Conference on Disarmament and other UN bodies

Conference on Disarmament

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was created in 1979 as the world’s sole multilateral disarmament treaty negotiating body.  The permanent agenda addresses ten issues, including nuclear weapons in all aspects, chemical weapons (removed after the CD completed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1992), other weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons.  The CD has made an important contribution to international peace and security through development of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The CD has failed however, to agree on a program of work for the last 17 years, leaving no negotiations finalised since 1992.  Australia has been looking for ways to break the impasse in the CD through our participation in the open-ended working group on taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.

General Assembly of the United Nations First Committee

The First Committee meets annually to deal with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community and seeks out solutions to the challenges in the international security regime.

The Committee works in close cooperation with the United Nations Disarmament Commission and the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament.

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

UNODA was originally established in 1982.  It promotes nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as disarmament of other weapons of mass destruction and of conventional weapons such as landmines and small arms.  It fosters disarmament measures through dialogue, transparency and confidence-building on military matters, and encourages regional disarmament efforts.

United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC)

In 1978, the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament established a Disarmament Commission (UNDC) as a subsidiary organ of the Assembly, composed of all Member States of the United Nations.  It was created as a deliberative body, with the function of considering and making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and of following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special session. It reports annually to the General Assembly.

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)

UNSCEAR was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1955. Its mandate in the United Nations system is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. Governments and organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee's estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and for establishing protective measures.   Australia is currently chair of UNSCEAR.

Last Updated: 29 June 2015