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 26 June, Austria and Sri Lanka delivered statements. Austria announced its commitment to help the CD in creating effective multilateral disarmament treaties. Sri Lanka urged the presidency to discuss and review the UN Secretary General’s disarmament agenda.
2018 Third Part
On 7 August, the Conference on Disarmament held the first public plenaries of the final part of the 2018 session. The plenaries began with an introductory remark by Mr. Michael Moller, the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. He reiterated the three priorities on the Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, which include: “disarmament to save humanity, disarmament that saves lives, and disarmament for future generations.” Austria gave a statement on behalf of the European Union affirming the necessity of disarmament and the importance of multilateralism.
On 14 August, the Conference held a plenary meeting to discuss the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament. In a statement, the Netherlands stressed the importance of a ban on fissile materials. The statement also expressed concern for international norms in cybersecurity and proposed that the Conference begin forming responsibilities with respect to cyberspace.
On 20 August, Turkey assumed presidency of the Conference.
On 14 September, the Conference on Disarmament concluded its final session for 2018.
2017 First Part
The first session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 23 January in Geneva, Switzerland. The presidency of the CD in 2017 is: Romania, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, and Spain. At the opening plenary on 24 January, Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated his resolve to abolish all weapons of mass destruction, and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo spoke of 2017 as a critical year for disarmament progress.
At the first meeting the CD agreed to allow the following non-member states to participate as observers: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Holy See, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
On 31 January, the CD held its second public plenary to discuss moving forward on a programme of work. It also approved requests by Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal, and the Republic of Moldova to participate as observers.
On 7 February, the President of the Conference put forth a draft proposal on establishing a working group on the “way ahead.” Delegations debated the issue of Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch and approved the requests of Armenia and Saudi Arabia to participate in the CD as non-member observer states.
On 14 February, the CD held a plenary meeting where many delegations condemned the DPRK’s 12 February ballistic missile launch. The DPRK responded that it was developing self-defense capabilities to protect itself from hostile countries.
On 17 February, the CD adopted draft decision CD/WP.599/Rev.1 to establish a working group on the way ahead. Mexico and Egypt expressed concerns that the proposal would not break the stalemate in the CD, however the majority of members supported it.
On 21 February, the Russian Federation assumed the presidency of the CD. Ambassador Alexey Borodavkin thanked delegations for their condolences on the death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. Borodavkin stated that Russia intended to prioritize developing a balanced programme of work during its presidency.
From 27 February to March 1 the CD held its high-level segment. Participants discussed the upcoming nuclear ban treaty negotiations, the benefits of multilateralism, eliminated weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, the Arms Trade Treaty, and breaking the stalemate in the CD.
On 7 March, the CD met to discuss a draft proposed programme of work. and the DPRK’s latest ballistic missile launch. Many delegates called on the DPRK to cease its provocative actions.
On March 14, the CD held a public plenary. The President of the Conference, Alexey Borodavkin, informed participants that there was progress on a draft programme of work and that there was a greater possibility of consensus.
On 17 March, the CD held its last public plenary under the Presidency of the Russian Federation. President Alexey Borodavkin was regretful that the CD was unable to reach consensus on a draft programme of work under his supervision.
On 21 March, the CD held its first public plenary under the Presidency of Senegal. Senegal called for frank and open dialogue among participants and promised to find an innovative way to break the CD impasse.
On 28 March, the CD gathered to hear presentations by the Russian Federation and China on the United States’ anti-ballistic missile systems. Both Russia and China accused the United States of trying to achieve strategic supremacy and undermining their security. The United States called the presentations “pure science fiction.” States also made statements condemning the most recent DPRK ballistic missile launch.
2017 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 16 May in Geneva, Switzerland. The opening of the second session was largely dominated by widespread condemnation of the missile launch carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 14 May. The United States reiterated that it would not recognize the DPRK as a nuclear weapon State, while stressing its commitment to the defense of its allies. China called on all involved parties involved in the crisis on the Korean peninsula to proceed with restraint. The DPRK rejected all accusations as groundless, and claimed that all its military measures were in self-defense.
On 6 June, the Conference on Disarmament met to discuss resolution 2356, adopted by the UN Security Council on 2 June, which extends the number of individuals and entities targets by sanctions first imposed under resolution 1718 of 2006. The United States welcomed the adoption of the resolution, and expressed hope that Pyongyang would heed the unanimous passage of the resolution and halt its provocative behavior. China stated that it was against the launch activities carried out by the DPRK and again urged all parties to exercise restraint. The DPRK strongly rejected the resolution, which they claim was a clear manifestation of an international double standard regarding the right to self-defense.
On 8 June, the Conference on Disarmament met to adopt a timetable for the work of the Working Group on the Way Ahead. The meeting included statements by various delegations concerning ways to overcome the impasse at the CD.
On 13 June, the Conference on Disarmament met to discuss the 8 June missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and sources of tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The Republic of Korea first took to the floor to urge the DPRK to cease all hostilities and provocations. The Republic of Korea also reaffirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through sanctions and dialogue. The DPRK blamed the rise in tension on the US and its allies, citing large military exercises that involved nuclear weapons. In response, the US reaffirmed its position that the regime in Pyongyang was the course of tensions, and that the only US goal for the region is denuclearization.
