Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, at the 2015 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (New York, 07 April 2015)

Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your election as Chairman of the Commission this year. On behalf of my delegation, I assure you of our full support and cooperation.

Pakistan associates itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Mr. Chairman,

The global security landscape is becoming increasingly complex. Even as old disputes remain unresolved in some regions, new conflicts and tensions have emerged from Europe and the Middle East to Asia. The promise of a new century of peace and stability is now giving way to the gloomy advent of new cold wars.

The disarmament regime and architecture is not immune from this larger trend. There are clear differences of perspective, approach and modalities among member States to deal with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Progress on nuclear disarmament remains stalled. Some Nuclear Weapon States are neither willing to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons nor their modernization programmes, even as they pursue non-proliferation with messianic zeal. And, some thirty non-nuclear-weapon States – members of nuclear-armed alliances – continue to rely robustly on nuclear weapons while advocating abstinence by other States facing real security deficits, some of which are exacerbated by extravagant arms exports and nuclear cooperation.

Many States continue to pursue policies of granting waivers and exemptions from long-held non-proliferation principles, thus contributing to insecurity and imbalances in certain regions – especially South Asia. Military expenditures are rising and conventional weapons inventories expanding, including in South Asia.

Meanwhile, new threats have arisen in areas such as hostile use of Outer Space, offensive cyber capabilities including cyber attacks on safeguarded nuclear facilities, development and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and armed drones, as well as the development of advanced conventional hypersonic systems of global reach.

Mr. Chairman,

The existing and emerging challenges to global and regional security, and consequentially to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, need to be addressed holistically on the basis of constructive and cooperative multilateralism. For over a decade, Pakistan has been advocating renewal and rebuilding of an international consensus on disarmament issues inter alia based on the principle of equal security for all. This Commission, as a deliberative body with universal membership, can play an important role in evolving such a consensus.

We recognize that consensus building will be a difficult task, but we take this opportunity to put forward some ideas that we feel are essential to promote greater cooperation in strengthening global security:

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan welcomes the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty. We consider this milestone as a first step towards regulating trade and transfer of conventional weapons. Trade and transfer issues are organically linked to equally important aspects of excessive production and exports as well as arms control. A comprehensive approach is therefore needed to deal with both causes and manifestations of violence, wars and killings, arising from the use of conventional weapons – small or large.

Mr. Chairman,

We support the development of confidence-building measures in the area of conventional arms. This has remained one of the traditional items on the UNDC’s agenda and we have contributed constructively to deliberations on this in the last decade. We look forward to the Commission's proceedings on this important issue this year.

Mr. Chairman,

The challenges facing the international disarmament agenda and machinery are exclusive neither to the UNDC nor to the CD. Other parts of the disarmament machinery are confronted with similar difficulties.

Let us consider the state of affairs in the First Committee. In the past ten years, several measures have been taken to rationalize and improve the Committee’s methods of work. The primary goals of these efforts were to achieve efficiency and effectiveness and also “results”. Yet, despite these measures, the effectiveness, authority and results of the First Committee are apparent. More importantly, changes in working methods have not led to results on substance, as for example, movement on the priority accorded to nuclear disarmament.

Similarly, this Commission has not been able to agree on any document for more than a decade and half. The differences in perceptions and priorities among member States have been so profound that the Commission was not able, at times, to even agree on the wording of its nuclear agenda item. The Disarmament Commission has also attempted, in its own way, to aid the improvement of its working methods.

There is of course always room for more improvement but the real issue is how to deal with political dynamics and developments outside the UN’s conference rooms. We stand ready to engage delegations in efforts to reinvigorate this Commission as well as other elements of the global disarmament machinery.

Finally Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan calls for the convening of a Fourth Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD-IV) as it can provide the best chance for breaking the current impasse in disarmament, reenergize the role of the UN in promoting cooperative multilateralism in global security, and respond to the demands of civil society worldwide to seek a world secure and safe without nuclear and other non-conventional and advanced conventional weapons.

The high-level segments of the General Assembly and the Conference on Disarmament, while valuable are no substitute for SSOD-IV. If some 50 plus heads of State and Government can meet every two years since 2010 at Nuclear Security Summits that deal with the security of about 15% of the world’s nuclear material; surely world leaders should meet in the General Assembly’s Special Disarmament Session to discuss security in a world of some 17,000 nuclear warheads.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.