The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today in an organizational meeting to adopt its agenda and work programme for the seventy-third session of the General Assembly.
Detailing the Committee’s work programme, newly elected Chair Ion Jinga (Romania) said the body will conduct its work in three phases, beginning with a general debate on all disarmament and international security‑related agenda items, which will take place during eight meetings, from 8 to 17 October.
On the penultimate day of that segment, the Committee will conduct its usual exchange with the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs on the follow‑up to resolutions and decisions approved by the Committee during its previous sessions and the presentation of reports.
As part of the session’s second stage, the Committee will hold thematic discussions over the course of 13 meetings, from 17 to 31 October, with segments on nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, disarmament aspects of outer space, conventional weapons, other disarmament measures and international security, regional disarmament and the disarmament machinery. The Committee will also hear the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions.
On 17 October, a panel discussion is scheduled to take place with the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and other high‑level officials in the field of arms control and disarmament under the theme “Current state of affairs in the field of disarmament and arms control”. In a debate on the composition of that panel, several speakers expressed views on a draft decision tabled by Brazil that would see the participation of the Secretary‑General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During that lengthy exchange, the Australian delegation proposed, then withdrew, an amendment that would have the Committee conduct informal consultations with a view to finding a lasting solution on the matter by June 2019 that would be applicable to the seventy‑fourth session and thereafter. After the Brazilian delegation called for a vote on the draft decision “Participation in panel in the Exchange with the High Representative and other High‑level Officials” (document A/C.1/73/CRP.3), the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 27 abstentions.
Explaining her delegation’s position, Bulgaria said her country did not participate in the vote as issues of a procedural nature should not be dealt with in this manner and, as such, must be strongly discouraged.
During the final phase of the Committee’s work, from 1 to 8 November, action will be taken on all draft resolutions and decisions before it, to be grouped under the aforementioned clusters. Upon completion of the Committee’s work, the draft texts will be forwarded to the General Assembly for its consideration.
At the outset of the meeting, the Committee elected Noël Diarra (Mali), José Ataíde Amaral (Portugal) as Vice-Chairs, completing the Bureau. Ms. Diarra and Mr. Ataíde will serve alongside Vice‑Chair Marissa Edwards (Guyana) and Muna Zawani Idris (Brunei), who will serve as Rapporteur.
The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 8 October, to begin its general debate.