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Conference on Disarmament to hold first public plenary of its 2021 session on Tuesday, 19 January

Press Release


The Conference on Disarmament, the world's single multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, will virtually hold the first public plenary of its 2021 session on Tuesday, 19 January, during which it will hear a statement by Tatiana Valovaya, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Conference, and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The session will open 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. After Belgium’s Presidency (18 January to 12 February, the following countries will also take the Presidency during 2021: Brazil (15 February to 12 March), Bulgaria (15 March to 21 May), Cameroon (24 May to 18 June), Canada (21 June to 18 August) and Chile (16 August to 10 September). The three parts of the 2021 session of the Conference will be 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 first virtual plenary meeting will start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday 19 January.

In accordance with rule 27 of its Rules of Procedure, the Conference on Disarmament shall adopt its agenda for the year at the beginning of each annual session. “In doing so, the Conference shall take into account the recommendations made to it by the United Nations General Assembly, the proposals presented by Member States of the Conference, and the decisions of the Conference." The Rules of Procedure of the Conference also provide that, on the basis of its agenda, the Conference, “at the beginning of its annual session, shall establish its programme of work, which will include a schedule of its activities for that session, taking also into account the recommendations, proposals and decisions referred to in rule 27.”

The Conference on Disarmament and its predecessors have negotiated such major multilateral arms limitation and disarmament agreements as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil thereof, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

The Conference on Disarmament has not negotiated an instrument on its agenda 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.

Documentation related to the 2021 session of 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.

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.