Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – Seventh Review Conference
Rules of procedure
(adopted by the Conference on 2 May 2005)
I. Representation and credentials
Delegations of Parties to the Treaty
1. Each State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (hereinafter “the Treaty”) may be represented at the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty (hereinafter the “Conference”) by a head of delegation and such other representatives, alternate representatives and advisers as may be required.
2. The head of delegation may designate an alternate representative or an adviser to act as a representative.
The credentials of representatives and the names of alternate representatives and advisers shall be submitted to the Secretary-General of the Conference, if possible not less than one week before the date fixed for the opening of the Conference. Credentials shall be issued either by the head of the State or Government or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Conference shall establish a Credentials Committee composed of the Chairman and two Vice-Chairmen elected in accordance with rule 5, and six members appointed by the Conference on the proposal of the President. The Committee shall examine the credentials of representatives and report to the Conference without delay.
Pending a decision of the Conference upon their credentials, representatives shall be entitled to participate provisionally in the Conference.
The Conference shall elect the following officers: a President and thirty-four Vice-Presidents, as well as a Chairman and two Vice-Chairmen for each of the three Main Committees, the Drafting Committee and the Credentials Committee. The officers shall be elected so as to ensure a representative distribution of posts.
1. If the President is absent from a meeting or any part thereof, he shall designate a Vice-President to take his place.
2. A Vice-President acting as President shall have the same powers and duties as the President.
Voting rights of the President
The President, or a Vice-President acting as President, shall not vote, but shall appoint another member of his delegation to vote in his place.
III. General Committee
1. The General Committee shall be composed of the President of the Conference, who shall preside, the thirty-four Vice-Presidents, the Chairmen of the three Main Committees, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee and the Chairman of the Credentials Committee. No two members of the General Committee shall be members of the same delegation and it shall be so constituted as to ensure its representative character.
2. If the President is unable to attend a meeting of the General Committee, he may designate a Vice-President to preside at such meeting and a member of his delegation to take his place. If a Vice-President is unable to attend, he may designate a member of his delegation to take his place. If the Chairman of a Main Committee, the Drafting Committee or the Credentials Committee is unable to attend, he may designate one of the Vice-Chairmen to take his place, with the right to vote unless he is of the same delegation as another member of the General Committee.
The General Committee shall assist the President in the general conduct of the business of the Conference and, subject to the decisions of the Conference, shall ensure the coordination of its work.
IV. Conference Secretariat
Duties of the Secretary-General of the Conference
1. There shall be a Secretary-General of the Conference. He shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the Conference, its committees and subsidiary bodies, and may designate a member of the Secretariat to act in his place at these meetings.
2. The Secretary-General of the Conference shall direct the staff required by the Conference.
Duties of the Secretariat
The Secretariat of the Conference shall, in accordance with these rules:
(a) Interpret speeches made at meetings;
(b) Receive, translate and circulate the documents of the Conference;
(c) Publish and circulate any report of the Conference;
(d) Make and arrange for the keeping of sound recordings and summary records of meetings;
(e) Arrange for the custody of documents of the Conference in the archives of the United Nations and provide authentic copies of these documents to each of the depository Governments; and
(f) Generally perform all other work that the Conference may require.
The costs of the Conference, including the sessions of the Preparatory Committee, will be met by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in the Conference in accordance with the schedule for the division of costs as shown in the appendix to these Rules.
V. Conduct of business
1. A majority of the States Parties to the Treaty participating in the Conference shall constitute a quorum.
2. To determine whether the Conference is quorate, any State Party may call for a roll call at any time.
General powers of the President
1. In addition to exercising the powers conferred upon him elsewhere by these Rules, the President shall preside at the plenary meetings of the Conference; he shall declare the opening and closing of each meeting, direct the discussion, ensure observance of these Rules, accord the right to speak, ascertain consensus, put questions to the vote and announce decisions. He shall rule on points of order. The President, subject to these Rules, shall have complete control of the proceedings and over the maintenance of order thereat. The President may propose to the Conference the closure of the list of speakers, a limitation on the time to be allowed to speakers and on the number of times the representative of each State may speak on the question, the adjournment or the closure of the debate and the suspension or the adjournment of a meeting.
