15 May 2013
The Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) established by the United Nations General Assembly pursuant to Resolution A/RES/67/56 titled “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations,” opened today at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The Group, chaired by Ambassador Manuel Dengo, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations Office at Geneva, will strive to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons.
The Chair was elected at an organizational meeting held on 14 March 2013, also at which Member States agreed on the organizational framework of the process as well as an indicative timetable outlining the dates on which the Group will meet throughout this year. A tentative calendar of the meetings of the Group was also agreed upon, containing three dedicated timeslots i.e. 14-24 May, 27-28 June, and 19-30 August. This timetable will be adjusted depending of the evolution of the Group’s work.
At the opening meeting the Group adopted its agenda and confirmed the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, which is applied mutatis mutandis, in light of the Group’s mandate.
In his opening remarks, the Chair emphasised his firm intention to work towards fulfilling the mandate of the Group in an all-inclusive and transparent way, that the Group is a deliberative, not negotiating body, and that the final report will reflect “all proposals made”. The Chair has identified specific topics for discussion during the 14-24 May timeslot based on his intensive consultations with Member States and organizations prior to the meeting of the Group, which are structured into two major clusters:
a) taking stock of the existing uni-, bi- and multilateral nuclear disarmament commitments as well as of nuclear disarmament proposals that have already been put forward; and
b) aspects, perspectives and challenges that pertain to nuclear disarmament and multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.
Much of the work of the Group will be organized in an informal and interactive manner. Thematic panels consisting of experts from Governments, international organizations, academia and civil society will provide substantive input to the Open-ended working group. A more formal general exchange of views and proposals for advancing multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations is also scheduled.
The open-ended working group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons was established by resolution 67/56, adopted by the general Assembly on 3 December 2012 with 147 in favour to 4 against (France, Russia, UK, US), with 31 abstentions.
The group will meet in Geneva for up to 15 days in May, June and August 2013 within the timeframe of the 24-week-long session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Its meetings would not be convened in parallel to the plenary meetings of the CD to avoid any overlap.
The group is open to all UN Member States and Observers, international organizations and NGOS.
At its organizational meeting on 14 March, the group elected Ambassador Manuel B. Dengo of Costa Rica as Chairperson, and adopted its agenda and preliminary calendar of meetings.
The group will develop proposals on how to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations and shall submit a report to the GA on its work, reflecting discussions held and all proposals made. Copies of the report will be forwarded for information to the CD and UNDC.
For use of information media; not an official record