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VERTIC participates in a seminar on the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) in Djibouti

On 26 September, Senior Researcher Noel Stott participated in a Foundation for Strategic Research-hosted seminar on the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) in Djibouti (City), Djibouti. Co-hosted with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), the event was titled: ‘Dealing with missile proliferation: one side of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime’.

The one-day seminar, gathered experts and officials dealing with arms control, non-proliferation, disarmament, export control and space issues from member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on  Development (IGAD)—Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss their perspectives and priorities with regard to ballistic missile proliferation in the framework of international and continental efforts on WMD disarmament and non-proliferation with a focus on the Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missile proliferation (HCoC).

The objective of the HCoC is to prevent and curb the proliferation of ballistic missiles systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and related technologies. Although non-binding, the Code is presently the only universal instrument addressing ballistic missiles. 140 countries have subscribed to the HCoC, committing themselves not to proliferate ballistic missiles and to exercise the maximum degree of restraint possible regarding the development, the testing and the deployment of these systems.

As part of the European Union’s Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction adopted by the EU Heads of State and Government, the European Union is committed to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The EU views HCoC as an important step towards achieving this goal and in December 2017, adopted Council Decision 2017/2370/CFSP, in order to continue its support towards the universalisation and implementation of the Code. The Foundation for Strategic Research is the Council Decision’s implementing Agency.

Norway is currently the Chair of the HCoC and H.E. Ms. Kjersti Ertresvaag Andersen, Norway’s Permanent Representative to Austria attended the Djibouti seminar.

Noel Stott’s presentation was titled: ‘Inserting the HCoC in regional non-proliferation and disarmament priorities: Taking a development-oriented approach to the implementation of disarmament and non-proliferation regimes’. He argued that for Africa, there is a clear link or synergy between security and development—which this is reflected in key African Union frameworks, agendas and initiatives, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), the current Roadmap 2016-2020: ‘Silencing the Guns by 2020’ initiative, Africa’s Agenda 2063 framework and Africa’s common position on the UN High-level Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO). As with other international treaties and conventions that African states are party to, HCoC if fully implemented, would bring significant security and socio-economic benefits to the continent given Africa’s developmental context and imperatives.