United Nations


General Assembly

Distr.: General
6 August 1997

Original: English

Fifty-second session
Item 73 (d) of the provisional agenda [
A/52/150 and Corr.1]


Review of the implementation of the recommendations and
decisions adopted by the General Assembly at its tenth special
session: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research


Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General hereby transmits to the General Assembly the report of the Deputy Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research on the activities of the Institute (see annex I) and the report of the Board of Trustees of the Institute (see annex II).


Annex I


Report of the Deputy Director of the United Nations Institute
for Disarmament Research on the Activities of the Institute





I. Introduction



II. Organization and methods of work



III. Current activities



A. Collective security



B. Regional security



C. Non-proliferation studies



D. UNIDIR NewsLetter



E. Computerized information and documentation database services



IV. External relations



V. Publications



VI. Conclusion




I. Introduction

1. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is an autonomous research institute within the framework of the United Nations. The Institute was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/83 M of 11 December 1979 for the purpose of undertaking independent research on issues of disarmament and international security.

2. The present report is submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of paragraph 6 of its resolution 39/148 H of 17 December 1984, and paragraph 6 of its resolution 45/62 G of 4 December 1990, in which the Director was invited to report annually to the Assembly on the activities carried out by the Institute. The report is for the period from July 1996 to June 1997.a It thus covers activities until December 1996 under the former Director, Mr. Sverre Lodgaard, and from January 1997 under the Deputy Director, Mr. Christophe Carle.

II. Organization and methods of work

3. For the implementation of its research programme, UNIDIR relies largely on project-related, short-term contracts. Within the approved research programme, the Institute hires the services of, or develops cooperation with, individual experts or research organizations, while ensuring that multi-disciplinary approaches are applied. Full use is being made of United Nations services for purposes of coordination, economy and cost-effectiveness.

4. The Institute's regular fellowship programme enables scholars from developing countries to come to Geneva to undertake research on disarmament and security issues at UNIDIR. The work of visiting fellows is integrated into ongoing research projects. In addition to the fellowship programme, the Institute also welcomes visiting scholars and military officers from developed countries. Furthermore, a number of interns offer valuable assistance free of cost. Some of them stay on for an extended period.

5. To enhance the productivity of UNIDIR research and the capacity to sustain work carried out elsewhere, it is necessary to expand the core staff in Geneva. While the core should remain small, the optimal size for an institute of this kind has not yet been obtained.

6. During the period under review, the following either pledged or paid contributions to the Institute's Trust Fund: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland (Foreign Affairs Department and Military Department) and Turkey, as well as European Council, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office at Bamako. UNIDIR avails itself of this opportunity to express its gratitude to those countries and organizations for their contributions.

III. Current activities

7. The research programme adopted by the Board at its meeting in June 1996 had four main headings: collective security, regional security, non-proliferation studies and a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. Activities pertaining to a fourth special session have been on hold pending clarification of its timing and modalities.

A. Collective security

1. Disarmament and conflict resolution

8. Three publications from the disarmament and conflict resolution project were printed in the latter part of 1996 (see appendix); Managing Arms in Peace Processes: Training is being partly redrafted by its main authors for publication. Among the case studies that were envisaged, the Angola/Namibia study was postponed; the material at hand was not adequate, and important developments have taken place in Angola, rendering parts of what had been prepared out of date. Rather than excluding this case study altogether, an alternative option for publication is being explored in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Studies of South Africa.

9. The disarmament and conflict resolution project is now concluded. However, the project lends itself to two studies of a synthesizing nature: (a) the development of an annotated repertory of demobilization/disarmament procedures and techniques; and (b) a broader analysis of the relationship between disarmament and conflict resolution. These are demanding C but fascinating C tasks that are waiting to be carried out, whether by UNIDIR itself or by other organizations prepared to make use of the material in cooperation with the Institute.

2. Disarmament, development and conflict prevention

10. The logical follow-up to the disarmament and conflict resolution project shifts the focus from conflict resolution to conflict prevention. The project on disarmament, development and conflict prevention in West Africa thus convened a regional one-week conference at Bamako, from 25 to 29 November 1996. It was organized by UNIDIR in cooperation with the UNDP Office at Bamako and supported by the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat.

