President of the 2nd Review Conference (2RC), H.E. Mr. Félix Baumann, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament, held a virtual briefing on 18 June 2021 to provide an update on the process in the lead up to the hosting of Part 2 of the 2RC.
Ambassador Baumann reminded that due to the COVID-19 situation, States Parties to the Convention had agreed for the 2RC to take place in two parts. Part 1 was held in virtual format on 25-27 November 2020 and Part 2 has been further postponed until the health situation allows for the holding of the Conference in hybrid format. Since the beginning of the year, the President has continuously monitored the situation and provided States Parties with regular updates through letters.
The recent easing of gathering restrictions that came into effect on 31 May 2021 allows for conferences organized by international organizations to take place as long as certain conditions are met, such as occupying a maximum of half of the available seats in the venue and maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between each seat. The Swiss Presidency had worked with the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) to explore options for dates to conclude the Review Conference before the summer holidays. Unfortunately, due to various logistical obstacles, no feasible dates could be obtained during this period.
After consultation with the Coordination Committee, Ambassador Baumann affirmed that the most realistic option would be to hold the 2RC Part 2 during the week originally foreseen for the 10th Meeting of States Parties (10MSP), potentially on 20-21 September 2021, as a room had already been reserved for the event. A silence procedure to confirm the proposed new dates of the Conference will be held soon, followed by another briefing by the President in late August or early September.