2017 Third Part
On August 22, the Conference on Disarmament held the first public plenaries of the third and last part of its 2017 session. Many States outlined their national positions on disarmament issues during the two public plenaries held. Other issues emphasized were the latest ballistic missile tests carried out by the DPRK and the draft annual report of the Conference on its 2017 session,
On 30 August, the Conference on Disarmament heard presentations given by military experts from the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States on the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and their threat to international peace and security. During the meeting, many States also strongly condemned the latest missile launches.
On 5 September, Ahmed Uzumco, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who spoke on the twentieth anniversary of the CWC, briefed the Conference on Disarmament. The Conference also heard widespread condemnation of the 3 September nuclear test carried out by the DPRK.
On 15 September, the Conference on Disarmament concluded its final session for 2017.
2016 First Part
The first session of the Conference on Disarmament opened 26 January 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. The presidency for the Conference for 2016 was as follows: Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, and the Republic of Korea. The first session began with a message from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and a statement condemning the recent nuclear test by the DPRK. The president of the Conference, Peters Emuze of Nigeria, highlighted the joint responsibility of the Conference members to make progress in their work.
During the first meeting on 26 January, the Conference agreed upon a request that a number of non-member states participate as observers submitted. The countries are Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Jordan, Holy See, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Malta, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sudan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and United Arab Emirates.
On 2 February, The Conference heard statements from a number of delegations concerning a path toward adopting a programme of work.
On 9 February, The Conference met to discuss the recent missile launch by the DPRK. Many countries condemned the action and voiced concerns at its implications to international security. The DPRK responded with condemnation of the double standard of those countries that would infringe on their sovereign right to use space for peaceful purposes.
On 16 February, The Conference discussed the draft programme of work proposed by the Conference president. The general reaction by many states was that they would support consensus but that they believed the draft contained language that was too ambiguous.
On 19 February, the first session of the Conference ended without the adoption of a programme of work. The President expressed his hope that the next President of the Conference, Norway, will find a way to reach an agreement on the program of work.
On 23 February, Ambassador Steffen Kongstad of Norway assumed the Presidency of the Conference. Additionally, the Conference discussed a proposal from the United Kingdom on the creation of a working group and an associated programme of work. The working group and programme of work would identify, elaborate and make recommendations on effective disarmament measures.
From 29 February to 2 March, high-level segments took place. Participants discussed the DPRK’s nuclear test, the immediate start of negotiations on an FMCT, and other relevant disarmament measures.
On 8 March, the Conference held a public plenary session where it discussed proposed draft programmes of work and the adoption of Security Council resolution 2270 against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
On 14 March, the Kingdom of Bahrain joined the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocols III, IV, and V.
On 15 March, The Conference discussed draft programmes of work submitted by the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and the Russian Federation. The Conference also heard statements made by Algeria, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.
On 17 March, the Conference held its last meeting under the presidency of Norway. Despite attempts, the President was unable to find a way to break the deadlock of the Conference.
On 22 March, the Conference held its first meeting under the presidency of Pakistan.
On 29 March, representatives from the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, the United States, Italy, and Pakistan as President made statements. Topics discussed included the Russian Federation’s draft international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical terrorism and draft programmes of work.
2016 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 17 May 2016. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization spoke on the importance of making a nuclear test ban a legal reality. The president of the Conference, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua of Pakistan stated that there had been no concrete work on the adoption of a programme of work as of yet.
On 24 May, the Conference discussed the Russian Federation’s proposal on a convention on chemical and biological terrorism. It also continued to discuss the need to adopt a programme of work.
On 31 May, Ambassador Luis Enrique Chavez Basagoitia of Peru gave a statement to the Conference as the incoming president. He said he would hold informal consultations to try to break the gridlock facing the Conference.
On 7 June, the president of the Conference announced that no meaningful progress had been made in the informal consultations on proposals for a programme of work.
On 10 June, Montenegro joined CCW Protocol V, and on 13 June, Cote d’Ivoire joined the CCW and its protocols I, II, III, and V.
On 14 June, the Conference held discussions on the first four items on its agenda. It discussed the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; and negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapons states.
On 16 June, the Conference discussed the following agenda items: new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons, comprehensive programme of disarmament; and transparency in armaments.
On 28 June, the Conference held its first meeting under the Presidency of Poland and heard a statement by Kim Won-soo, Under Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. He noted that it was imperative that States agree to a programme of work; otherwise, there would be increasing demands for an alternative forum.
On 30 June, the Conference failed to adopt a draft programme of work put forth by the Polish Presidency. The Russian Federation blocked consensus on the proposal.
2016 Third Part
The third session of the Conference on Disarmament opened on 2 August 2016.
On 4 August, the Conference held a public plenary session where the Russian Federation spoke on its draft Convention for the Suppression of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. The Conference also heard statements by Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, the United States, India, Belarus, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Australia.
