conference on disarmament
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 by a resolution of the first Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations General Assembly held in 1978. It succeeded other Geneva-based negotiating committees and is currently the single multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum of the international community. The CD reports to the General Assembly, to which it submits annual reports.
As originally constituted, the CD had 40 members. Subsequently its membership was gradually expanded to 65 countries. Czechoslovakia was among the founding parties of CD. However, based on a mutual agreement after the division of the federation, Slovakia assumed the membership. Since then the Czech Republic has been requesting membership (together with other 26 countries as of 2013). Due to this long lasting situation the Czech Republic is participating in the CD sessions (together with a group 40 states known as Informal Group of Observer States - IGOS) as an observer. Since 2012 the Czech Republic is a coordinator of IGOS.
The CD meets in an annual session, which is divided in three parts of 10, 7 and 7 weeks, respectively. The CD is presided by its members on a rotating basis (alphabetic order) and each President presides for a period of four weeks. The CD has negotiated major agreements in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, disarmament and control of conventional weapons including:
- Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
- Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques
- Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction
- Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
However, as of 1998 the CD (which conducts its work by consensus) has been paralyzed due to the obstructive approach of one member state. This paralysis has led to the frustration of the CD and caused the negotiation of some treaties outside this forum. The Conference should be dealing with four key areas: nuclear disarmament, negotiation of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), Negative Security Assurances and prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). The FMCT has received support from predominant number of member states inter alia through the Shannon Mandate in 1995. The last program of work (including negotiations of FMCT) was adopted in 2009 nonetheless it was never implemented. Since then the CD has been trying to find ways how to revitalize its substantive work. Proposals include a revision of the rules of procedure or the enlargement of the membership.
We push for a comprehensive disarmament and reduction of weapons, which we believe is a prerequisite of strengthened peace and security around the world. Our main security goal is the reduction and the subsequent elimination of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons (i.e. weapons of mass destruction). We are parties to all the agreements negotiated in the CD. Our shared priority with other members of IGOS is the issue of enlargement of the CD. Thus we support efforts that would lead to the enlargement of the body (i.e. appointment of the special coordinator for enlargement). The resumption of substantive work of the CD is of our concern.