2. The President, in the exercise of his functions, remains under the authority of the Conference.
Points of order
A representative may at any time raise a point of order, which shall be immediately decided by the President in accordance with these Rules. A representative may appeal against the ruling of the President. The appeal shall be immediately put to the vote, and the President’s ruling shall stand unless overruled by a majority of the representatives present and voting. A representative may not, in raising a point of order, speak on the substance of the matter under discussion.
1. No one may address the Conference without having previously obtained the permission of the President. Subject to rules 15, 17 and 19 to 22, the President shall call upon speakers in the order in which they signify their desire to speak.
2. Debate shall be confined to the subject under discussion and the President may call a speaker to order if his remarks are not relevant thereto.
3. The Conference may limit the time allowed to speakers and the number of times the representative of each State may speak on a question; permission to speak on a motion to set such limits shall be accorded only to two representatives in favour of and to two opposing such limits, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote. In any event, the President shall limit interventions on procedural questions to a maximum of five minutes. When the debate is limited and a speaker exceeds the allotted time, the President shall call him to order without delay.
The Chairman of a committee may be accorded precedence for the purpose of explaining the conclusion arrived at by his committee.
Closing of list of speakers
During the course of a debate the President may announce the list of speakers and, with the consent of the Conference, declare the list closed. When the debate on an item is concluded because there are no more speakers, the President shall declare the debate closed. Such closure shall have the same effect as closure pursuant to rule 22.
Right of reply
Notwithstanding rule 18, the President may accord the right of reply to a representative of any State participating in the Conference. Such statements shall be as brief as possible and shall, as a general rule, be delivered at the end of the last meeting of the day.
Suspension or adjournment of the meeting
A representative may at any time move the suspension or the adjournment of the meeting. No discussion on such motions shall be permitted and they shall, subject to rule 23, be immediately put to the vote.
Adjournment of debate
A representative may at any time move the adjournment of the debate on the question under discussion. Permission to speak on the motion shall be accorded only to two representatives in favour of and to two opposing the adjournment, after which the motion shall, subject to rule 23, be immediately put to the vote.
Closure of debate
A representative may at any time move the closure of the debate on the question under discussion, whether or not any other representative has signified his wish to speak. Permission to speak on the motion shall be accorded only to two representatives opposing the closure, after which the motion shall, subject to rule 23, be immediately put to the vote.
Order of motions
The motions indicated below shall have precedence in the following order over all proposals or other motions before the meeting:
(a) To suspend the meeting;
(b) To adjourn the meeting;
(c) To adjourn the debate on the question under discussion;
(d) To close the debate on the question under discussion.
Submission of proposals and substantive amendments
Proposals and substantive amendments shall normally be submitted in writing to the Secretary-General of the Conference, who shall circulate copies to all delegations. Unless the Conference decides otherwise, proposals and substantive amendments shall be discussed or decided on no earlier than twenty-four hours after copies have been circulated in all languages of the Conference to all delegations.
Withdrawal of proposals and motions
A proposal or a motion may be withdrawn by its sponsor at any time before a decision on it has been taken, provided that it has not been amended. A proposal or a motion thus withdrawn may be reintroduced by any representative.
Decision on competence
Any motion calling for a decision on the competence of the Conference to adopt a proposal submitted to it shall be decided upon before a decision is taken on the proposal in question.
Reconsideration of proposals
Proposals adopted by consensus may not be reconsidered unless the Conference reaches a consensus on such reconsideration. A proposal that has been adopted or rejected by a majority or two-thirds vote may be reconsidered if the Conference, by a two-thirds majority, so decides. Permission to speak on a motion to reconsider shall be accorded only to two speakers opposing the motion, after which it shall be immediately put to the vote.
VI. Voting and elections
Adoption of decisions
1. The task of the Conference being to review, pursuant to paragraph 3 of article VIII of the Treaty, the operation of the Treaty with a view to ensuring that the purposes of the preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized, and thus to strengthen its effectiveness, every effort should be made to reach agreement on substantive matters by means of consensus. There should be no voting on such matters until all efforts to achieve consensus have been exhausted.
2. Decisions on matters of procedure and in elections shall be taken by a majority of representatives present and voting.