On 16 August, the Conference continued discussion on the Russian Federation’s draft Convention for the Suppression of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. The outgoing President of the Conference regretted that not enough progress had been made on adopting a programme of work during the 2016 session.
On 23 August, Ambassador Kim In-chul of the Republic of Korea took over as President of the Conference. The Conference discussed finalizing its annual report to the General Assembly.
On 30 August, the Conference held a public plenary, in which it discussed, and condemned, the 24 August submarine-launched missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
On 13 September, the Conference held its last public plenary. The topic of discussion was the 9 September nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
On 16 September, the Conference closed its 2016 session. The Conference discussed several draft programmes of work throughout the session, but all failed to gain consensus. The Conference was able to hold informal discussions on all seven items on the agenda.
2015 First Part
The first part of the Conference on Disarmament was held from 19 January 2015 to 27 March 2015. The presidency for the Conference for the 2015 is as follows: Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand. The Conference opened with a statement from the CD President Ambassador Lomónaco of Mexico, in which he noted that despite the fact that 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are still about 16,000 nuclear weapons in the World.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also made a statement to the members of the CD at the opening session. In the statement, the Secretary General underlined how increasing tension and instability around the world have severely diminished the prospects for new arms control measures, and are jeopardizing existing arrangements. Therefore, according to the Secretary General, now more than ever the international community cannot afford a Conference on Disarmament that does not help move towards the goal of a safer world.
Following the statement of the SG, the acting Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, Mr. Michael Møller of Latvia on behalf of the EU, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the United States of America, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Morocco, Belarus, Argentina, Turkey, France and Algeria made statements before the Conference. Generally, almost all of the states that made a statement expressed their disappointment at the deadlock in the CD and emphasized their willingness to start a Program of Work.
From 27 January to 26 February, states gave their opening statements in plenary session. Many statements called for the CD to fulfill its mandate and approve a program of work as soon as possible.
On 4 February, the CD President submitted a draft report on civil society participation at the conference. Then, on 10 February, the President presented a revised version and modified the report after considering States Parties’ questions of clarification.
On 11 February, States Parties and civil society participants discussed the issue of membership expansion. South Africa delivered a statement, suggesting that the conference appoint a Special Coordinator on this issue.
On 17 February, Ambassador Vaanchig Purevdorj of Mongolia took the presidency.
On 24 February, the CD addressed the issue of nuclear disarmament. United Kingdom delivered a joint statement on behalf of the P-5 countries. Pakistan, Japan, France, India, South Africa, Russia, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Algeria, United States, Iraq, Netherlands, and Algeria also spoke at the meeting. States reiterated their previously held views.
On 26 February 2015, the CD addressed the FM(C)T. The UK, Pakistan, Japan, South Africa, Korea, France, the US, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Turkey, China, Argentina, India, Algeria, and Russia participated in the discussion. States reiterated previously held positions.
From 2 March to 9 March, high-level segments of the Conference took place. Participants discussed nuclear disarmament, regional issues, and other relevant issues.
On 19 March, the CD held the Informal Civil Society Forum. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement addressing the important role of civil society in disarmament. Currently, there are five panels focusing on nuclear disarmament: a treaty banning the production of fissile material, negative security assurances, prevention of an arms race in outer space, and the way forward respectively.
2015 Second Part
The second session of the Conference on Disarmament was held from 25 May to 10 July. As the Conference began its second part of the 2015 session, Acting Secretary-General Michael Møller delivered a statement. He emphasized that the outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference should not impede the progress of the Conference on Disarmament. He called on all States Parties to make efforts towards multilateral disarmament. Ambassador Mohamed Auajjar of Morocco, President of the Conference, expressed his disappointment regarding the outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. He expressed the intention to “resubmit the same agreed text adopted last year on the schedule of activities and on the informal working group (IWG) on the program of work” and “allow observer States to participate in the work of the group.”
On 1 June, Canada submitted a working paper, CD/2024, on “Considering verification implications of fissile material definitions and of fissile material categories for a future FMCT.”
On 5 June, the Conference adopted two draft decisions on the schedule of activities and the re-establishment of an IWG on the program of work. Marco Kalbusch succeeded as the new Secretary of the Conference. France indicated that the adoption of the report (CD/2023) of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) that contains the recommendations on possible aspects that could contribute but not negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons(FMCT), in April, was a noteworthy progress which had influenced the deposited FMCT French draft . Also speaking at the Conference were representatives of Iran, Mexico, Algeria, Switzerland, Malaysia, United States, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Canada, Iraq, and the United Kingdom.
On 9 June, the Conference held a plenary under the Presidency of Myanmar and heard statements from Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, and Finland. Pakistan expressed oppositions towards the FMCT draft treaty with regard to the issues of scope, definitions, verification, and entry into force.
On 23 June, the Conference addressed the report of the GGE on a FMCT. Most countries speaking at the Conference expressed support to the draft treaty, except for Pakistan and India. The two countries argued that the draft treaty has no value in disarmament with no inclusion of past production.
On 7 July, Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-soo, delivered a statement at the Conference, urging all States Parties “to demonstrate flexibility, to devise innovative solutions and, above all, to rebuild the trust necessary to move forward.”
