13 December 2005
Disarmament Commission Agrees on Agenda for 2006 Session
NEW YORK, 12 December (UN Headquarters) -- After a two-year deadlock over its agenda, the United Nations Disarmament Commission today reached agreement on a provisional agenda for its substantive session in 2006, which included an item on nuclear disarmament, and closed its organizational session for 2005.
By agreeing on the agenda item on nuclear disarmament in today's resumed organizational session -- "Recommendations for achieving the objectives for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons" -- the Commission now had a complete provisional agenda for its usual three-year cycle of consideration. The universal, deliberative body mandated to make recommendations in the field of disarmament would meet from 19 to 28 April 2006.
The second item, which had been agreed at the organizational session in July, reads as follows: "Practical confidence building measure in the field of conventional weapons". The agenda also includes the following: "the issue of measures for improving the effectiveness of the methods of work of the Disarmament Commission". Members had agreed in July that the last item would be considered in plenary at the 2006 substantive session, with "equitable time allocated to it".
Reviewing the path leading to today's agreement, the Commission Chairman, Sylvester T. Rowe (Sierra Leone) recalled that the item in question on nuclear weapons had read as follows in July: "Recommendations for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects, in particular for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament". Following the introduction of an amendment by one delegation -- "Recommendations for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons" -- the session was suspended without agreement.
In anticipation of the General Assembly's adoption last week of the resolution on the Report of the Disarmament Commission, the Chairman had asked the Secretariat to distribute to Commission members a compromise proposal on the substantive item on nuclear disarmament, which was agreed today, so that the Commission could start substantive work early next year.
The operative portion of the draft resolution, adopted on 8 December, had welcomed efforts made by the Commission during its organizational meeting in July towards achieving the Commission's objectives. The Assembly also recommended that the Commission intensify consultations on those efforts, with a view to reaching a definitive agreement before the start of its substantive session next year.
The Bureau, which had not been fully constituted at the organizational session this year, still had some vacancies, specifically two Vice-Chairmen from, respectively, from the Groups of African States and Eastern European States. The Chairman appealed to regional groups to try to come up with candidates for the 2006 substantive Commission session, as well as suggestions for the chairmanship of the subsidiary bodies, and let the Secretariat know the "state of affairs" of the Bureau by February.
The Chairman thanked members for their cooperation. The consultations in the summer had been very intensive, and there was general agreement that "some progress" had been made, although the views concerning that progress might vary from one delegation to another. There was a feeling that something had been achieved and that no one wanted to go backwards, he recalled.
The Disarmament Commission will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
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