11. The starting point at the conference was the integrated and proportional approach to security and disarmament. The problems associated with the flow of light weapons were examined on a country-by-country basis. Options for regional cooperation against the flow of small arms were emphasized in the discussions. Demobilization and disarmament experiences to date were reviewed and their applicability to the West African subregion was discussed. A special issue of the UNIDIR NewsLetter was prepared for the occasion and a number of contributions on specific items were commissioned for a separate publication.

12. The conference gave rise to a proposal to declare a moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of light weapons. The conference examined ways in which the moratorium might be implemented and a number of specific measures that Governments in the region might take to collect (mop up) arms in the course of the moratorium period. Following the conference, the Government of Mali held consultations with other West African countries for further discussions on the moratorium option, with a view to convening a regional ministerial meeting. That meeting took place at Bamako on 26 March 1997, in the framework of the AWeek of Peace@ to commemorate the first anniversary of the AFlame of Peace@ ceremony (see A/51/364, annex I, para. 20), and was attended by the former Director and the current Deputy Director of UNIDIR.

13. UNIDIR is planning to provide research support for such regional efforts against the dissemination of small arms. Subject to the results of a pending funding application, a twofold research effort will involve:

(a) Small-scale seminars devoted to specific issues in stemming the dissemination of light weapons in West Africa;

(b) Fellowships for selected West African experts to visit Geneva. The aim will be both to enrich UNIDIR research, and to provide those selected with valuable experience in an established research environment, thereby seeking to foster the emergence of a new generation of experts in the region.

14. In addition, UNIDIR will explore further the relationship between conflict prevention and development, with particular emphasis on the notion of relative deprivation, i.e., relative to others, to the past or to expectations. This work will be carried out in cooperation with the Conflict Transformation Working Group at the University of Helsinki, with the funding support of the Government of Finland.

3. Observation of peacekeeping training exercises

15. In June 1997, UNIDIR was an observer in the Ceibo Operation, a joint Argentina/Uruguay peacekeeping training exercise at Frey Bentos, Rio Negro, Uruguay, on the border with Argentina. During the operation, UNIDIR researchers and consultants (both civilian and military) compared the unfolding of events with the findings of the disarmament and conflict resolution project. The publications from the project were distributed to soldiers and civilians participating in the event.

16. A two-day seminar on lessons learned was organized by Argentina and Uruguay at Buenos Aires one month after the operation. UNIDIR participated in that seminar by providing an assessment of the operation, cross-referenced with the disarmament and conflict resolution project, with a view to presenting recommendations. UNIDIR sought to identify areas where new technologies and equipment could be applied in order to maximize the cost-effectiveness of peace operations in both human and in material terms. The appropriateness of using satellite images in humanitarian and peace missions were addressed.

17. The results of the seminar will be brought to the attention of diplomats, academics and industries that manufacture and provide peace-operation equipment and services. UNIDIR is discussing the possibility of publishing a booklet in English and Spanish summing up the lessons learned during the Ceibo Operation.

B. Regional security

1. Confidence-building measures in the Middle East

18. An explanatory compilation of international agreements and legal instruments pertaining to confidence- and security-building measures and arms control in the Middle East and of current restrictions on arms transfers to the area has been completed. This reference guide includes instruments applying between States in the area; instruments applying in the area but adopted by States outside it (unilaterally or multilaterally); and international regimes applicable to the Middle East. The work was begun by Christian Glatzl (Austria), and was finished in late 1996 by Daniele Riggio (Italy). The publication will carry an introduction by Jan Prawitz.

19. Two more publications are in preparation. One of them derives from the June 1996 Workshop on Cooperative Security in the Middle East. The other is an account and analysis of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and its implications for the Middle East, written by Yannis Stivachtis of Greece, a visiting fellow at UNIDIR in the autumn of 1996.

  2. Confidence-building in the Middle East: a remote sensing resource atlas

20. The Middle East studies have led to a special project entitled AA Satellite Imagery Atlas of the Middle East Peace Process@. The production of a remote sensing resource atlas of the Middle East rests on the twin pillars of the Institute=s recent and current work on regional security and on space technology. It involves an innovative combination of both, using selected satellite imagery as an explanatory tool of exceptional clarity for addressing the multiple and complex factors in Middle East security, with special emphasis on confidence- and security-building measures.

