The Disarmament Commission, in an organizational meeting this morning, elected the Chair for its 2015 substantive session and reviewed its agenda at the start of a new three-year cycle, which would be held from 6 to 24 April.
The Commission elected by acclamation Fodé Seck (Senegal) as Chair, and upon assumption of that duty, he thanked outgoing Chair Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia) for his excellent guidance and leadership. He also thanked other members and delegations for their constructive spirit and cooperation during 2014.
General Assembly resolution 69/77, titled “Report of the Disarmament Commission”, reviewed the body’s mandate and recognized it as the deliberative forum charged with making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and following up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the Assembly’s 1978 special session devoted to disarmament.
The text also recommended that the Commission intensify consultations and encouraged it to invite the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) to prepare background papers, and requests it to meet for a period of three weeks during 2015.
Voicing concerns about the 15-year deadlock — the body has been unable to adopt recommendations at the conclusion of several three-year cycles comprising agenda items on the disarmament of both nuclear and conventional weapons — some representatives today offered prescriptions for overcoming the impasse.
Speaking for the European Union, Latvia’s representative said he was convinced that, under Mr. Seck’s leadership, the the Commission would advance and assume its designated role, overcoming the existing deadlock by agreeing on a third agenda item. With that in mind, the Union endorsed the United States’ proposal to establish a working group on outer space.
While some speakers, including Egypt’s representative, agreed with the proposal to establish a third working group, others, including Iran’s delegate, urged caution with such a move. South Africa’s representative said it was “unclear” how the Commission could cover a new topic within its limited timeframe. Suggesting a way to reach consensus among those differing views, the representative of the Russian Federation proposed convening an additional organizational meeting to consider ways to move forward.
Also today, the Commission adopted its provisional agenda (document A/CN.10/L.73) and took note of its 2015 provisional agenda (document A/CN.10/L.74). It was expected to complete its Bureau in April, filling outstanding vacancies for one Vice-Chair from the Group of African States and two Vice-Chairs from each of the following regional groups: Asia-Pacific States, Latin American and Caribbean States; and Western European and Other States. One Vice-Chair and Rapporteur from the Group of Eastern European States was also expected to be elected.
The Disarmament Commission is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly comprising all United Nations Member States. It meets annually, with an agenda, which, as of 2000, normally comprises two substantive items, which are then debated for three consecutive years.
Also delivering statements today were the representatives of Nigeria, United States, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Mexico and India.