1 March 2018
The Conference on Disarmament today heard a proposal by its President concerning next steps in the establishment of the five subsidiary bodies, with a view to progressively advance its substantive work.
The decision (CD/WP.605/Rev.2), adopted on 16 February, proposed the establishment of five subsidiary bodies: four bodies on agenda items one to four, and the fifth one on agenda items five, six and seven, and on emerging and other issues relevant to the substantive work of the Conference.
Ambassador Veronika Bard, President of the Conference and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations at Geneva, reflecting on the just-concluded high-level segment, noted a common theme presented by speakers: that given the escalating global tensions, it was critical for the Conference, the only global multilateral disarmament forum, to resume its substantive work as quickly as possible. In that context, the decision to create five subsidiary bodies was welcomed as a positive development.
In order to establish those bodies, five coordinators must be appointed under the guidance of the Presidency and on the basis of equitable regional distribution. The consultations on the identification of the five coordinators were ongoing, said the President and urged the start of the activities of the subsidiary bodies as soon as possible. The decision did not specify the timetable for the work of the bodies, so the President proposed that the schedule be based on the principles of the critical importance of allocating equal time among the subsidiary bodies, the need to take into account the on-going disarmament agenda outside the Conference, and the allotment of information well in advance to allow delegations time to properly prepare.
Ms. Bard envisaged the bodies starting the work no later than 12 March and finishing by 17 August, and suggested it be divided in preparatory phase, substantial phase and concluding phase. The regular plenary meetings of the Conference would take place throughout the entire session, allowing regular updates on the work of the new bodies and proving opportunities for the Presidency to follow up on possible developments concerning a programme of work, concluded Ambassador Bard.
According to the decision, the subsidiary bodies would work to: reach an understanding on the areas of commonality in the Conference by taking into consideration all relevant views; deepen technical discussions and broaden areas of agreement, including through the participation of relevant experts; and consider effective measures to advance the substantive work of the Conference, including legal instruments for negotiations; along with any other pursuits determined according to the Rules of Procedure.
The next public plenary of the Conference on Disarmament will take place on Tuesday, 6 March at 10 a.m.
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