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Conference on Disarmament Adopts Annual Report and Concludes 2021 Session

Meeting Summaries


The Conference on Disarmament, the world's single multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, today concluded its 2021 session after adopting its annual report to the General Assembly.

The Conference formally adopted the annual report CD/WP.636/Rev.3 as orally amended following last-minute proposals regarding paragraph 23. It will be issued as document CD/2223. Ambassador Frank Tressler of Chile, the President of the Conference, commended all for their efforts to ensure that the annual report was adopted.

Speaking in the morning meeting were Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, United States, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, Syria, Mexico, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Russia, Germany, Republic of Korea, France, South Africa, Pakistan, Japan, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Brazil and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kazakhstan said it proposed to convene in the first half of next year a scientific conference to explore ways to implement Kazakhstan’s proposal to create a multilateral body to coordinate the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention.

Ambassador Robert Wood, Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament, made farewell remarks as he would retire in October after having covered the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva since 2014. Many speakers thanked him for his work in the Conference and wished him success in his future endeavours.

China spoke as the first President of the 2022 session of the Conference on Disarmament, saying it would continue consultations with regional groups and all delegations to listen to their views. China was confident that it would be able to steadily advance the work of the Conference and commence work in a substantive manner.

The 2021 session opened under the Presidency of Belgium. The Presidency of the Conference rotates among its Member States according to the English alphabetical order, with each President holding office for four working weeks. The following countries also took the Presidency in 2021: Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada and Chile. The three parts of the 2021 session of the Conference were held from 18 January to 26 March for the first part, from 10 May to 25 June for the second part, and from 26 July to 10 September for the third part.

The Conference on Disarmament has not adopted a programme of work for the past two decades. Currently, the agenda of the Conference contains the following items: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons; comprehensive programme of disarmament; and transparency in armaments.

Tatiana Valovaya, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference, and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, addressed the Conference on 19 January. She said this year would be marked by important events for the global nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control regimes, and hoped that the members of the Conference on Disarmament would be inspired by the critical significance of these events and would find the sense of urgency necessary to contribute to their success and reverse the dangerous trends witnessed over the past few years. She said that there was no doubt that what had been missing in this Conference was neither substantive knowledge of its members nor worthy subject matters, but rather the political will to build on them.

Despite numerous efforts by the successive Presidents of the Conference, no agreement was reached on a programme of work. The Conference held thematic discussions on the agenda items of the Conference. It also debated the role of youth in disarmament processes, and the participation and role of women in international security. In addition, the Conference discussed a document presented by the Canadian President on a technical/linguistic update of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference.

During the high-level segment of the Conference, more than 50 dignitaries took the floor from the following countries: Sweden, Germany, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Japan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, United States, Canada, Austria, Cuba, Iraq, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Malaysia, Venezuela, Panama, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Greece, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Latvia, Qatar, Russian Federation, Belarus, Norway, Iran, Holy See, Jordan, Portugal, Syria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Armenia, United Kingdom and China.

Also during the session, Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, addressed the Conference.

Documentation related to the Conference on Disarmament can be found here. The public meetings of the Conference on Disarmament can be listened to in real time here. They are also recorded and can be found here.

The first part of the Conference’s 2022 session will be held from 24 January to 1 April. The second part will be from 16 May to 1 July, and the third part will be from 1 August to 16 September. The following States parties will hold the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in 2022: China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ecuador.

Member States of the Conference

The 65 members of the Conference are Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.