On 8 July, the President of the Conference, Ambassador Henk Cor Van Der Kwast of the Netherlands, submitted his draft decision (CD/WP.589). However, the draft decision was not adopted due to lack of consensus.
2015 Third Part
The third session of the Conference on Disarmament was held from 3 August to 18 September.
On 4 August, the Conference on Disarmament held the first plenary of the third session. The President of the Conference, Ambassador Van Der Kwast of the Netherlands, briefed the Conference on the prospective agenda plans during his presidency. Japan delivered a statement on the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and reiterated its commitment and efforts towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
On 11 August, the Conference agreed on Kyrgyzstan’s request to participate in the 2015 session as an observer. Ambassador Païvi Kairamo of Finland, Co-Chair of the IWG on the Program of Work, submitted her final report on the work of the IWG to the Conference. Other countries, including India, United States, China, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Belarus, New Zealand, France and the United Kingdom, delivered statements.
On 13 August, Indonesia submitted three working papers, CD/2030, CD/2031 and CD/2032, on behalf of the G-21 on the methods of work of the Conference and its revitalization, on PAROS and on the follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the GA on nuclear disarmament, respectively.
On 17 August, the Conference adopted the final report, CD/2033, of the IWG with the mandate to produce a Program of Work robust in substance and progressive over time in implementation. Iran, Austria, India and Mexico made statements and commended the final report.
On 21 August, Indonesia delivered a statement on behalf of the G-21. Indonesia reiterated the Group’s concern on the lack of progress towards nuclear disarmament. The Conference also heard the Netherlands’ closing remarks for its Presidency.
On 23 August, Latvia, through the Presidency, introduced a working paper, CD/2034, on the issue of enlargement. The President of the Conference, Ambassador Van Der Kwast, submitted a letter to the Conference, CD/2035, on the suggestions of possible way forward for the Conference. Pakistan also submitted a working paper, CD/2036, on the elements of a Fissile Material Treaty (FMT).
On 25 August, the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan delivered their statements to the Conference. Russia discussed its desire for further discussion of security in outer space, while Pakistan proposed further discussion on their proposal for a FMT and its inclusion in the final report.
On 8 September, China issued a statement at the Conference on the Anniversary of the War with Japan and pledged to reduce the number of armed troops in its military. The Ambassador from Pakistan gave his farewell speech in which he disagreed with those who believed that changing the procedures could fix the deadlock.
On 14 September, China and Russia transmitted a letter, CD/2042, with their comments towards US analysis on the updated changes made by Russia and China concerning their draft treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in outer space, and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects (PPWT).
On 18 September, the Conference concluded its 2015 session with the adoption of the annual report, CD/2046. Most states expressed their gratitude for the effort in the drafting of the report, while many others expressed their disappointment in the lack of adoption of a programme of work.
2014 First Part
On 21 January, the Conference adopted its agenda for the 2014 session. The presidency for the Conference this year is as follows: Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Malaysia. The Conference opened with a statement from the CD President Ambassador Manor of Israel, in which he noted that the CD is now in its 17th year of stalemate and there is growing armed violence in various parts of the world.
The Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki- Moon also made a statement to the members of the CD at the opening session. In the statement, the Secretary General made it clear that the CD must resume its programme of work. While the SG commended the group for its constructive spirit, he emphasized that it was important for them to develop treaty frameworks and proposals through structured discussions. Finally he appointed Mr. Michael Møller as the Acting Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and his personal Representative to the Conference.
From 28 January-25 February, states gave their opening statements in plenary session. Many statements called for the CD to fulfill its mandate and approve a programme of work as soon as possible.
On 25 February, the CD President announced that informal consultations the previous day had led to agreement on the renewal of the Informal Working Group (IWG) mandate, and Brazil, Iraq, and Algeria delivered statements.
On 3 March, the CD adopted draft decision CD/WP.579 to re-establish the Informal Working Group. In response to this adoption, the Mexican delegation cautioned about the CD becoming an end in itself, and the Indian representative emphasized that the IWG’s work does not reduce the CD’s responsibility to agree on a programme of work.
Also on 3 March, the President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe, addressed the CD. Calling on states “to focus on the bigger picture, to overcome differences and to live up to responsibilities,” Mr. Ashe lamented that the last notable achievement of the CD was the CTBT, negotiated 20 years ago. Many state representatives then took the floor to add their disappointment at the stagnation of the CD, although several pointed to the recent success of adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty to highlight progress outside of the Conference. States argued for continuing emphasis on the NPT and the implementation of the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan. The President of the General Assembly pointed to the conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weaponry in Oslo and Nayarit, and expressed his hope that these conferences might stimulate forward movement on international disarmament efforts.
On 11 March, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) presented to the CD, commending the recently adopted ATT’s inclusion of a link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade. The Algerian Ambassador described preparations for the Third Review Conference on the Mine Ban Treaty, scheduled for 23-27 June in Maputo, Mozambique.
