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Geneva represents the main international forum in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. The Conference on Disarmament is based in Geneva and was established in 1979 as a result of the decisions taken during the first Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations General Assembly (SSOD-I), held in 1978.

The Conference on Disarmament, together with the Disarmament Committee and the United Nations First Committee, also established during SSOD-I, is a fundamental component of the so-called “United Nations Disarmament machinery” as well as the first and most important multilateral disarmament negotiating forum at the disposal of the international community.

Geneva hosts most of the annual meetings of the States Parties of some of the major Conventions and Treaties related both to weapons of mass destruction and to conventional weapons. These include the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC); the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its annexed Protocols; the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (APMBC); the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM); and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

In addition, some preparatory meetings of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conferences also take place in Geneva.

Since Geneva hosts the Implementation Support Units (ISU) of the majority of the above-mentioned conventions, it constitutes one of the “ beating hearts ” of disarmament and non-proliferation, supported also by the activities of a wide network of international and non-governmental organizations, as well as specialized research institutions.