Statement by Ambassador Schapers of the Netherlands on the General Assembly's Disarmament Debate
I have the honour of taking the floor on behalf of the following states: Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, […]. These States from many regions across the globe share the commitment to strengthen the multilateral disarmament system so that it can fulfil its purpose. We therefore thank you for organising this debate, which provides an opportunity to assess the progress made since the adoption of GA resolution 65/93 on revitalizing the work of the CD and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.
It is regrettable that for more than a decade, the multilateral disarmament machinery, and the CD in particular, have not met the expectations of the international community, as expressed in the final document of the SSOD I, in the decisions and recommendations contained in numerous GA resolutions, and in NPT outcome documents. The CD is failing to fulfil its mandate. It is failing to address the pressing security challenges facing the international community through effective multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation instruments.
The lack of progress on new multilateral disarmament instruments for several years has directly affected our common security in the 21st century and has weakened the multilateral disarmament system. While progress is being made in other multilateral fora, the CD has been unable to unlock its potential. Neither has it been able to agree on the issue of wider participation by interested States and enhanced engagement with members of civil society.
Our countries find the stalemate in the CD unacceptable. We see an urgent need to revitalize the work of the CD and to take forward multilateral disarmament negotiations. In this regard we are highly appreciative of the Secretary General’s initiatives in support of such efforts.
The HLM of 24th September 2010 highlighted the views states have on the causes of the stalemate in the CD. But above all, the HLM made it more evident that the international community wants to move beyond mere deliberations to action without any further delay.
As GA members might be aware, during the course of 2011, CD members in Geneva have increasingly voiced and documented their concerns about the deadlock, including during an interaction with you, Mr President, on the occasion of your visit to Geneva in March. They have also expressed their concerns to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the members of his Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Despite considerable efforts by consecutive CD Presidents for more than a decade, despite various suggestions and initiatives by CD members, and despite the adoption of decisions which would have seen the CD fulfil its mandate, the CD is still failing to undertake substantive work.
In New York, the UNDC regrettably once again failed to produce any concrete recommendations. We consider this as an additional indicator of the continued challenges facing the wider multilateral disarmament machinery.
If the multilateral disarmament machinery, especially the CD, is not able to overcome this crisis, the international community, and the GA in particular, will need to respond and give serious consideration to ways and means to overcome it. We cannot afford to start another CD session in January 2012 accepting that the continued impasse is a given and that we cannot do anything about it.
Already states are discussing various options. Some options focus on giving the General Assembly a more central and active role to advance multilateral disarmament negotiations. Some focus on implementing agreements previously reached in the CD and other relevant multilateral fora. Some seek to intensify preparations for negotiations. Some focus on efforts to motivate a formal revitalisation process within the CD. Some seek to include a broader reform process of the machinery. Although their points of focus are different, all these options are being explored in order to improve global security, including through finding the most effective way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. We hope that this debate can provide us with a suitable platform to keep addressing in a transparent and inclusive manner all possible future options to take forward multilateral disarmament negotiations effectively and in an outcome-oriented spirit. We must assume our responsibility both in Geneva and here to address these concerns effectively without further delay.
We welcome the attention of the Secretary General and his Advisory Board to the problems facing the disarmament machinery. At the same time, we recognize that the responsibility for current difficulties rests with States as does the responsibility to find solutions. We stand ready to contribute actively and constructively in this forward-looking endeavour. All the States of the world have a vital interest, right and duty to participate in and contribute to, the success of multilateral disarmament negotiations.
Thank you, Mr. President.