On 19 March, Japan’s Toshio Sano assumed the CD presidency. Asking the Group of 21 and Western Group to nominate coordinators for the Schedule of Activities, the new president declared his intention to pursue the “dual track approach” by coming to agreement on a Schedule of Activities and continuing the IWG’s efforts on the programme of work.
On 26 March, the CD met to adopt a schedule of activities for the remainder of the 2014 session, basing the schedule on the draft decision contained in CD/WP.580, which contains a series of open-ended, informal meetings arranged by five regional coordinators. The Group of 21 presented a statement on UNGA Resolution 68/32, which emphasizes the urgency of beginning negotiations on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons within the CD, convenes a follow up High-Level Meeting after the one held on 26 September 2013, and requests the UN Secretary General to determine the perspectives of member states on the eradication of nuclear weaponry. Greece’s Andras Kos presented on the EU’s progress in ratifying the ATT, pointing to the fact that 15 member states will have ratified the treaty by next week, with more to follow. Ambassador van der Kwast of the Netherlands delivered a report on the Nuclear Security Summit held in March in The Hague.
2014 Second Part
On 13 May, the CD held a plenary session in which Costa Rica was approved as an observer for the 2014 works of the Conference, the co-chairs of the IWG spread ideas for a programme of work, the Ambassador of Algeria requested the presence of civil society in the informal discussions, and Kyrgyzstan’s Ambassador highlighted the signing of the additional protocol to the CANWFZ by all NPT nuclear weapon states. Pointing to this as the first time these states contemporaneously agreed to sign negative assurances, she noted that more efforts were necessary for the ratification process in order to achieve it before the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
On 20 May, the CD held a plenary session to hear reports from the groups of government experts (GGE) on (1) transparency and confidence building measures in outerspace activities; and (2) aspects that could contribute to but not negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material (FMCT) for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The CD also heard reports from the informal expert meetings on lethal autonomous weapon systems and from the Open-Ended Working Group (OWEG).
Also on 20 May, Mr. Michael Møller, acting Secretary General of the CD, gave suggestions on states’ identification of their common ground issues. He recommended the establishment of a subsidiary body on the working methods of the CD or reviewing the working methods during scheduled plenary meetings. He urged the support of the role and coordination of the P6, and suggested that he host an informal CD Civil Society Forum. The CD member states decided not to allow civil society to participate in the informal meetings occurring during the remainder of the week.
On 3 June, the CD met to discuss the proposals of Acting Secretary General of the Conference, Mr. Michael Møller. The proposals were generally welcomed by many states, and India recommended an informal plenary to develop them more concretely.
On 10 June, the CD met to discuss Russia and China’s most recent draft of the proposed Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space. Frank Rose, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, noted that despite the amendments and omissions in the new draft, the document still “does not address the significant flaws” from the previous version, such as an effective verification regime or measures to address land-based anti-satellite systems.
2014 Third Part
On 31 July, the CD opened its third and final session of the year with updates from President Ambassador Anthony Andanje of Kenya on the progress of his consultations with delegations and the Informal Working Group. The DPRK, representing the Group of 21, gave a statement on nuclear disarmament and the CD’s lack of progress.
On 5 August, the CD met to cancel the remaining informal sessions of coordinators. The DPRK, again on behalf of the Group of 21, emphasized the need to continue the CD’s work with increased transparency and communication, and expressed its support of the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space. The Russian delegation requested reports from the coordinators since no further sessions were taking place.
On 12 August, the CD met for a plenary meeting, with CD President Ambassador Andanje of Kenya taking leadership for the last time. The Russian delegation announced that a joint declaration between Cuba and Russia concerning no-first-strike policies in outer space will be submitted to the first committee of the UN General Assembly for consideration. Cuba, Belarus, and Pakistan will be co-sponsors of the resolution.
The first part of the Conference session took place from 22 January to 26 March.
2013 First Part
On 22 January, the Conference adopted its agenda for the 2013 session at the 1273rd plenary meeting.
On 11 February, the President of the Conference submitted a draft programme of work for the 2013 session.
On 12-27 February, states gave opening statements. Many of these condemned the nuclear test of the DPRK.
On 5 March, states had a discussion on general nuclear disarmament.
On 12 March, states had a discussion on the concept of a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT).
On 19 March, states held a discussion on outer space security, and heard from the Chairperson of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on transparency and confidence building measures in outer space activities.
On 26 March, states discussed negative security assurances, as well as WMD- and nuclear-weapon-free zones.
2013 Second Part
On 13 May, the CD convened for the second part of its 2013 session with a plenary on new types of weapons of mass destruction and a global disarmament program.
On 21 May, the CD cancelled a plenary session scheduled to address transparency in disarmament.
On 24 May, the CD President, Ambassador Triyono Wibowo of Indonesia, announced that consensus could not be reached yet on the draft program of work.
On 11 June, the CD held a plenary session in which it considered a program of work.
On 18 June, the CD met in a public plenary meeting. Furthermore, the Secretary-General of the CD made a statement proposing three ideas to start work in the CD. These are: establishment of an informal working group, establishment of a subsidiary body in accordance with article 23 of the Rules of Procedure to examine and make proposals on the improvement of the working methods of the Conference, and designation of a special coordinator to examine and make proposals on expansion of the membership of the Conference and on the possible role that civil society may play in its work.
