Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the tide of disarmament is rising, yet the Conference on Disarmament is in danger of sinking.
In a read out on his behalf by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG), Mr. Ban urged its members to break the existing impasse and move the agenda forward.
“I urge you to seize this moment, when the world is focused intently on advancing disarmament goals.” – Mr. Ban
He appealed to support the immediate commencement of negotiations in the Conference on agreed disarmament issues.
Established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, the CD – as the Conference is known – primarily focuses on cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, and prevention of an arms race in outer space, among other things.
The Conference been plagued in recent years by an inability to overcome differences among its members and start its substantive work towards advancing disarmament goals.
Mr. Ban reminded the members that the CD and its predecessors have had some impressive accomplishments, including work on the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Mr. Ban noted that many of these were achieved during the Cold War, proving that it is possible to create global legal norms even in times of great political disagreements.
“Yet today, this distinguished body is no longer living up to expectations.” -Mr. Ban
He stressed that the future of the Conference is in the hands of its member States.
“But I can not stand by and watch it decline into irrelevancy, as States consider other negotiating arenas.” -Mr. Ban
He encouraged the members to restore the Conference to the central role it can and must play in strengthening the rule of law in the field of disarmament.
Conference on Disarmament is a forum established by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. It was established in 1979. It was the forum used by its member states, currently numbering 65, to negotiate the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.