4 December 2012
General Assembly
DC/3404

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Disarmament Commission

2013 Organizational Session

329th Meeting (PM)


In Opening Organizational Session, Outgoing Disarmament Commission Chair Urges

 

Delegates ‘Not to Lose Opportunities to Advance Peace and Security’

 


Opening its 2013 organizational session, the Disarmament Commission today elected its new Chair and decided to hold its 2013 substantive session from 1 to 19 April, which would kick off its next three-year cycle.


The Commission elected by acclamation Christopher Grima ( Malta) as Chair of the Commission’s 2013 substantive session.  Assuming chairmanship of the meeting, Mr. Grima thanked Enrique Román-Morey ( Peru) for his excellent guidance as Chair of the 2012 substantive session, during which he had offered a “promising” start to the new three-year cycle.  He also thanked the Bureau for its tireless efforts and delegations for their “constructive spirit and cooperation” during the previous session.


The Commission then elected Hartmut Koller-Lenhardt ( Austria) by acclamation as Vice-Chair from the Group of Western European and Other States.  Amr Aljowaily ( Egypt) and Bafétigué Ouattera ( Côte d’Ivoire) were elected by acclamation as Vice-Chairs from the Group of African States.


The Commission would elect other Bureau members at its next meeting in April to fill the following vacancies:  two Vice-Chairs from the Group of Asian and Pacific States; two Vice-Chairs from the Group of Eastern European States; one Vice-Chair and a Rapporteur from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and a Chair for Working Group II.


“It is a tall order”, Mr. Grima said, appealing to regional groups to conduct the necessary consultations to allow the Commission to start its work in April with a full Bureau.


The Committee then turned to resolution 67/71 (2012) entitled “Report of the Disarmament Commission”, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 3 December and contained the mandate for the Commission’s upcoming work.


Mr. Román-Morey said that to lay the groundwork for drafting recommendations in the field of disarmament, he, as Chair, had held informal consultations with all regional and bilateral groups on the substantive agenda.  After presenting a document outlining future trends and various proposals, intense debates had been held during the substantive session’s first week to reach consensus.


However, the Commission was unable to present recommendations on the matters under examination, he said, noting that the lack of consensus marked a lost opportunity.  “We were very close to reaching universal decisions”, he said, with the objective to support the good causes of the international community.


He then thanked the Working Group Chairs, the Friends of the Chairs and the Bureau for their efforts, which had placed the Commission on “excellent” footing for 2013.  Going forward, he urged delegates not to lose opportunities for advancing peace and security.


The representative of Cyprus, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said her delegation looked forward to negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, as well as on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons.


The Commission then took note of the provisional agenda for the 2013 substantive session (document A/CN.10/L.70).


In final business, Mr. Grima said that, during deliberations of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairy ( Saudi Arabia) had expressed interest in continuing to chair Working Group I.  As for Working Group II, Veronique Pepin-Halle ( Canada) had been assigned another post by her Government and he urged the Western and Other States Group to find a replacement for her as Chair.  The Commission would formally appoint the Chairs of the two Working Groups at its next meeting in April.


The Disarmament Commission is a deliberative body charged with making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the Assembly’s 1978 special session.  It reports annually to the Assembly.  The Commission’s agenda, as of 2000, normally comprises two substantive items, which are debated for three consecutive years.  For the last decade, the Commission has been unable to adopt recommendations at the end of each three-year cycle.


The Disarmament Commission will reconvene on 1 April 2013 to resume its unfinished organizational business.


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For information media • not an official record