On 21 June, the CD met and heard statements. Outgoing President Mohsen Naziri Asl of Iran stated that Iran’s main focus had been reaching an agreement on a program of work and that the most feasible approach was to simplify the program of work.
On 25 June, the CD met for a public plenary session, the first of the presidency of Iraq. The meeting heard interventions from Mr. Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq; Ms. Anita Friedt, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy; Ms. Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs of the United States of America; and Ambassador Hellmut Hoffmann of Germany.
On 28 June, the second part of the CD closed.
2013 Third Part
On 30 July, the CD convened for the third part of its 2013 session. The CD President, Ambassador Mohammad Sabir Ismail of Iraq, announced that he would be dedicating discussions to the proposal by the CD Secretary-General, Mr. Kassim Jomart-Tokayev, to establish a working group to decide on a CD programme of work.
The third session of the CD was held from 29 July – 13 September.
On 30 July, the CD opened its third session with several delegations declaring their support for the suggestions that the Director-General Tokayev made at the end of the second part of the CD.
On 6 August, the Japanese delegation gave a statement to the Conference on Disarmament on the commemoration of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He mentioned that Japan will host a ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) in April 2014 in Hiroshima.
On 12 August, the CD members met once more to discuss the programme of work proposed by the CD President, Ambassador Sabir Ismail of Iraq. The new draft reintroduced the Shannon Mandate in the description of a working group that would develop proposals on fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. However, the new draft was not put up for adoption and did not have consensus. The President did include the draft as an official document of the CD for future reference. During this discussion, many delegations expressed their disappointment at yet another failure of the CD to come up with a Programme of Work, marking the 17th year of stalemate in the CD.
On 16 August, the CD members met and adopted a draft decision to set up an informal working group (IWG) with a mandate to produce a programme of work. The informal working group will meet during the intersession of the CD between 2013 and 2014. The group established Ambassador Gallegos of Ecuador as the Co-chair of the (IWG) and Ambassador Wolcott of Australia as the Vice Co-chair.
On 20 August, the CD president circulated an informal paper with ideas about revitalizing the CD. Many members discussed the issue of consensus rule. While some delegates suggested changing the rule, other members were clearly opposed to any attempts to reinterpret the consensus rule.
On 27 August, the CD met to discuss the first draft of the CD’s annual report to the General Assembly.
On 2 September, the IWG met for its second meeting. The Co-Chair circulated a food for thought paper with several questions on states’ positions on the programme of work of the CD. One of the questions addressed the possibility of a simplified programme of work for the CD. The importance of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly that was to take place on 26 September 2013 was also stressed.
On 2 September, Bangladesh made a statement on behalf of the Group of 21 on negative security assurances. The Group emphasized the need to reach an agreement on a universal, unconditional and legally-binding instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
On 10 September, the Secretary-General of the CD, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, gave a statement to the CD in which he encouraged the Co-chair and the Vice Co-chair to continue their work after the First Committee session and continue to have consultations with members and observers of the CD.
On 12 September, the CD met for the final plenary meeting of the 2013 session and adopted the 2013 annual report. This annual report includes an overview of the 2013 session with references on what took place during the first two sessions. It also includes the three proposals for a programme of work, CD/1948, CD/1952, and CD/1955.
The CD president, Ambassador Corr of Ireland, reported on the CD’s 2013 activities at the 68th United Nations General Assembly First Committee on 21 October 2013.
The next CD plenary session will take place in January 2014.
The first part of the Conference session took place from 23 January to 30 March; the second part took place from 14 May to 29 June, and the third part took place from 30 July to 14 September. The presidency of the Conference will rotate between Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France and Germany.
2012 First Part
On 24 January, the Office of the UN Security General issued a statement at the first 2012 plenary session of the Conference, warning that the “future of the Conference is in the hands of its member states,” and that “the tide of disarmament is rising, yet the Conference on Disarmament is in danger of sinking.” While encouraging a resumption of work, the Office of the UN Secretary General noted that the General Assembly is “ready to consider other options” beyond the CD.
On 3 April, the Disarmament Commission began, and promptly adjourned, its latest session. The quick adjournment was due to a long-standing disagreement concerning the meeting’s agenda.
On 5 April, the Disarmament Commission announced it had broken its deadlock and reached an agreement on an agenda. The agenda for the three-year work cycle will contain two items, instead of the usual three. The two items are “Recommendations for achieving the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons” and “Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons.” One working group will be devoted to each item.
On 20 April, the Disarmament Commission concluded the first part of the 2012 session of the Conference on Disarmament, and delegates adopted reports of the two working groups noted above.
2012 Second Part
n 15 May, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly, addressed the Conference on Disarmament at the beginning of the second part of the 2012 session and expressed his concern over the lack of progress, noting that “the future of the Conference was in the hands of its Member States”. He reminded the Conference that they had already adopted a program of work by consensus in 2009 (CD/1864) and suggested that they use this as a starting point to develop a 2012 program of work.
