Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)
The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) is the result of efforts of the international community to internationally regulate the area of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction. The HCOC is the only multilateral transparency and confidence building instrument concerning the spread of ballistic missiles.
By subscribing to the HCoC, members voluntarily commit themselves politically to provide pre-launch notifications (PLNs) on ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle launches (SLVs) and test flights. Subscribing States also commit themselves to submit an annual declaration (AD) of their country’s policies on ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles.
Since the signing and entering into force of the politically-binding HCOC in November 2002 in The Hague (Netherlands) the number of signatories has increased from 96 to 137. Austria signed the HCOC in 2002.
As agreed by the conference in The Hague, Austria serves as the Immediate Central Contact (Executive Secretariat) and therefore coordinates the information exchange within the HCOC framework. In 2011 a new HCOC website was created with EU financing (www.hcoc.at).
The link between the UN and the HCOC, a multilateral code negotiated outside the context of the United Nation System, is established with the Resolutions regarding the HCOC that were adopted during the 59th, 60th, 63th, 65th and the 67th UN-General Assemblies in New York.
Since the entry into force of the HCoC in November 2002, annual Regular Meetings of Subscribing States to the HCOC (annual conferences) are held in Vienna. The 12th Regular Meeting of Subscribing States of the HCOC took place from 30 May to 31 May 2013 under the chairmanship of Japan. The 13th Regular Meeting is scheduled from 29 May to 30 May 2014 under the chairmanship of Peru.
What is the HCoC?
The HCoC is an acronym for the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC). It is a widely subscribed multilateral instrument that aims at delegitimizing ballistic missile proliferation. The HCoC consists of a set of general principles, modest commitments, and limited confidence building measures.
When was the HCoC founded?
The HCoC was formally brought into effect on November 25, 2002, at a launching conference hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague.
What are its main objectives?
The HCoC aims to contribute to the process of strengthening existing national and international security arrangements and disarmament and non-proliferation objectives and mechanisms. Participants recognize 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.
Is the HCoC endorsed by the United Nations (UN)?
The UN General Assembly adopted on December 3, 2004, a resolution (A/Res/59/91) welcoming the adoption of the HCoC and calling on states that have not adhered to it to do so. On December 8, 2005, 158 nations in the UN General Assembly voted in favor of General Assembly Resolution 60/62 supporting the HCoC. The Code’s importance and relevance was reaffirmed by subsequent resolutions of the 63rd, 65th and the 67th UN General Assembly (A/Res/63/64, A/Res/65/73, and A/Res/67/42).
What is the relevance of the HCoC to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?
The HCoC complements the important, ongoing work of the MTCR. All states, whether or not they are members of the MTCR are encouraged to join the HCoC, which reflects the founding States’ intent to make the Code universally accepted.
How many countries belong to the HCoC?
As of August 2013, 136 countries have subscribed to the HCoC.
What countries can subscribe to the HCoC: How does a country subscribe?
Participation in the HCoC is voluntary and open to all states. A country may subscribe to the HCoC by sending a diplomatic note stating that it wishes to become an HCoC Subscribing State to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, which serves as the Immediate Central Contact (ICC) for the HCoC.
What are the members’ obligations to the HCoC, financial or otherwise?
The HCoC is a political commitment that is open to all countries’ voluntary subscription. By subscribing to the HCoC, members voluntarily commit themselves politically to provide pre-launch notifications (PLNs) on ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle launches (SLVs) and test flights. Subscribing States also commit themselves to submit an annual declaration (AD) of their country’s policies on ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles, including information on the number and generic class of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles launched during the preceding year. The HCoC does not require any financial commitment: there are no assessed contributions or any other monetary costs of subscribing.
Where and when do HCoC meetings take place?
The HCoC’s decision-making body, the Regular Meeting, normally convenes annually for two days in Vienna, Austria, in May. Further information on the Regular Meetings can be obtained at http://www.un.org/disarmament/HomePage/ODAPublications/Yearbook/index.shtml
Who leads the HCoC? Is there a Chairperson or Point of Contact?
The annual Regular Meeting is chaired on a rotating basis. The Chair of this meeting becomes the HCoC Chair for the period extending to the next Regular Meeting of Subscribing States. Romania was serving as HCoC Chair from May 2011-May 2012, the Republic of Korea was serving as HCoC Chair from May 2012 - May 2013. At the 12th Regular Meeting, Peru was elected HCoC Chair for 2014/2015.
As agreed by the conference in The Hague, Austria serves as the Immediate Central Contact (Executive Secretariat) and therefore coordinates the information exchange within the HCOC framework. In 2011 a new HCOC website was created with EU financing (HCoC Website).
Who has chaired the HCoC in the past?
The following countries have served as HCoC Chair:
• 2002-2003 The Netherlands
• Oct. 2003 - Nov. 2004 Chile
• Nov. 2004 - Jun. 2006 Philippines
• 2006-2007 Morocco
• 2007-2008 Bosnia and Herzegovina
• 2008-2009 Hungary
• 2009-2010 Costa Rica
• 2010–2011 France
• 2011-2012 Romania
• 2012-2013 Republic of Korea
• 2013-2014 Japan
• 2014-2015 Peru
Immediate Central Contact (Executive Secretariat):
Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Department II.8 – Disarmament, Arms Control, Non-Proliferation
Immediate Central Contact (HCOC)
Minoritenplatz 8, 1010 Vienna
Phone: +43 50 11 50/DW 3247
Fax: +43 50 11 59/DW 3247