The International Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission met in Washington on 30 April 2009 under the chairmanship of Dr. Hans Blix to refocus attention on the comprehensive recommendations of its 2006 Report, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms and in particular on those relating to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament to redouble their efforts at the present hopeful and crucial time. While the declaration marks the conclusion for the Commission s collective work, its members will remain active and be ready to join others in a new forceful wave to revive and achieve global disarmament. Full text of WMDC Declaration 30 April 2009
WMDC Report 'Weapons of Terror' published in French
A French translation of the Report 'Weapons of Terror - Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms' has been published by the Editions l'Harmattan in Paris. The translation work was carried out by Venance Journé including a preface by WMDC Chairman Dr. Hans Blix. To purchase the Report go to the following website
The WMDC Report Weapons of Terror is now available in Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, Japanese, Russian and Spanish in addition to its original language English. German and Swedish translations of the Report summary and recommendations are also available. It is our hope that these translations will contribute to a further dissemination of the WMDC conclusions, adding to the approximately 35 000 printed copies already distributed world wide.
Following the successful launch of the WMDC Report Weapons of Terror Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms, great interest was expressed to translate the Report into additional languages in order to reach a further dissemination of the Report. During 2007 the various translation processes were initiated. The WMDC was pleased to present the completion of its sixth translated version of the WMDC Report at the beginning of 2008.
Translating the Report, with its complex and specific terminology, is a time-consuming process and careful balance act. The valuable contributions of qualified proofreaders with expertise in the field, many of whom are WMDC Commissioners, have guaranteed high quality of each translation. Some of the translations have been carried out free of charge by NGO s involved in disarmament work while others have been financed by the generous financial contribution by the Simons Foundation. The WMDC is immensely grateful for this support.
The first translated version of the Report to be released was the Spanish edition, translated by UNESCO Extea and launched by Dr. Blix in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid in April 2007. The China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA) completed the Chinese translation. It was launched by Commissioner Bailes at a ceremony in Beijing on 8 May. Commissioner Arbatov took the initiative to translate the Report into Russian a task carried out by the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). Dr. Blix and Commissioner Arbatov launched the Russian version together in Moscow on 17 May. The organization Peace Boat has been responsible for the Japanese translation that was published in October of 2007, after the proofreading of Commissioner Nishihara. Great interest was expressed in publishing Weapons of Terror in Arabic during Dr. Blix visit to Egypt at the beginning of 2007. The Centre for Arab Unity Studies based in Beirut, were asked to carry out the translation with proofreading completed by Ambassador Mohamed Shaker. The Arabic version was published in December 2007. Moreover, the WMDC Secretariat was pleased to accept the Association for the Promotion of Peace Literature s offer to translate the Report into Finnish free of charge. Ambassador Holger Rotkirch has been responsible for proofreading the Report, which was published in January 2008. The Swedish branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF, along with the WMDC Secretariat, translated the Report Summary and recommendations into Swedish, which have been distributed widely in the Swedish NGO-community. Lastly, the German translation was carried out by students at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz under the supervision of Regina Hagen from the International network of Engineers and Scientists against Proliferation. Ambassador Björn Skala has proofread the text to ensure its high quality.
The releases have been major successes, extensively covered by media and sent to numerous institutions and individuals worldwide. It is our hope that the translations will contribute to a further dissemination of the WMDC:s conclusions and that a broader public will become aware of the present threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in the translations, and a particular thanks to Commissioners Arbatov, Azambuja, Pan Zhenqiang and Nishihara, as well as to Ambassadors Mohamed Shaker, Holger Rotkirch and Björn Skala, for their vital assistance in proofreading the translated texts.
The WMDC Secretariat welcomes any comments or questions regarding the Report Weapons of Terror.
The Report is available in the various languages on the WMDC website and can also be ordered as a printed copy (send your request to [email protected]).
The Final Report has been launched, and the exciting initial period of its lifespan is coming to an end. The Report is finding its place in the international debate and it is starting to lead a life of its own. The work has been successful in generating a debate among civil society actors and among states. The Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Hans Blix, has traveled around the world promoting the Report and its recommendations. He has been supported by the Commissioners with insights and observations on regional aspects of the issue of disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation.
The Report has been presented to a number of Governments around the world, at various NGO-events, and at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in October. In light of the encouraging response that the Report has received, it has recently been launched in Spanish, and Chinese, Japanese and Russian translations are underway.
The WMDC looks forward to providing continued support to Governments, NGO:s and others, in absorbing the work of the Commission into political processes and concrete action.
New proposals to reduce threats by weapons of mass destruction
On 1 June the WMDC Chairman Dr. Hans Blix presented the Commission report "Weapons of Terror" to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York. The report contains sixty concrete proposals on how the world could be freed of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
The report was also handed over to Sweden's Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson, also president of the United Nations General Assembly.
