The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a forum established by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. Established in 1979, it was the forum used by its member states, currently numbering 65, to negotiate the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
While the conference is not formally a United Nations (UN) organization, it is linked to the UN through a personal representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; this representative serves as the secretary general of the conference. Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly often request the conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, the conference annually reports its activities to the Assembly.
The Conference succeeded the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962–68) and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (1969–78).
In the 1990s, the Conference held intensive efforts over three years to draft the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty text and its two annexes, but it did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text. Australia then sent the text to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, where it was submitted as a draft resolution. On 10 September 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by a large majority, exceeding two-thirds of the General Assembly's Membership.
Currently under discussion are a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), a pact to prevent an arms race in outer space (PAROS), nuclear disarmament, and negative security assurances (NSA).
On June 28, 2011, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) was appointed to serve a term as president of the Conference. Despite the fact that the chairmanship rotates alphabetically, the move was criticized in the media and by Canada's foreign minister because of the country's track record on nuclear proliferation.
From May 27 to June 23, 2013, the Islamic Republic of Iran was acting chair and president of the Conference on Disarmament. The United States said it refused to send any ambassador to a UN forum on nuclear disarmament when being chaired by a country “in flagrant violation” of UN Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency obligations stemming from its suspect nuclear program.
The conference's 65 members represent all areas of the world, including all known nuclear-weapon states.