Disarmament and non-proliferation

Sculpture "The Broken Chair" in Geneva, dedicated to the victims of landmines
"The Broken Chair", a monument to landmine victims and symbolic appeal for respect for human rights, Place des Nations, Geneva, 2010 © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Geneva is the principal multilateral platform for disarmament and arms control. It is home to the Conference on Disarmament, several international disarmament treaties and many of the players in this field.

Conference on Disarmament

Switzerland is one of the 65 member states of the Conference on Disarmament that convenes every year in Geneva. The Conference on Disarmament was established by the United Nations as the single permanent multilateral forum of the international community for negotiating disarmament. The agenda of the Conference on Disarmament comprises the following four main themes:

  • The treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons;
  • Nuclear disarmament;
  • Negative security assurances;
  • Prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Switzerland strongly believes in the importance of these four dossiers and supports the initiation of negotiations on the development of legally binding standards on all these themes. It is especially committed to overcoming current deadlocks and revitalising the work of the Conference on Disarmament, which has been unable to fulfil its mandate for the last 15 years.

Statements by Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament

International treaties

The following four main multilateral disarmament treaties are covered by the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which carries out the necessary follow-up on their implementation:

  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention;
  • The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons;
  • The Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention;
  • The Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Within the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention Switzerland works to promote the adoption of concrete measures to ensure the instrument's implementation. Its aim is to meet the challenges presented by ongoing developments in the life sciences and those linked to compliance with the convention's provisions. Switzerland assumed the presidency of the meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention in 2014.

Switzerland plays a coordination role in the context of the Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In both cases it actively promotes the full implementation of these instruments and works to meet the challenges confronting them, such as their universalisation, questions concerning demining, and needs in the context of cooperation and assistance.

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) 

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), whose secretariat has been based in Geneva since 2016, establishes for the first time binding standards under international law to regulate and control the international trade in conventional arms, combat the illegal arms trade and at the same time alleviate human suffering.