22 April 2016
2016 Session, 359th & 360th Meetings (AM & PM)

Concluding 2016 Session, Disarmament Commission Must Narrow Differences, ‘Break Cycle of Failures’ by Galvanizing Political Will

The Disarmament Commission today reached consensus on a draft report to send to the General Assembly, but was unable to agree any recommendations regarding issues on its agenda.

Concluding the Commission’s three-week substantive session for the year, Member States had engaged constructively in negotiations which had resulted in progress, said Thomas Markram, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

At a time when the United Nations Disarmament machinery was often characterized as unproductive, the dedication and passion of representatives was greatly appreciated, he said, in remarks delivered on behalf of Kim Won-soo, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.  Commending all delegations for working with firm commitment over the recent weeks, Mr. Markham assured Member States of the Secretariat’s full support moving forward.

Commission Chair Odo Tevi (Vanuatu) also acknowledged the positive work and in-depth discussion towards narrowing differences.  Disarmament could not be accomplished in isolation, requiring cooperation among all stakeholders to achieve gains, he said.

Before concluding the session, delegates approved by consensus that body’s draft report to the Assembly, examining section by section, as well as the reports of its two working groups.

Introducing the report of Working Group I, “Recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons” (document A/CN.10/2016/L.2), Kairat Abdrakhamanov (Kazakhstan) noted that the Group had held 12 meetings, exchanging views to move forward.  Following discussions, four working papers had been presented, and at its twelfth meeting, the Group had adopted its report by consensus.  He stressed that despite differences, Member States had worked hard to find a common ground.

Introducing the report of Working Group II on “Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons” (document A/CN.10/2016/L.3), Chair Bouchaib Eloumni (Morocco) said the group had held 12 meetings between 5 and 21 April.  During those meetings, delegations had expressed their views, made proposals and raised issues of importance to them.  At each stage, he had tried to identify areas of common understanding, and good progress had been achieved.  Noting that he would use the intersessional period to facilitate a consensus during the Commission’s next session, he expressed his hope that such efforts would serve as a foundation for the Commission’s future work on confidence-building measures.  “I will spare no effort to break the cycle of failures,” he said in that respect.

Introducing the draft report of the Commission (document A/CN.10/2016/L.1), Rapporteur Tomasz Tokarski (Poland) said the final report was a factual description of the Commission’s work and proceedings during the session.  While the substantive part comprised two reports of the working groups, which had been adopted by the Commission, there was no agreement on concrete recommendations.  Given the Commission’s deliberative mandate, submitted oral and written proposals had contributed to the objectives of the Groups.  Commending the tireless efforts of all, he noted that the deliberations and negotiations had helped the Commission in clarifying positions, yet consensus had seemed elusive.

In other business, the Commission considered a proposal to take up a third agenda item for the remaining period of its 2015-2017 triennial cycle, namely, on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities.  The Chair noted that further consultations would be held on the inclusion of that agenda item.  A number of delegates made proposals for additions and amendments to the proposal’s text, while others supported its original language.  Following a brief suspension, the Commission finalized the language of that proposal, as orally amended.

For information media. Not an official record.