Questions about HCoC

What are the main objectives of the HCoC?

The HCoC aims to contribute to the process of strengthening existing national and international security arrangements, disarmament, and non-proliferation objectives and mechanisms. Participants recognise a need to prevent and curb the proliferation of ballistic-missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, as well as the importance of strengthening, and gaining wider adherence to, multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms. To meet these objectives, participants try to exercise maximum possible restraint in the development, testing, and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

What are Subscribing States’ obligations?

The Code is a political commitment that is open to all countries’ voluntary subscription. By signing the HCoC, members voluntarily commit themselves politically to providing pre-launch notifications (PLNs) on ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle launches (SLVs) and test flights. Subscribing States also agree to submit an annual declaration (AD) of their country’s policies on ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles, including annual information regarding the number and generic class of ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles launched during the preceding year. Fulfilling these limited commitments does not require significant administrative or financial resources. For States without ballistic-missile programmes, the annual declarations are easy to complete and require only the submission of a standard form once a year. For States with ballistic-missile programmes meeting this requirement should involve no more than a few hours per month for a diplomat. The HCoC does not require a financial contribution and subscription thus entails no monetary cost.

Is the HCoC endorsed by the United Nations?

The HCoC is a multilateral code, negotiated outside the United Nations framework, although the UN General Assembly has adopted six resolutions in support of the HCoC. On 3 December 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 59/91, welcoming the adoption of the HCoC and calling on States that are yet to adhere to it to do so. The importance of the Code was also reaffirmed in resolutions A/RES/60/62 in 2005, A/RES/63/64 in 2008, A/RES/65/73 in 2010, A/RES/67/42 in 2012, A/RES/69/44 in 2014 and A/RES/71/33 in December 2016. The latest UN General Assembly resolution in support of the HCoC was adopted in December 2018 by a vote of 171 UN member states in favour.

What is the relevance of the HCoC to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?

The HCoC complements the important, ongoing work of the MTCR. All States, whether members of the MTCR or not, are encouraged to join the HCoC, reflecting the Subscribing States’ commitment to the universalisation of the Code.