United Nations Disarmament Commission

In 1952, the General Assembly, by its resolution 502 (VI) of January 1952, created the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) under the Security Council with a general mandate on disarmament questions. However, it met only occasionally after 1959.

In 1978, the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament established a successor Disarmament Commission (UNDC) as a subsidiary organ of the Assembly, composed of all Member States of the United Nations. It was created as a deliberative body, with the function of considering and making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and of following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special session. It reports annually to the General Assembly.

Guidelines and Recommendations

In the light of its function, the UNDC focuses on a limited number of agenda items at each session. In 1989, to allow for in-depth consideration, it decided that its substantive agenda should be limited to a maximum of four items. From 1993, it has, in practice, dealt with two or three items, each of which has usually been considered for three consecutive years. In 1998, by its decision 52/492, the General Assembly decided that the UNDC's agenda, as of 2000, would normally comprise two substantive items per year from the whole range of disarmament issues, including one on nuclear disarmament.

The UNDC, which meets for three weeks in the spring, operates in plenary meetings and working groups, the number of working groups depending on the number of substantive items on its agenda. The five geographical groups take turns assuming the chairmanship of the UNDC, while the chairmen of the working groups are selected in accordance

Over the years, the UNDC has formulated consensus principles, guidelines and recommendations  (see below)  on a number of subjects, which have been endorsed by the General Assembly. However, in the past decade, it has not been able to agree on a substantial outcome.

The UNDC is serviced substantively by the Office for Disarmament Affairs and technically by the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services.


Sessions