ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe


13 September 2012

The Conference on Disarmament, the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, concluded its 2012 session in a public plenary today.  The session began on 22 January and officially ends tomorrow, Friday 14 September.

In a message to the Conference on 24 January - read out by the Secretary General of the Conference, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said although the future of the Conference was in the hands of its Member States he could not stand by and watch it decline into irrelevancy as States considered other negotiating arenas.  The General Assembly was seized of the matter and, if the Conference remained deadlocked, it was ready to consider other options to move the disarmament agenda forward.  The tide of disarmament was rising, yet the Conference on Disarmament was in danger of sinking.

In its annual report (CD/WP.573), which would be presented to the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly of the United Nations when it opens on 18 September 2012, the Conference noted that despite efforts it had unfortunately not been able to reach a consensus on a programme of work for 2012.  The report further stated that during 2012 the Conference received and approved requests for participation in its work from 39 non-Member States of the Conference.  The report highlighted that at a meeting in May the President of the Conference, Ambassador Minelik Alemu Gertahun of Ethiopia, presented a schedule of activities developed in cooperation with the other five Presidents of the 2012 session, which foresaw discussions on all agenda items.  That schedule was followed by the Conference for the remainder of the 2012 session.

The adopted agenda (CD/WP.569) included seven issues: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war including all matters related thereto; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use, or threat of use, of such weapons; new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, including radiological weapons; a comprehensive program of disarmament; and transparency in armaments.  The agenda was adopted with the understanding that if a consensus emerged at the Conference to address any questions whatsoever, that issue could be addressed as part of the agenda.

During its 2012 session the Conference was addressed by other high-level dignitaries including the President of the General Assembly, Secretary-General of the Conference and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Foreign Ministers of several Member States and the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.  In March 2012 the Conference attempted to reach a consensus on the draft programme of work presented by the President of the Conference, Ambassador Hisham Badr of Egypt and contained in CD/1933rev1, but was unable to do so.

The next session of the Conference on Disarmament begins on 21 January 2013, and will be divided into three parts: from 21 January to 29 March, from 13 May to 28 June and from 29 July to 13 September.  Details and documents can be found on the webpage and press releases for all public meetings of the 2012 session can be found here.

For use of the information media; not an official record