Disarmament and Non-proliferation

  • The Conference on Disarmament

    The Conference on Disarmament Photo: Ulf Lindell

"The proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is still one of the most serious threats of our time. … It is crucial that the Non- roliferation Treaty is fully respected. …We also support the efforts for continued reductions in global nuclear weapons arsenals, including tactical nuclear weapons in our part of the world."   – From the statement of Government Policy in the Parliamentary Debate on Foreign Affairs, 15 February 2012.


The section for disarmament affairs at the Swedish Permanent Mission in Geneva represents Sweden in all disarmament fora in Geneva.

The Conference on Disarmament, the CD, was established in 1979. It is the only standing multilateral forum for negotiations on disarmament. In May of 2009, a programme of work was adopted in the CD, which, inter alia, would have enabled the conference to begin negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes (an FMCT). Unfortunately, it has, so far, not been possible to implement this programme. Efforts continue in order to bring about substantive negotiations in the CD, not least on an FMCT.

Sweden has actively contributed to all the major treaties which have been negotiated in the CD, such as the convention on the prohibition of biological and toxin weapons (BWC), the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons (CWC), and the comprehensive test-ban treaty (CTBT).

The Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention (the Ottawa Convention) entered into force in 1999. It currently (January 2014) has 161 states parties. The main purpose of this convention is a total ban on use, development, production, acquisition, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines. Sweden completed the destruction of its anti-personnel mines in 2002. The convention also contains a number of provisions on measures to address the consequences of past use of anti-personnel mines, such as mine clearance, victim assistance, and stockpile destruction. Sweden contributes approximately SEK 100 million annually in support of such measures. The convention’s Implementation Support Unit (ISU) is located in Geneva.

The convention on the prohibition of biological and toxin weapons (BTWC) entered into force in 1975. It was then the first treaty banning an entire category of weapons. The meetings on the implementation of the convention are held in Geneva, for instance the 7th review conference, held in December 2011, as well as annual meetings of experts and meetings of States Parties. Sweden and the European Union work for a strengthened implementation process, as well as for universalization.

The Convention on Certain Conventional weapons (CCW) regulates or prohibits certain types of conventional weapons which are deemed to be excessively injurious for soldiers as well as civilians. These categories include incendiary weapons, permanently blinding laser weapons, mines and explosive remnants of war. The most recent CCW negotiations – which have not, however, resulted in new protocols – have concerned anti-vehicle mines and cluster munitions. Sweden currently holds the presidency of the CCW’s Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Both the BTWC and the CCW have units for implementation support in Geneva.

In December 2008, Sweden signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). This convention, which was negotiated within the so called Oslo Process, was agreed earlier that year and entered into force in 2010. It contains a ban on the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. Currently (January 2014) the Convention has 84 States Parties. Sweden ratified the CCM in April 2012 and formally became a State Party in October 2012. During the period 2012-2014 Sweden is one of the coordinators for cooperation and assistance within the CCM.

Conventions ratified by Sweden

  • The Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT
  • The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT
  • The Biological Weapons Convention, BTWC
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC
  • The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, CCW
  • The Anti-personnel Mine Ban Treaty, The Ottawa Convention
  • The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

Organizations and processes covered by the Mission

The Mission follows the implementation of most of the above-mentioned conventions. (The implementation of the CTBT and the CWC is, however, mainly covered in Vienna and the Hague, respectively.)

The section for disarmament affairs is also responsible – along with colleagues from the New York Mission and the Department for Disarmament and Non- proliferation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs – for Sweden’s participation in the work of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly each autumn. The committee adopts resolutions which establish common norms for the member states of the UN.

The section for disarmament affairs consists of two officers. They are also active in the local coordination within the European Union.

Sweden’s permanent representative in the CD is Ambassador Jan Knutsson.

Swedish priorities

Sweden’s objectives are to achieve the reduction and elimination of weapons of mass destruction and to prevent their proliferation. Another objective is to limit the uncontrolled proliferation of conventional weapons.

Of particular relevance is currently the efforts contribute to achieving the amount of ratifications necessary for the Test-Ban Treaty to enter into force. In the CD, Sweden promotes the start of negotiations on substance, primarily on a treaty on a ban on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes (FMCT).

Sweden supports the continuous strengthening of the NPT regime through a broad and balanced implementation of all its pillars, including the process aiming at a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Sweden has an interest in promoting further arms control measures concerning sub-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons. Another priority has been  to work for a strong treaty on regulations on international arms trade, the ATT, which was finally adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013. Sweden was one of the 62 countries signing the ATT on the date it opened for signature (June 3, 2013).

It is important to Sweden that the EU pursues policies aiming at disarmament as well as non-proliferation. In 2008, the EU heads of state and government issued a declaration on strengthening international security, with a particular focus on matters related to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of  ass destruction and the prevention of terrorism. Within the EU, work on small arms and light weapons (SALW) is based on a programme of action to combat destabilizing accumulations and proliferation of SALW. On a practical level, extensive activities are undertaken in order to reduce the illicit proliferation of  SALW.

Swedish policy on disarmament and non-proliferation is formulated in the Department for Disarmament and Non-proliferation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (UD-NIS).

For further reading in English, please see the home page of the MFA Department for Disarmament and Non-proliferation