International Women’s Day at the CD

Mia Gandenberger | Reaching Critical Will
11 March 2014

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) met on Tuesday, 11 March to hear a statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Further statements were delivered by Algeria, Austria, Republic of Korea, Australia, Turkey and the outgoing President of the CD, Ambassador Vinicio Mati of Italy.

International Women’s Day

Recalling last year’s statement, WILPF highlighted the important achievement of linking gender-based violence with international arms trade, which is included in the Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly last year. Being the only civil society actor allowed to deliver a statement at the CD, WILPF reminded states that the focus of negotiating disarmament treaties should be on preventing human suffering and armed violence. WILPF argued that engagement and participation of civil society in disarmament processes is essential for its success. WILPF concluded that since progress is taking place outside the CD, such momentum should be built on and engaged with.

The representatives of Australia and Austria welcomed the speech by civil society. Ambassador Hajnozci expressed his regret that due to the ways of work of the CD, member states could only benefit from WILPF’s contributions once a year. The Ambassador stressed that “Effective multilateralism also equals a participatory approach – and security for the people will never be achieved without the people.”

Other issues

The Algerian Ambassador delivered a statement with an update of developments of the preparations for the Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference, which will take place from 23 to 27 June in 2014 in Maputo, Mozambique.

Ambassador Hajnozci of Austria noted that the discourse on nuclear weapons has significantly developed during recent years, and highlighted the importance of the international conferences on the humanitarian consequences held in Oslo and Nayarit. He reminded the CD that Austria has announced to host a third conference on this topic later this year and stressed that “Nuclear disarmament is a global task and a collective responsibility.”

The outgoing CD President, Ambassador Vinicio Mati of Italy once again gave an update on the status of his consultations. While the Informal Working Group was re-established last week, the work on reaching a consensus on a schedule of activities continued. He thanked everyone for their cooperation and support expressed during his presidency and urged states to demonstrate flexibility with regard to the work that remains. 

Next plenary meeting

The next plenary meeting will be held on Tuesday, 18 March at 10.00 in the Council Chamber.


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