3. If, notwithstanding the best efforts of delegates to achieve a consensus, a matter of substance comes up for voting, the President shall defer the vote for forty-eight hours and during this period of deferment shall make every effort, with the assistance of the General Committee, to facilitate the achievement of general agreement, and shall report to the Conference prior to the end of the period.
4. If by the end of the period of deferment the Conference has not reached agreement, voting shall take place and decisions shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the representatives present and voting, provided that such majority shall include at least a majority of the States participating in the Conference.
5. If the question arises whether a matter is one of procedure or of substance, the President of the Conference shall rule on the question. An appeal against this ruling shall immediately be put to the vote and the President’s ruling shall stand unless the appeal is approved by a majority of the representatives present and voting.
6. In cases where a vote is taken, the relevant rules of procedure relating to voting of the General Assembly of the United Nations shall apply, except as otherwise specifically provided herein.
Every State party to the Treaty shall have one vote.
Meaning of the phrase “representatives present and voting”
For the purposes of these Rules, the phrase “representatives present and voting” means representatives casting an affirmative or negative vote. Representatives who abstain from voting are considered as not voting.
All elections shall be held by secret ballot, unless the Conference decides otherwise in an election where the number of candidates does not exceed the number of elective places to be filled.
1. If, when only one elective place is to be filled, no candidate obtains in the first ballot the majority required, a second ballot shall be taken, confined to the two candidates having obtained the largest number of votes. If in the second ballot the votes are equally divided, the President shall decide between the candidates by drawing lots.
2. In the case of a tie in the first ballot among the candidates obtaining the second largest number of votes, a special ballot shall be held among such candidates for the purpose of reducing their number to two; similarly, in the case of a tie among three or more candidates obtaining the largest number of votes, a special ballot shall be held; if a tie again results in this special ballot, the President shall eliminate one candidate by drawing lots and thereafter another ballot shall be held in accordance with paragraph 1.
1. When two or more elective places are to be filled at one time under the same conditions, those candidates, in a number not exceeding the number of such places, obtaining in the first ballot the majority required and the largest number of votes shall be elected.
2. If the number of candidates obtaining such majority is less than the number of places to be filled, additional ballots shall be held to fill the remaining places, provided that if only one place remains to be filled the procedures in rule 32 shall be applied. The ballot shall be restricted to the unsuccessful candidates having obtained the largest number of votes in the previous ballot, but not exceeding twice the numbers of places remaining to be filled. However, in the case of a tie between a greater number of unsuccessful candidates, a special ballot shall be held for the purpose of reducing the number of candidates to the required number; if a tie again results among more than the required number of candidates, the President shall reduce their number to that required by drawing lots.
3. If such a restricted ballot (not counting a special ballot held under the conditions specified in the last sentence of paragraph 2) is inconclusive, the President shall decide among the candidates by drawing lots.
Main Committees and subsidiary bodies
The Conference shall establish three Main Committees for the performance of its functions. Each such Committee may establish subsidiary bodies so as to provide for a focused consideration of specific issues relevant to the Treaty. As a general rule each State Party to the Treaty participating in the Conference may be represented in the subsidiary bodies unless otherwise decided by consensus.
Representation on the Main Committees
Each State Party to the Treaty participating in the Conference may be represented by one representative on each Main Committee. It may assign to these Committees such alternate representatives and advisers as may be required.
1. The Conference shall establish a Drafting Committee composed of representatives of the same States that are represented on the General Committee. It shall coordinate the drafting of and edit all texts referred to it by the Conference or by a Main Committee, without altering the substance of the texts, and report to the Conference or to the Main Committee as appropriate. It shall also, without reopening the substantive discussion on any matter, formulate drafts and give advice on drafting as requested by the Conference or a Main Committee.
2. Representatives of other delegations may also attend the meetings of the Drafting Committee and may participate in its deliberations when matters of particular concern to them are under discussion.
