The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) is established on an initiative by the late Foreign Minister of Sweden, Anna Lindh, acting on a proposal by then United Nations Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala. The Swedish Government invited Dr. Hans Blix to set up and chair the Commission. He presented the composition of the Commission to the public on 16 December, 2003 and explained what he saw were major tasks for it.
The Commission commenced its work against the background of more than a half-century's striving for non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. While there has been much success and progress, especially after the end of the Cold War, there have been many difficulties and disappointments in recent years. The technical evolution and the access to knowledge have also reduced some barriers to the acquisition of weapons. The possession and potential use of weapons of mass destruction by states or non-state actors remain ever-present risks. The slowdown and stalemate in the fields of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament needs to be reversed and the momentum needs to be regained. Major contributions to national and international security would result.
The Commission's task
The Commission should seek to identify desirable and achievable directions for international cooperation. It should present realistic proposals aimed at the greatest possible reduction of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. These should comprise both short-term and long-term approaches and aim at preventing the further spread of weapons as well as at their reduction and elimination. The scope of the investigation should be comprehensive and include nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons and the means of delivering them, as well as possible links between these issues and terrorists.
The Commission should not be engaged in any tasks or negotiations at the governmental or intergovernmental level.
The Commission should help to stimulate an informed public debate about international and national efforts against weapons of mass destruction. It should therefore undertake outreach activities within its capacity to engage civil society and non-governmental organisations.
The Commission is fully independent.
The Commissioners have been invited by the Chairman to serve in their personal capacity. They do not serve under instructions from any government or organisation.
While the Secretariat submits accounts for auditing by the Swedish Government, which is providing major funds, in its substantive work it is independent of all Governments and international organisations and non-governmental organisations.
The Commission is funded by the Swedish Government. Contributions from other governmental or private sources are welcomed.
Neither the funding from the Swedish Government nor any other contributions will be allowed to influence the substantive work of, or the final report of, the Commission.
The Commission's secretariat is based in Stockholm. It will engage with expertise from around the world, as instructed or authorised by the Commission or its Chairman.
The Secretariat receives its instructions from the Commission through its Chairman.