MSc thesis presentation by Dorien de Keyzer: Agree to Disagree. Strategic Framing in the Conference on Disarmament

Published on
January 11, 2017

You are all cordially invited to the colloquium where PAP student, Dorien de Keyzer, will present and defend her Master thesis entitled “Agree to Disagree. Strategic Framing in the Conference on Disarmament”.

Supervisor: Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen
Second reader: Art Dewulf

Date: 24 January 2017
Time: 13-14:00 hours
Location: room C84, Leeuwenborch, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen

Set up in 1978, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) was created by the United Nations General Assembly to negotiate legally binding treaties in support of disarmament. Throughout the years, the Member States of the CD have come together in Geneva to discuss and negotiate the key issues of disarmament, such as nuclear weapons. However, since the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, the CD has not been able to conclude negotiations on any other issue. In 2016, this deadlock in the CD has marked twenty years. While the first part of the 2016 session introduced four Programmes of Work for consideration and heard numerous state representatives speak about breaking the deadlock-situation, the much needed consensus remains elusive. This thesis has analysed the different strategic frames used by state representatives in discussions on breaking the deadlock of the Conference. By analysing the arguments, strategies, and language choices made by state representatives to support their state positions, this thesis provides three general strategies for negotiations: the steering strategy, the passive strategy and the blocking strategy. Each of these strategies was supported by five or six frames. These frames lead to different positions on what the problem is, what the solution is, and how the Conference should continue in its current situation. While used strategically by state representatives, none of the frames could lead to a dominant strategy that would find the agreement needed to allow the Conference to resume its negotiating mandate. The only agreement in the Conference thus remains the agreement that there is disagreement. 

Key words: Conference on Disarmament - strategic framing – state representatives – deadlock – strategies - frames