Officers and procedures
The rules relating to officers, the Conference secretariat, conduct of business and voting of the Conference (contained in chaps. II (rules 5-7), IV (rules 10-11), V (rules 13-27) and VI (rules 28-33) above) shall be applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the proceedings of committees and subsidiary bodies, except that:
(a) Unless otherwise decided, any subsidiary body shall elect a chairman and such other officers as it may require;
(b) The Chairmen of the General, the Drafting and the Credentials Committees and the Chairmen of subsidiary bodies may vote in their capacity as representatives of their States;
(c) A majority of the representatives on the General, Drafting and Credentials Committees or on any subsidiary body shall constitute a quorum; the Chairman of a Main Committee may declare a meeting open and permit the debate to proceed when at least one quarter of the representatives of the States participating in the Conference are present.
VIII. Languages and records
Languages of the Conference
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish shall be the official languages of the Conference.
1. Speeches made in a language of the Conference shall be interpreted into the other languages.
2. A representative may make a speech in a language other than a language of the Conference if he provides for interpretation into one such language. Interpretation into the other languages of the Conference by interpreters of the Secretariat may be based on the interpretation given in the first such language.
Language of official documents
Official documents shall be made available in the languages of the Conference.
Sound recordings of meetings
Sound recordings of meetings of the Conference and of all committees shall be made and kept in accordance with the practice of the United Nations. Unless otherwise decided by the Main Committee concerned, no such recordings shall be made of the meetings of a subsidiary body thereof.
1. Summary records of the plenary meetings of the Conference and of the meetings of the Main Committees shall be prepared by the Secretariat in the languages of the Conference. They shall be distributed in provisional form as soon as possible to all participants in the Conference. Participants in the debate may, within three working days of receipt of provisional summary records, submit to the Secretariat corrections on summaries of their own interventions, in special circumstances, the presiding officer may, in consultation with the Secretary-General of the Conference, extend the time for submitting corrections. Any disagreement concerning such corrections shall be decided by the presiding officer of the body to which the record relates, after consulting, where necessary, the sound recordings of the proceedings. Separate corrigenda to provisional records shall not normally be issued.
2. The summary records, with any corrections incorporated, shall be distributed promptly to participants in the Conference.
IX. Public and private meetings
1. The plenary meetings of the Conference and the meetings of the Main Committees shall be held in public unless the body concerned decides otherwise.
2. Meetings of other organs of the Conference shall be held in private.
X. Participation and attendance
(a) Any other State which, in accordance with article IX of the Treaty, has the right to become a Party thereto but which has neither acceded to it nor ratified it may apply to the Secretary-General of the Conference for observer status, which will be accorded on the decision of the Conference.2 Such a State shall be entitled to appoint officials to attend meetings of the plenary and of the Main Committees other than those designated closed meetings and to receive documents of the Conference. An observer State shall also be entitled to submit documents for the participants in the Conference.
(b) Any national liberation organization entitled by the General Assembly of the United Nations3 to participate as an observer in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly, all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly and all international conferences convened under the auspices of other organs of the United Nations may apply to the Secretary-General of the Conference for observer status, which will be accorded on the decision of the Conference. Such a liberation organization shall be entitled to appoint officials to attend meetings of the plenary and of the Main Committees other than those designated closed meetings and to receive documents of the Conference. An observer organization shall also be entitled to submit documents to the participants in the Conference.
2. The United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency
The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or their representatives, shall be entitled to attend meetings of the plenary and of the Main Committees and to receive the Conference documents. They shall also be entitled to submit material, both orally and in writing.
3. Specialized agencies and international and regional intergovernmental organizations
The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific Forum, other international and regional intergovernmental organizations, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization and any specialized agency of the United Nations may apply to the Secretary-General of the Conference for observer agency status, which will be accorded on the decision of the Conference. An observer agency shall be entitled to appoint officials to attend meetings of the plenary and of the Main Committees, other than those designated closed meetings, and to receive the documents of the Conference. The Conference may also invite them to submit, in writing, their views and comments on questions within their competence, which may be circulated as conference documents.
4. Non-governmental organizations
Representatives of non-governmental organizations who attend meetings of the plenary or of the Main Committees will be entitled upon request to receive the documents of the Conference.
1 It is understood that the financial arrangements provided by rule 12 do not constitute a precedent.
2 It is understood that any such decision will be in accordance with the practice of the General Assembly.
3 Pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 3280 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974 and 31/152 of 20 December 1976.