Disarmament and Non-proliferation

Maintaining international peace and security

The European Union strongly believes that a multilateral approach to security, disarmament and non-proliferation is the best means of maintaining international peace and security. The EU is thus a staunch supporter of the United Nations and of effective multilateralism. Functioning multilateral disarmament regimes are a vital component of an intact international security framework based on a human security approach.

The European Union's action in this field is based on the following key texts:

The EU supports the universalisation of international treaties and other instruments as well as their full implementation.

Together with New York and Vienna, Geneva is one of the main centers for international diplomacy in security, disarmament and non-proliferation. It is home to the Conference on Disarmament - the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body - and to the Geneva Branch of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. The latter acts as secretariat to a wide range of multilateral disarmament agreements. Geneva is also home to dozens of institutions active in the field of security policy. The EU is one of the largest donors to the UN Office for Disarmament (UNODA) with a contribution of $ 4,7 million over the past three years (January 2010 - December 2012). The EU's voluntary contributions have supported a wide spectrum of the Office's activities: from controlling of small arms and stockpiling of ammunition to strengthening the biologic and toxic weapons convention. See more here

The EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva assures the relationship between the EU institutions and all these Geneva based disarmament and security fora.

Main Geneva-based disarmament and non-proliferation fora

  • The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. It focuses on the following core issues: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; 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; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons including radiological weapons; comprehensive programme of disarmament and transparency in armaments. The membership of the CD is limited to 65 countries. The European Union participates in the work of the Conference on Disarmament through the delegation of the EU Member State holding the Presidency of the Council. The EU advocates for the expansion of the membership of the CD and for the participation of civil society in the deliberations of the Conference.
  • The 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction is usually referred to as the Ottawa Convention or the Mine Ban Treaty. To date, 161 states have formally agreed to be bound by the Convention, including all 28 EU Member States. The EU adopted in November 2012 a Council Decision in support of the implementation of the Cartagena Action Plan. The projects under this Council Decision are under way and focus on implementation of commitments on victim assistance and mine clearance as well as on universalization efforts. They are being pursued in such a way that the Convention's historic culture of partnership and collaboration between States, NGO's and other organizations and local partners is being reinforced. The total amount for the implementation of the Council Decision is more than 1 million EUR. Its technical implementation is entrusted to the ISU of the Convention. In total, the EU, in addition to the significant contributions made by its Member States, has committed more than 43 million Euros to mine action in 2012.
  • The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production and use of an entire category of weapons. The BWC has 170 States Parties, including all 28 Member States. In July 2012, the EU, building on its previous Joint Actions, adopted a Council Decision in support of the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), ensuring continued support and financial contribution of 1.7 million EUR to increase adherence to and promotion of the implementation of the BWC. The technical implementation of the projects is entrusted to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs / BWC –ISU. The EU has also launched the CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiative which aims at enhancing the institutional capacity of partner countries to mitigate CBRN risks, whether they are criminal, accidental or natural in origin. Thirty one projects amounting to EUR 40 million were launched and contracting is underway. The CoE's Initiative is continuing and should reach a total budget of nearly EUR 100 million by the end of 2013.
  • The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, also known as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) comprises a convention and five protocols, which ban or restrict the use of various types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary suffering or that affect either soldiers or civilians indiscriminately. All 28 EU Member States are States parties to the CCW. Meetings of the High Contracting Parties to the CCW , as well as annual and experts Meetings of Amended Protocol II and Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War take place in a yearly basis in Geneva.
  • The lengthy process of negotiations on cluster munitions within the CCW framework led in February 2007 46 like-minded governments to meet in Oslo to endorse a call by Norway to conclude a new legally binding instrument on cluster munitions outside the UN. The Cluster Munitions Convention (CCM) was adopted in 2008 by 107 governments in Dublin. Its aims are to prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, as well as to destroy existing stockpiles of the weapons, clear contaminated areas and assist survivors and affected communities. As of 1st July 2013 a total of 112 states have joined the Convention, as 83 States parties and 29 Signatories, including 22 EU Member States. The Fourth Meeting of States Parties will take place in Lusaka, Zambia, from the 9th to 13th September 2013. EU Mine Action initially focused on the implementation of the Anti Personnel Landmine Convention commitments but has since extended its scope to all explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions remnants. In providing assistance for clearance operations and victim assistance, like many donors, we do not differentiate between the types of explosive remnants. In total, the EU, in addition to the significant contributions made by its Member States, has committed more than 43 million Euros to mine action in heavily affected countries (and areas) in 2012 demonstrating our continuing commitment to a safer world.

EU statements on disarmament

You can find all EU statements delivered in Geneva on disarmament here

Latest news on disarmament

20/04/15 - EU Council conclusions on the Ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

30/03/15 - On 40th anniversary of the Biological Weapons Convention EU reiterates its call for universalisation

25/09/14 - Arms Trade Treaty to officially enter into force with strong EU support

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