On 22 May, the Conference on Disarmament approved a draft schedule of activities submitted by the President and held a thematic discussion on the cessation of the nuclear arms race and more broadly, on nuclear disarmament.
On 31 May Ambassador Kari Kahiluoto of Finland, the incoming President of the Conference, announced that as the Conference was more than halfway through the year’s session and they had not yet adopted a program of work, he would attempt to direct substantive debate on the schedule of activities.
On 5 June, the Conference held a thematic discussion on the prevention of an arms race in space. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research prepared a background note for the discussion. Russia and China noted the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, which they had presented on 12 February 2008 (CD/1839). Participants highlighted the importance of dealing with space debris and of preserving space for civilian use.
On 12 June, the Conference held a thematic discussion on assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states. Most delegates agreed that the only total guarantee was the elimination of nuclear weapons but that, pending elimination, non-nuclear-weapon states had a right to legally binding negative security assurances. States also highlighted the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs), including the need for a NWFZ in the Middle East.
On 14 June, the CD discussed methods of revitalization from its current deadlock. The misuse of the consensus rule was cited as a major contributor to the current deadlock, as was the limited membership of the CD.
2012 Third Part
On 30 July, the P5 issued a joint statement to the CD on implementing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The statement discussed the 27-29 June meeting of the P5 to review progress towards fulfilling the commitments made at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
On 13 September, the CD issued its Annual Report to the UNGA. Substantive discussions occurred on the topics of the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the threat or use of nuclear weapons, radiological weapons, a comprehensive programme of disarmament, and transparency in armaments, among others. However, significant deadlock remained within the Conference, which many states complained was not adequately reflected in the report of the Conference. One diplomat went as far to warn that the Conference had lost it raison d’être and that it would become increasingly difficult to escape the reality of the current situation. Several others questioned whether the Conference deserved the resources devoted to it, and remarked that the pressing issues of disarmament could not wait any longer.
The first part of the Conference session took place from 24 January to 1 April; the second part took place from 16 May to 1 July, and the third part took place from 2 August to 16 September. The rotating presidency of the Conference will be held by Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
On 11 March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment of the new Secretary-General of the CD and Director General of the UN Office in Geneva. The new Secretary-General of the CD is Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Senate of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
2011 First Part
Ambassador Marius Grinius of Canada served as the first president of the year.
On 25 January, the first CD meeting of the year adopted an agenda, but continuing disagreements over the inclusion of negotiations of an FMCT prevented the adoption of a program of work. The CD President subsequently proposed a series of substantive thematic discussions.
On 26 January, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon delivered an address to the CD, warning the CD that continued inaction would threaten the body’s credibility, and encouraged states to progress on the negotiations of an FMCT.
From 3 to 15 February, work focused on thematic debates about the first four CD agenda items. Delegates discussed definitions for an FMCT, the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and negative security assurances
As thematic debates concluded on 15 February, delegations focused on substantive discussions in three side events organized by Australia and Japan, which continued on 17 February. The Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, observed that though no definitive answers were reached, the sessions “allowed us to delve into the issues in greater depth.”
On 22 February, Ambassador Pedro Oyarce of Chile oversaw the first plenary under the Chilean presidency and provided an indicative agenda based on discussions of the four core issues. Debate focused on establishing a simplified program of work.
On 24 February the CD discussed cessation of a nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, as non-nuclear weapons states called for more progress toward total disarmament and nuclear weapons states highlighted recent disarmament efforts, particularly the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan and the ratification of New START.
On 28 February and 1 March, the CD heard high-level statements from a number of member states. U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the U.S. would pursue other options on FMCT should the CD remain blocked, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed concern that parallel disarmament initiatives would degrade the multilateral disarmament system.
Definitions for an FMCT were considered at the meeting on 3 March. The ambassador of Australia presented the results of the side event it hosted with Japan, circulating a table with four different definitions of “fissile material” proposed by states. This sparked discussion in the formal sessions, but states including China, Iran, and India insisted on the informal nature of the table presented by Australia.
Discussions returned to NSAs on 10 March, and non-nuclear-weapon states expressed clear support for a legally binding agreement. NWFZs also came under consideration, and Egypt urged more support from the international community in preparation for the Middle East Conference planned for 2012.
On 17 March, the CD President Pedro Oyarce of Chile distributed a non-paper proposing a program of work that establishes four working groups to make substantive progress on the first four agenda items. Many delegations welcomed the non-paper, and no delegation voiced opposition to its language.
On 22 March, the new CD President, Ambassador Wang Qun of China, circulated a schedule of meetings for the end of the session. The meetings included a plenary session discussion of elements that would be unacceptable in the program of work and a separate discussion of essential elements for a program of work.
The CD discussed nuclear disarmament on 24 March. Non-nuclear weapon states expressed their disappointment with a lack of progress on the disarmament agenda while nuclear weapons states pointed to recent progress with the 2010 NPT Review Conference action plan and the necessity to halt fissile material production.
On 30 March, debate continued on the program of work and negotiations of an FMCT. Delegations continued to disagree on features of a program of work. Regarding the negotiations of an FMCT, several states supported the inclusion of existing stockpiles issue in negotiations. The first part of the 2011 session closed without the adoption of a program of work.
