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Stresses Importance of Gender Parity in Nuclear Disarmament, on the Occasion of the International Women’s Day

8 March 2018

The Conference on Disarmament today heard from its President on the appointment of the coordinators of subsidiary bodies as called for in the decision CD/2119 of 16 February, and also heard calls for greater gender equality and diversity in its work.

Ambassador Veronika Bard, President of the Conference on Disarmament and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the Conference was a bit closer to the appointment of the coordinators, but was not yet there.  The four identified candidates were likely to meet with the approval of the Member States, and while positive, this was not enough to start the work, which could only happen upon the appointment of all five coordinators.  The Conference was running out of time and running out of options, warned Ambassador Bard, and reiterating her firm commitment to strictly following the mandate established by the decision CD/2119, said that, in her understanding, it was the prerogative of the President to present the candidates. 

The President had approached the task with an open, inclusive and transparent way of consulting on the issue, but despite all efforts, a candidate from one of the regional groups was still missing.  Not excluding a possibility of presenting a list based on her prerogative as the President of the Conference, Ambassador Bard said that it would not be the optimal solution, but it might prove to be the only possible one.  For the first time in many years, the Conference on Disarmament had a chance to carry out substantive work with visible results and this might not occur again any time soon, stressed the President.  She urged the States not to let that happen and to continue in the positive and constructive spirit that had led the Conference to the decision of 16 February.

Iran stressed the need to arrive to a consensual decision on the appointment of coordinators, regardless of the possibly diverging reading of the decision CD/2119, and urged the Conference to allow sufficient time to build a consensus.  Brazil agreed with the President’s interpretation and said that the appointment of coordinators should not damage the prospect of moving forward and undermine the decision that had brought the Conference back into the attention of the world. 

Taking floor on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Brazil stressed that the equal and full participation of women and men was an essential factor for the attainment of sustainable peace.  Australia said that the International Women’s Day was an opportunity to think and act to be more gender-inclusive, and urged the diversity of delegates and the diversity of countries taking part in the Conference, as well as the diversity of voices heard on matters of nuclear disarmament.  Netherlands acknowledged the importance of promoting gender parity and women’s involvement across the different disarmament initiatives, and expressed its firm belief that active leadership of women and their participation in decision-making were essential to create and maintain peace and stability.

The next plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament would be determined based on the outcome of the consultations.

For use of the information media; not an official record DC18.019E

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