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CD fails to adopt a programme of work for its 2015 session

Mia Gandenberger
29 January 2015

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) met on Thursday, 29 January 2015, to take action on the proposed programme of work for its 2015 session. The draft was not adopted due to Pakistan objecting.

Exchange of views before action on the programme of work

  • Ireland, Algeria, Austria, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Sweden, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, and India spoke in favour of the draft.
  • The Russian Federation asked for clarification on timing matters.
  • Iran asked for more time to receive instructions from capital.
  • Pakistan reiterated its previously voiced concerns with including a negotiating mandate on a fissile material cut-off treaty on the basis of CD/1299. It consequently objected to the adoption of the draft.

Exchange of views after action on the programme of work

  • Japan, Switzerland, and Germany suggested exploring alternatives such as structured discussions under the schedule of activities or in the context of the Informal Working Group, building on the 2014 elaborations.
  • Algeria and Mexico questioned the usefulness of further informal discussions on agenda items.
  • Japan, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, Germany, and Belarus suggested modifying or revising the existing draft in an effort to gain consensus on a programme of work at a later stage during the session.
  • Egypt and Algeria suggested postponing action on the programme of work until the following week.
  • Brazil suggested asking for the support of the UN General Assembly on finding agreement a programme of work. Mexico welcomed the idea, but Belarus doubted the usefulness of involving other fora.
  • CD President Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco of Mexcio reiterated that the draft programme of work was not to be negotiated under his Presidency, but suggested his successors could draw their own conclusions on that matter. He stressed that it is the responsibility of the Presidency, with the assistance of the Secretariat, to draft a programme of work, according to rule 29 of the rules of procedure.
  • Switzerland suggested addressing the pending requests for membership to the CD and the relationship with civil society.
  • India hoped the Secretariat could to make available the Conference’s verbatim records more swiftly. Recognizing the limited resources for this, India requested a paper outlining the necessary resources to perform that task. The Secretariat stressed the limited resources available to fulfilling that task and agreed to endeavor to prepare such a paper.

Notes from the gallery

The failure to adopt the suggested programme of work does not come as a surprise. While Pakistan was the only one to object on the record, many other member states seemed agitated about progressing on any of the agenda items. Action in the CD would be uncomfortable for those profiting from continuing the status quo. Thus, inaction prevails in the CD while the world keeps turning outside. States that are serious about disarmament must take action elsewhere. The Austrian government has invited all UN states to join its Pledge to pursue the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. States can formally endorse the Pledge by sending a note verbale to Austria, either through the embassies in capitals or to missions. We urge all states to do so as a matter of priority, joining the states of CELAC who have already announced their intention to do so.

Next plenary

The next plenary will take place on Wednesday, 4 February at 10:00 in the Council Chamber.

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