The role of the Mission [fr]
Discover the mission of the Conference on Disarmament
The French mission represents France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. The diplomats follow the activities of the Conference and the other forums about disarmament in Geneva. They ensure a French participation adapted to what is at stake in the different meetings. They also represent the French government’s positions and defend the interests of the nation. They make sure that the latter are taken into account within the negotiations, in agreement with the European and international partners. The diplomats afterwards report these activities to the attention of the French authorities.
The mission furthermore follows the work of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the United Nations General Assembly which is held in New York every October.
Thus, the Mission has two responsibilities : a national responsibility (ensuring that the French interests are represented and supporting the French presence within these forums and organisations) and a shared responsibility (defining the broad guidelines of these forums and following the implementation of the undertaken commitments). Those missions are different from those of the Embassy, which ensures the bilateral relations between France and Switzerland (located in Bern).
Led by the Permanent representative, assisted by the deputy permanent representative, the team gathers around ten people, including three diplomats. The mission has also a military defence post (military mission), gathering together a senior officer and his assistant. The senior officer’s role is to military advise the permanent representative. The officer depends on the Ministry of Defence and ensures the link with the French military authorities on the Disarmament issues discussed in Geneva.
The diplomats of the mission represent France at the Conference on Disarmament, during the formal and informal meetings about the conventions on disarmament negotiated within the United Nations (Convention on certain Conventional Weapons, Biological weapons convention, Arms Trade Treaty, Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, Non Proliferation Treaty…) or outside of the UN framework (Anti personal landmines Convention, Oslo Convention on cluster munitions). They also represent France to the meetings and the conferences of the Genevan centres on Disarmament (DCAF, CIDHG, GCSP…).
The defence of the French positions can result in the negotiation of written documents (treaties, protocols), statements in a national capacity, or the participation to seminars as an institutional speaker. Consultations within smaller groups or in a bilateral approach are part of the usual formats as well.
These activities are mainly held in the United Nations office (Palais des Nations) or in the European Union offices where the delegations of the EU member states agree on their positions upstream and during the negotiations. Sometimes, punctually, negotiations are held outside of Geneva (mainly in New York, where the United Nations headquarters are located). To complete their role, diplomats maintain contacts with numerous institutional actors (from the United Nations or delegations to the Conference on Disarmament and other international organisations) and civil society. After these meetings, they account for the evolution of the negotiations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they seek instructions.
The permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in Geneva and the international organisations in Switzerland website...
The permanent mission of France to the United Nations in New York website...
The French Embassy in Bern website ...
The Consulate of France in Geneva website...