Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control
Disarmament, arms control and non proliferation are priorities of German foreign and security policy. The post of Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control was created in 1965 in recognition of the close link existing between efforts to reunify Germany and the disarmament negotiations of the major powers.
The Commissioner, since August 2011 Ambassador Rolf Nikel, heads the Directorate General for Disarmament and Arms Control in the Federal Foreign Office.
Implementing the goals of the coalition agreement
In line with the coalition agreement, the German Government actively supports the proposals presented by US President Obama for far reaching new disarmament initiatives. The Government will work both within NATO and together with our American allies for the withdrawal of the last nuclear weapons remaining on German soil.
Our goal is the modernization of conventional arms control in Europe. Working towards this goal, we are pressing for the existing Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) to be fully implemented by all States Parties.
Parameters: the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
The Directorate General for Disarmament and Arms Control works closely with EU member states, Alliance partners and other partner countries worldwide. Within the CFSP framework high priority is given to the EU strategy to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (adopted on 12 December 2003). The EU strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition (adopted on 16 December 2005) is a prime example of what is being done in the EU to tackle new and increasingly pressing problems. The EU strategies focus on cooperation based on legally binding and verifiable agreements. Active use is made also of other coordination bodies and cooperation mechanisms within NATO and the OSCE.
Intensive contact with the United Nations (UN)
The United Nations is the platform for building a global coalition to tackle the security challenges of the 21st century. The Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control therefore works closely with representatives of UN member countries and the UN along with its subsidiary organizations and specialized agencies to strengthen and further develop the existing multilateral instruments for disarmament, arms control and non proliferation. A key role is played here by the permanent UN bodies for negotiations on disarmament and arms control such as the General Assembly First Committee and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is also increasingly significant in this context, particularly since its safeguards agreements play an important role in monitoring civilian nuclear plants in member countries.
Coordinating implementation of international agreements
As well as analyzing and developing new disarmament and non proliferation policy fields, the Commissioner is very active in decision making bodies concerned with the implementation, further development and strengthening of existing international agreements and coordination mechanisms such as the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Ottawa Convention on a global ban on anti-personnel mines, the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the CFE Treaty etc. In spheres where instruments and mechanisms for multilateral disarmament, arms control and non proliferation are still lacking, the Commissioner endeavours to advance the debate on and negotiation of new international agreements.
The most recent example is the Convention on Cluster Munitions (signed in Oslo in December 2008), which Germany was one of the first countries to sign and which it ratified in July 2009. The German Government led the field internationally by immediately and unilaterally foregoing this category of munitions.
Responding to violations of international agreements
When international agreements on non proliferation are violated, as in the case of Iran for example, the Commissioner works with great dedication and in close cooperation with our partners to ensure that international norms are respected. Together with the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain (E3+3), Germany is endeavouring to ensure that the Iranian nuclear programme serves exclusively peaceful ends. The E3+3 have on several occasions put offers on the table, but Iran has as yet failed to take them up.
Support for regional organizations
The Commissioner also supports efforts to strengthen regional security through regional organizations. He works actively in the OSCE area, for example, on issues such as the implementation of the CFE Treaty, the Treaty on Open Skies and the Vienna Document. In south eastern Europe the Commissioner supports intensified cooperation among the countries of the region and encourages them in their attempts to draw closer to European and transatlantic structures. Various schemes have been carried out with the aim of promoting cooperative security and confidence building.
Disarmament and non proliferation projects
Under the auspices of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction launched in 2002 at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, the Commissioner coordinates action by Germany designed in particular to prevent nuclear materials getting into the wrong hands and to destroy chemical weapons.
Summary of activities
The annual Disarmament Reports provide the best summary of the activities of the Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control.
The 2011 Disarmament Report is available here:
Last updated 10.01.2013