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Substantive Session of the UN Disarmament Commission

On 4 April the 2016 Substantive Session of the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) started its work in New York. The session will continue until 22 April. Kazakhstan is chairing Working Group I on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the opening ceremony H.E. Ambassodor Odo Tevi, Chairperson of the UNDC, and H.E. Mr Kim Won-soo, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations – UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-soo, as well as the heads of delegation of Indonesia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Egypt (on behalf of the Arab Group and in the national capacity) Uganda (on behalf of the African group), Australia, Kazakhstan, India, Libya, Colombia, China, Russia and Croatia made their statements.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, H.E. Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, familiarized the delegations of the Member States with important initiatives of the Head of Kazakhstan and the achievements of the country in its global advocacy for nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and strengthening international security. Among them he informed the gathering on the signing on 27 August 2015 the Agreement between Kazakhstan and the IAEA on the establishment of the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan; on the adoption on 7 December 2015 by the 70th session of the UN General Assembly of the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World; as well as the proposal of the Kazakh leadership to transfer 1% of the defence budgets of the UN Member States to the UN SDGs Fund and its initiative to establish a Global Anti-Nuclear Movement.

Also, the delegates were briefed on the outcomes of the participation of the leadership of Kazakhstan in the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, in particular, on a joint statements made with leaders of several countries and groups, as well as on a fundamentally new document authored by the President of Kazakhstan titled Manifesto: The World. The 21st Century. This landmark act expresses the momentous stand on the issues of war and peace, particularly above all, the threat of a nuclear apocalypse in the event of failure of the international community to promote and advance a total ban on nuclear weapons. As a result of an agreement with the leadership of the Commission, the Manifesto will be published as an official document in the UN Secretariat’s electronic paper system, accessible to all the Member States.

UNDC is a deliberative body and a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly which is mandated to consider and make recommendations on various disarmament related issues and to follow up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special sessions devoted to disarmament held so far. UNDC was established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD) in 1978. It consists of all Member States and holds its substantive yearly sessions in New York (usually in April) for approximately three weeks. UNDC reports annually to the General Assembly. Since 1978, UNDC has dealt with numerous disarmament related questions, both nuclear and conventional, and has submitted guidelines and principles on various subject items, including guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures, guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security, and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.