What is the Conference on Disarmament (CD)?

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What is the Conference on Disarmament (CD)? Blog Image


India’s Foreign Secretary and the UN Under Secretary General recently exchanged views on the Conference on Disarmament, where India is poised to assume the first presidency for the 2024 session.

About Conference on Disarmament

  • The CD was formed in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum of the international community after agreement was reached among Member States during the first special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) devoted to disarmament (1978).
  • It succeeded other Geneva-based negotiating forums, which include the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962-68), and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (1969-78).
  • The CD and its predecessors have negotiated such major multilateral arms limitation and disarmament agreements such as 
    • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
    • Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BWC)
    • Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC)
    • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). 
  • Currently, the CD focuses its work on the following agenda items: 
    • Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. 
    • Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters. 
    • Prevention of an arms race in outer space. 
    • Effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. 
    • New types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons; radiological weapons. 
    • Comprehensive programme of disarmament. 
    • Transparency in armaments. 
  • Working:
    • The Conference is comprised of 65 member states, including the five NPT nuclear-weapon states and 60 other states of key military significance.
    • In addition, every year, non-member states participate, upon their request, in the CD’s work.
    • The CD has three sessions each year.
    • The CD conducts its work by consensus.
  • Relationship with the United Nations (UN):
    • While the CD is independent of the United Nations, its secretary is appointed by the UN Secretary-General.
    • It is required to consider recommendations from the UNGA, and it submits reports annually or more often to the UNGA.
    • The CD adopts its own Rules of Procedure and its own agenda, taking into account the recommendations of the UNGA and the proposals of its member states.  

Q1) What is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)?

NPT is an international treaty that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It has three main pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.India has not signed the NPT, citing concerns about the discriminatory nature of the treaty as it perpetuates the nuclear weapons monopoly of the five recognized nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the USA).

Source: Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, UN Under Secretary General discuss India's presidency of Conference on Disarmament