The 55th session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters met in New York from 23-25 February under the Chairmanship of Olga Pellicer, Professor of the Department of International Studies at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.
The Board gathered this year to consider and discuss how to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which has been in a virtual state of stalemate for the past 12 years. The reasons for the CD’s stalemate are widely debated.
Given that revitalizing work on disarmament and non-proliferation had been among his highest priorities since he took office, the Secretary-General decided to chair a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on “Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations”. The meeting, which was held on 24 September 2010, concluded with a Chairman’s summary with specific suggestions by the Secretary-General including asking the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters to undertake a thorough review of the issues raised at the meeting. The Secretary General had thus asked the Board to review the issues pertaining to the Conference on Disarmament and multilateral disarmament negotiations, and to feed into the upcoming debate in the General Assembly. This includes the possible establishment of a panel of eminent persons to look at the functioning of the Conference.
This year, presentations were provided by different experts: Tim Caughley, Resident Senior Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), as well as two representatives of civil society, Dr Robert Zuber, Director of Global Action for Prevention of War and the project for a UN Emergency Peace Service, and Dr. Mia Zian, who teaches nuclear policy at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Deputy Co-Chair of the International panel on Fissile Materials.
The Board will continue its deliberations on revitalizing the Conference on Disarmament during its next session in July in Geneva and will submit to the Secretary-General a set of concrete recommendations on the issue.