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Revitalizing the CD: Structure for Success. Disarmament Architecture and Outcomes. Structure for Success.

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Revitalizing the CD: Structure for Success

Disarmament Architecture and Outcomes


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Structure for Success

  • The UN has hosted unprecedented levels of complementary, disarmament-related activity in recent months – from building support for a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone to creating a binding treaty to regulate the global arms trade.


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Structure for Success

  • This activity has raised public expectations that the UN can leverage measurable improvements in global security.

  • It has also created structural and capacity challenges for both UN agencies and many diplomatic missions.


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Structure for Success

  • Engaged participation by all diplomatic missions is essential to enhance the basic fairness of the UN system and improve prospects for broad implementation of disarmament obligations.


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Structure for Success

  • We must ensure that current, hopeful levels of disarmament activity nurtured in large part by UNODA are matched by sufficient structural capacity.


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Structure for Success

  • The UN’s legitimacy in the eyes of the world is tied closely to its successes on issues ranging from the elimination of stockpiles of illicit small arms to ensuring full participation by women in all disarmament-related processes.


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Structure for Success

  • In pursuing our own mandate, we have learned much about the inter-connectedness of disarmament activity and the skills available through many sources to meet those diverse challenges.


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Structure for Success

  • We especially affirm the extraordinary skills of disarmament stakeholders from all global regions able to contribute to shaping all aspects of disarmament policy and structure.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • The CD has been a singular focus of concern voiced by many diplomats and NGOs.

  • There is concern that the CD has become a ‘drag’ on what are otherwise strong indicators of disarmament-related progress.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • Protracted stalemate in the CD carries the strong potential to further erode confidence in the UN’s ability to promote sustainable global security at the least possible level of armament.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • On September 24, at the request of the Secretary-General, various state approaches to CD revitalization and eliminating stalemates were articulated.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • Some states merely reaffirmed the role of the CD as the single legitimate forum for multi-lateral disarmament negotiations.

  • Others seemed to have crossed the line of viability, preferring to put the CD out of its misery rather than invest major energies in its revitalization.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • The majority, however, vetted proposals to help energize the CD, including expanding membership, renouncing veto rights on procedural matters, and creating an ‘eminent persons’ panel to review and reform CD working methods.


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NGO Perspectives

  • NGOs have also put forward reform proposals, many of which have been captured in a document prepared principally by Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will and John Burroughs of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy.


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NGO Perspectives

  • Many of these recommendations are currently under review by the international community. Three are particularly important for us.

  • There is a need to integrate more civil society expertise into the CD, perhaps following the ‘Peaceful Uses of Outer Space’ process used in Vienna.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • We also seek negotiations towards a nuclear weapons convention. If the CD is unable to successfully host this process, it could organize ad hoc committees to begin negotiations on the Convention and related issues (negative assurances, FMCT).


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NGO Perspectives

  • Finally, we support the idea of an ‘eminent persons’ panel with the caveat that ‘eminence’ does not necessarily indicate the presence of skills and commitment needed to assess the CD, suggest reforms, and ‘sell’ those proposals to governments.


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NGO Perspectives

  • If the CD is to survive and energize other disarmament activity, it will require much attentiveness and careful analysis. Diverse skills and ‘lenses’ on this work --beyond gravitas -- are needed.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • As this board addresses its responsibility to ‘undertake a thorough review’ of issues raised on September 24, we urge you to continue to consult with a wide range of stakeholders from all global regions.


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Revitalizing the CD

  • Many stakeholders seem to want the CD to be fixed or abandoned. Many also understand that stalemate in the CD cannot be allowed to jeopardize the harvest of disarmament riches that are now available to us.


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For More Information

Global Action to Prevent War

866 UN Plaza, Suite 4050

New York, New York 10017

[email protected]

Reaching Critical Will

777 UN Plaza, 6th Floor

New York, New York 10017

[email protected]


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