Following three weeks of deliberations, the Disarmament Commission concluded its 2018 substantive session — the first of its new three-year cycle — with the approval by consensus of its draft report to the General Assembly as well as the reports of its subsidiary bodies.
Diedre Nichole Mills (Jamaica), Chair of the Working Group on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, introduced that panel’s draft report on recommendations for achieving those objectives (document A/CN.10/2018/WG.I/CRP.4), saying its 10 meetings had featured fruitful exchanges among delegations. She praised the group for their level of engagement and encouraged that type of engagement in future discussions.
Jeroen Cooreman (Belgium), Chair of the Working Group on Outer Space, then introduced its draft report on preparations of recommendations to promote the practical implementation of the transparency and confidence-building measures in related activities with the goal of preventing an arms race in that realm (document A/CN.10/2018/WG.I/CRP.5). Delegates had exchanged views and heard proposals and comments, resulting in a constructive session.
Both texts were approved without a vote.
Ms. Mills, in her capacity as Commission Rapporteur, then introduced the Commission’s draft report, a factual description of its work and proceedings, including the texts from the two working groups (document A/CN.10/2018/L.1). The Commission subsequently approved that document, as orally revised, by consensus.
In closing remarks, Gillian Bird (Australia), Commission Chair, said the Commission had gotten its new cycle off to a good start, building solid foundations that it could work on over the next two sessions with the aim of achieving consensus in both working groups in 2020. “Our progress this year has made this an entirely achievable ambition,” she declared.
Sun Lei (China), noting a persistent divergence on major issues, reiterated some of his delegation’s positions. Concerning non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, China advocated for the total destruction of nuclear weapons and supported the prevention of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, its utmost priority was the non-use of nuclear weapons or the threat of their use. On outer space, he said its peaceful use was in the common interest of mankind. China would continue to help to advance transparency and confidence-building measures to prevent an arms race in that realm. The world was changing and global security challenges required cooperation from all countries. No country could single-handedly respond to such challenges and no country could prosper in isolation.
Fernando Luque Márquez (Ecuador) said there were still issues that needed to be discussed in future disarmament fora. Delegates needed to be able to talk openly and transparently about them. When disagreements arose, common disarmament goals must be considered. Disarmament was a vocation all delegates shared and could not forget in the United Nations. Without it, its institutions could never function as they should. That truth had been forgotten to a certain extent. It was up to members of the disarmament community to bring that back to the world and remind them of the importance of disarmament, which not only saved lives, but humanity itself.
The Commission also met separately to approve, by consensus, the reports of its two working groups.