2011 Second Part
On Tuesday, 17 May the Conference on Disarmament convened for the second part of the 2011 session, under the presidency of Ambassador Wang Qun of China. During the session, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba and North Korea also held the rotating presidency.
Ambassador Wang Qun announced that Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had been appointed as the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament by the UN Secretary-General.
Ambassador Hoffmann of Germany reported from the recent meeting in Berlin, where the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) adopted a statement on its work towards achieving nuclear disarmament and strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
The delegations of Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria, the European Union, Ireland, the Eastern European Group, and Chile spoke in favor of expansion of the CD’s membership.
On 24 May, Ahmet Uzumcu, the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, addressed the CD and spoke on a programme of work for the Conference. Mr. Uzumcu advised the CD should look to the successes of the Chemical Weapons Convention as “both a political compact and technical agreement.”
The CD then held discussions on the programme of work, with some members advocating a comprehensive and balanced programme of work, while others pressed for a clear working mandate. Revising the wording of the mandate and simplifying the programme of work with no mandate were also suggested. Noting the divided opinions, the CD President, Ambassador Wang Qun of China, believed the conditions were inadequate to propose a programme of work during China’s presidency.
On 26 May, the outgoing CD President Wang Qun of China issued a statement, noting it was “imperative that confidence be preserved” in the CD. The President also highlighted the ongoing debate between states on whether or not to hold “‘negotiations'” or “‘discussions'” to achieve goals related to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. Mr. Wang stated China wished to “see a ‘good treaty’ through ‘good negotiations’ at the Conference with all key players on board.”
On 1 June, Alicia Victoria Arango Olmos oversaw and addressed the first plenary session under the Colombian presidency. The CD President stated the “ultimate goal” of achieving disarmament and international security requires a “frank and constructive dialogue” on the Conference and its actions.
On 16 June, Gioconda Ubeda, Secretary General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Arms in Latin America (OPANAL), addressed the Conference. Secretary Ubeda emphasized the importance of the five nuclear weapons free zones in the world, as well as the work to achieve such a zone in the Middle East.
During the session, other members noted how the expansions of membership could help move efforts of the Conference in a positive direction.
On 28 June, So Se Pyong oversaw and addressed the first plenary session under the North Korean presidency. The CD President welcomed “any sort of constructive proposals that strengthened the work and credibility of the body.” During the session, the departing delegate from Canada argued the CD was “on life support because it no longer was the sole multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament.”
On 11 July, Canada withdrew from the CD and issued a statement. It announced, “North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body,” further declaring it would “resume its engagement in the Conference on Disarmament following the end of North Korea’s presidency on August 19, 2011.”
2011 Third Part
On 4 August, the Conference on Disarmament convened for the final part of the 2011 session, under the presidency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Secretary-General of the CD, Mr. Tokayev, highlighted the possibility of changing the rotating presidency and the need to re-interpret or amend the consensus rule. The delegations of Chile, Mexico and Norway supported this view, and encouraged greater inclusion of civil society into the work of the CD. The Iranian delegation did not believe that changing the Rules of Procedure would advance the work of the CD, and the delegations of Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, DPRK, and Nigeria called for the convening of a Fourth Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD-IV).
Ambassador Danon of France provided a report of the P-5 meeting on 30 June-1 July. The meeting focused on transparency, nuclear doctrine and verification.
On 11 August, delegations discussed a proposal for a working group on the revitalization of the work of the CD proposed by Columbia. The G21 called for an early convening of a SSOD-IV, and Ambassador Suda of Japan highlighted the 66th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On 18 August, Ambassador Akram of Pakistan delivered a statement on behalf of the G21 re-stating the group’s priority of progressing on nuclear disarmament.
On 23 August, Ambassador Rodolfo Reyes Rodrígez oversaw the first meeting of the CD under the Cuban presidency. Cuba attributed the paralysis of the CD to “a lack of political will…to make real progress.” Ambassador Akram of Pakistan asserted that the next logical step for the CD was to negotiate a legally binding agreement on negative security assurances.
Ambassador Suda of Japan provided a brief report of the third side event on an FMCT organized by Japan and Australia, emphasizing that the events did not represent negotiations or pre-negotiations but an opportunity to exchange views.
On 1 September, discussion focused on the draft annual report circulated by the CD President.
On 6 September, debate continued on the draft annual report. After the adoption of several amendments from the previous plenary, delegates focused on the best manner to structure the paragraphs describing the follow-up work of the high-level meeting from September 2010. Questions of repetition in the report and working around specific interventions were also addressed.
On 9 September, a document with the current status of the draft report was circulated by the CD secretariat. Discussions returned to earlier points of difficulty, but the meeting was adjourned when the CD President initiated an open information meeting facilitated by Mr. Combrink from South Africa to continue debate on more specific language.
On 13 September, the Deputy Secretary-General of the CD, Mr. Jarmo Sareva, distributed a new draft annual report built upon previous consultations, and debate on the draft report continued.
On 15 September, the CD formally adopted the annual report to the UN General Assembly.