Magazine article UN Chronicle , Vol. 31, No. 2
With the end of the cold war, the disarmament process had "become a reality", stated Gerard Errera of France, President of the Conference on Disarmament, at the opening of the first part of the body's 1994 session (25 January-31 March, Geneva).
However, he said, if a rule of international security was to be subscribed to and respected by as many States as possible, it had to be drawn up jointly and provide for "collective means of implementation". The time had passed "when two super-Powers could negotiate a disarmament treaty between themselves and then submit it for endorsement by the international community".
In his message to the multilateral negotiating body, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: "The end of bipolarity had not diminished, but had rather increased the need for disarmament." The disarmament process should be seen as an "integral part of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace-keeping and peace-building". And, although the Conference's tasks were daunting, the momentum created by the "many positive break throughs of the past year be maintained".
Of particular note was the Conference decision to launch negotiations on a treaty for a comprehensive nuclear-test ban. Welcomed in General Assembly resolution 48/70, that decision was a "culmination of the efforts of the international community as a whole to bring about the long cherished goal of the total prohibition of nuclear testing", he stressed.
Four committees established
In adopting its agenda, the Conference on 25 January agreed to start work immediately on a nuclear-test ban, 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, and transparency in armaments. Four relevant Ad Hoc Committees were established.
The Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear-Test Ban was to negotiate intensively a universal and multilaterally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty, in order to contribute effectively to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects, to the process of nuclear disarmament and, therefore, to the enhancement of international peace and security.
It was to take into account all existing proposals and future initiatives, as well as the work of the Ad Hoc Group of Scientific Experts to Consider International Cooperative Measures to Detect and Identify Seismic Events. At least two working groups--on verification and on legal and institutional issues--were to be created.
Among other agenda items were: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters: new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons; radiological weapons; and a comprehensive programme of disarmament.
The Conference appointed a Special Coordinator--Gerald Shannon of Canada--to seek the views of Conference members on the "most appropriate arrangement" to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. …