After the hand over of the report, a UN spokesman announced that the Secretary-General welcomes the release of the report of the Independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. He stresses that this report will be an important contribution to the debate on disarmament and non-proliferation. The Secretary-General urges the international community to study the report and consider its recommendations.
Statement by Sweden s Prime Minister Göran Persson
Disarmament and non-proliferation issues are extraordinarily important for global peace and security. Anna Lindh, who was Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time, displayed this insight when she asked Hans Blix in 2003 to lead the international Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, comments Prime Minister Göran Persson.
Since the Commission was appointed, disarmament and non-proliferation issues have become even more urgent. The fact that the Blix Commission has been able to agree on a large number of concrete proposals therefore inspires hope, Mr Persson continues.
The UN World Summit in September failed to agree on measures in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. Consequently, renewed efforts are needed at international level to get disarmament and non-proliferation work moving. The Swedish Government is actively pushing this issue. The Blix report is a very important part of our continued efforts.
Comments by WMDC Chairman
Listen to comments by Dr. Hans Blix and his assessment of the report and the work of The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) released its report entitled WEAPONS OF TERROR: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms on 1 June 2006. Commission Chairman Dr. Hans Blix presented it to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the UN Headquarters in New York, and thereafter to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Mr. Jan Eliasson, to whom Dr. Blix expressed his and the Commission s gratitude to the Swedish Government for having established and assumed the main financial responsibility of the WMDC.
The launch of the report was the starting point for a number of activities and events.
The WMD Commission was launched by the Government of Sweden in Stockholm on December 16, 2003 to respond to the recent, profoundly worrying developments in international security, and in particular to investigate ways of reducing the dangers from nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons.
Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the former head of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, the WMD Commission comprises 14 eminent members, representing a broad and relevant geographical and political base with a vast reservoir of expert knowledge and political experience, spanning the governmental, academic and nongovernmental arenas. The Commissioners serve in their personal capacity. They meet periodically, discuss the issues, assess a range of expert studies and contribute their analyses, thoughts and proposals to the collective work of the Commission.
The Commission s mandate is comprehensive, including not only the proliferation and possession of nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons, and the means of delivering them, such as missiles, but also terrorism-related issues and ways of preventing the acquisition and use of these devastating weapons. The Commission aims to develop realistic proposals for the greatest possible reduction of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, including both short-term and long-term approaches and both non-proliferation and disarmament aspects.
The idea of an independent commission on weapons of mass destruction was initially put forward in 2002 by Jayantha Dhanapala, then UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs. Concerned that in the post 9/11 geostrategic environment, weapons of mass destruction were acquiring a revived and dangerous attraction not only for states, but also for nonstate actors, such as terrorists, the idea arose from the need to find fresh and comprehensive approaches to addressing these threats from the perspectives of non-proliferation and disarmament, as well as preventing terrorism. The initiative was taken up in 2003 by the late Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, who asked Dr Blix to set up and chair the WMD Commission.
Whether or not the threats have actually grown more serious, it must be acknowledged that fears of a nuclear or radiological weapon being detonated in a major city or of anthrax or other lethal, infective or toxic agents being released on public transport or covertly distributed among the population are more acute today than ten years ago. The existing agreements and domestic and international efforts, although relatively successful in some areas, have been unable effectively and comprehensively to address evolving threats or allay growing fears about the acquisition and use of such weapons of mass destruction.
The WMD Commission follows in the steps of earlier independent commissions in seeking fresh ways to approach these challenges. Of particular note are the 1996 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the 1999 Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, which both focused on nuclear weapons. While their results and the proposals remain of great value, the political and international security context has since changed considerably, and the options must now be revisited.
The Commission also benefits from the examples set by earlier international commissions, such as the Brandt Commission, the Brundtland Commission or the Commission on Human Security. In addition to commissioning research and meeting three to four times a year, the WMD Commission may arrange seminars, hearings and conferences in different countries, in cooperation with relevant institutes and research institutions. The Commission will also undertake various outreach activities and involve civil society and non-governmental organisations through presentations, hearings, conferences, website and e-mail. Though some studies will be especially commissioned, we also welcome concise, substantive contributions from others, including governments and interested civil society individuals and institutions. The Commission will consider all relevant suggestions and recommendations for future measures to reduce the dangers from weapons of mass destruction, and the best of the research will be made available through our website or other means.
Our ambition is that the work of the Commission will assess the real threats and available responses, raise public awareness and stimulate new thinking on the major security challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons. The Commission looks forward to working with you to find effective ways to eliminate dangers and prevent the acquisition or use of all weapons of mass destruction.