Disarmament Commission 2006

Chairman: H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, Republic of Korea
Vice-Chairs: Representatives from Austria, Belarus, Iran, Israel and Poland
Rapporteur: Senegal
Working Group I on Nuclear Disarmament
Chairman: Jean-Francis Zinsou, Benin
Working Group II on Conventional Weapon Disarmament
Chairman: H.E. Ronaldo Sardenberg, Brazil


    1. Recommendations for achieving the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    2. Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons.

Reaching Critical Will summary

The 2006 UN Disarmament Commission concluded on April 28, 2006, having produced a number of discussion papers but with no consensus on anything but procedural reports. The DC remained saturated with tension between the United States and Iran, and the two engaged in a verbal duel at the final session of the Commission. Working Group I on Nuclear Disarmament forwarded 13 undifferentiated papers to the 2007 session, while Working Group II on Confidence Building Measures also forwarded a paper for possible consideration next year. The Commission was only able to agree on recommendations for improving the effectiveness of its Methods of Work, though reaching that agreement was also fairly contentious.

The Commission has the most time allocated to multilateral substantive consideration of nuclear disarmament in any of the disarmament fora in years. The Commission can only make recommendations, like the 1999 guidelines for Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, but this opportunity should be seized to find common ground and compromise on nuclear disarmament at a time when international disarmament negotiations (and even deliberations) are at an impasse. New Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuaki Tanaka told the Commission they had a responsibility to provide fresh momentum by using new and creative thinking instead of allowing posturing to get in the way of results.

The Disarmament Commission finally adopted a substantive agenda at its Dec 12, 2005 organizational meeting. This comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the Commission has been without an agenda for three years and the United States declined to participate in the consensus adoption of this year's First Committee resolution on the Disarmament Commission. The United States also blocked consensus on adopting an agenda at the Commission's 2005 organizational meeting, in disagreement over the agenda item on nuclear disarmament. However, through the tireless work of the Chair, Ambassador Rowe (Sierra Leone), Member States agreed to a compromise on the disputed Nuclear Disarmament agenda item.


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