Before bringing the decision to the floor, Ambassador Jazaïry of Algeria, current president of the CD, explained that the six presidents (P6) of the 2009 session were inspired by the “new momentum” for disarmament, expressed in US President Obama’s Prague speech, the announcements of further US-Russian bilateral nuclear reductions, etc. After consultations with member states, they reached the conclusion that: they had the “historic responsibility” to not pass up the opportunity to relaunch the work of the CD and that they had to go beyond pre-established positions “and allow ourselves to be guided only by the manifest community of our shared interest in this matter; that the programme of work should be tackled in a comprehensive and balanced manner; and that consensus should be sought “part and parcel of a process refining previous efforts to overcome” the stumbling blocks of recent years.
Intercessional consultations on a draft programme by all members of the P6 were met with expressions at support in a variety of fora outside the UN system, so the presidents decided to introduce their proposal to the CD on 19 May. Ambassador Jazaïry argued, the programme is not perfect but “is a compromise which provides a delicate balance” and “in no way establishes a hierarchy in terms of priority,” but rather establishes a basis of compromise to launch negotiations.
He then asked if there was any objection to the adoption of CD/1863 by consensus. There was none. The gavel dropped and the room burst into applause.
Before the programme was adopted,a few delegations spoke about CD/1863, including Ukraine, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Morocco. After the adoption, a great number of delegations delivered interventions, voicing their support for the programme of work. Two, India and Pakistan, elaborated their positions on negotiating a fissile materials treaty.
Much work remains to be done before negotiations and other substantive work can begin. But at least, for the first time in a decade, the CD has a plan.
For details, please see Reaching Critical Will’s CD Report for 29 May.