The United Nations has been seized of the issue of weapons of mass destruction since its very beginning. There have been many achievements in the fields of non-proliferation and disarmament, but the multilateral system has not been able to deliver on its promises dating back to 1946. This is in part due to the fact that the required efforts to fill the legal gap in the non-proliferation and disarmament framework too often clash with the interests of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (P5) and their allies to maintain the nuclear world order. Nuclear weapons remain the biggest existential threat, as well as the biggest gap in the multilateral disarmament/non-proliferation architecture—while other WMD continue to proliferate.
The ICM convened its twelfth retreat on February 3-4 in Geneva, Switzerland on weapons of mass destruction, non-proliferation, and disarmament with senior officials and experts from the UN, its member states, academia, NGOs and civil society. The objective of the retreat was to identify concrete proposals to address these issues, over three sessions.
The first session focused on the strengthening of the multilateral system by identifying ways it should adapt or risk being circumvented. The second session featured a discussion on the much needed democratization of the disarmament and non-proliferation process in the hope to find new opportunities. The third session looked to the future, asking how the multilateral system can be made more relevant in countering current and emerging WMD threats.
Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution and were moderated by ICM Chair Kevin Rudd, Jayantha Dhanapala, President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and ICM Secretary-General Hardeep Singh Puri. Jayantha Dhanapala delivered the keynote address. A discussion paper, based on the retreat discussions, will be posted online in 2016.
The Public Consultation on this topic will be help on June 8, 2016.