21. The content of the atlas addresses the subject matter of the five multilateral working groups initiated by the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held at Madrid in October 1991, with an emphasis on arms control and regional security. The atlas will be published both as a conventional book and as a CD-ROM.

22. The atlas is intended for a broader readership than the usually specialist-oriented UNIDIR publications. The combination of appropriate satellite imagery with explanatory texts produced by the foremost experts in the relevant fields should thus hold a twofold appeal. On the one hand, it can be of particular use for educators, students and interested members of the general public seeking to make as clear and objective sense as possible of complex and politically contested issues. On the other hand, it can be useful to a more specialized readership of experts, government or corporate officials, journalists and academics better acquainted with the subject matter, but often unfamiliar with the unique perspective provided by relevant satellite imagery.

23. The atlas project is a collaborative effort between UNIDIR and the Institute for Global Mapping and Research (IGM). IGM is affiliated with the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg and is supported by GEOSPACE, a satellite data distribution and remote-sensing services company.

24. The preparation of both the texts and images for the atlas are being undertaken and guided by a group of about 25 specialists, drawn from the senior ranks of the United Nations and related offices, universities, research institutes and governmental organizations. These individuals will prepare texts for the atlas in their areas of expertise and comment on the assembled volume before its publication.

25. To discuss and promote the atlas project, UNIDIR hosted a seminar entitled @Reducing Risk-Building Security@, together with the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction during the 1997 Bremen Space Congress and Exhibition (14-17 May 1997, Bremen, Germany). The Institute=s part of the seminar addressed satellite applications in the field of international security. The role of remote sensing technology in building confidence in the Middle East was specifically addressed.

3. Security and prospects for arms control and disarmament in North-East Asia

26. UNIDIR convened a seminar on security, arms control and disarmament in North-East Asia at Beijing from 13 to 16 December 1996. The meeting was organized jointly with the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament and the Copenhagen-based Global Non-Offensive Defence Network. Presentations and discussions focused on the approaches of regional actors (China, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, India and States members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations) and of extraregional States (such as the United States of America and Western European States) to current and foreseeable security issues centred on the Korean Peninsula.

27. UNIDIR is preparing an issue of its NewsLetter on the prospects and consequences of Korean reunification. This will include papers by some of the participants in the Beijing meeting, as well as by other experts.

28. In late 1996, UNIDIR hosted Lieutenant Colonel Rin-June Choi for a two-month fellowship; his work was instrumental in preparations for the Beijing Seminar.

29. In September 1997, Mr. Kwang-Yun Lee (Senior Fellow of the Research Institute for International Affairs, Seoul) will begin a three-month fellowship at UNIDIR.

C. Non-proliferation studies

1. Fissile material cut-off

30. On 29 August 1996, UNIDIR convened a one-day meeting at Geneva on prospects for a fissile material cut-off. The participants in the meeting, which was organized jointly with the Oxford Research Group, included members of delegations to the Conference on Disarmament, as well as scholars and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

31. On the occasion of the meeting, UNIDIR published The Fissile Material Cut-Off Debate: A Bibliographical Survey with a view to providing a research tool for parties interested in the issue.

32. Further activities on the issue of fissile materials, in partnership with the German research group International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation, are subject to the results of pending funding applications.

2. Sensitive technology transfers and the future of control regimes

33. On 9 and 10 October 1996, UNIDIR convened a conference at Rio de Janeiro on the transfer of sensitive technology and the future of control regimes. It was organized in cooperation with the Brazilian Intelligence Service.

34. No breakthrough for agreed supplier-recipient guidelines seems near at hand, and no head-on approach is likely to be successful. The processes of scientific and technological development are constantly changing the nature of the problems. Thus, any regime regulating sensitive technology transfers must be forward-looking. The conference at Rio de Janeiro therefore involved an effort to identify main trends in contemporary research and development, i.e., emerging technologies that may become objects of control and constraint some years hence. The proceedings of the conference have been published by UNIDIR.

3. Nuclear-weapon-free zones in the next century

35. Jointly with the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) and the Government of Mexico, UNIDIR convened an international seminar on ANuclear-weapon-free zones in the next century@ at Mexico City on 13 and 14 February 1997, the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco).

36. The discussions covered the role of the Treaty of Tlatelolco as the first effective expression of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely inhabited part of the globe; existing nuclear-weapon-free zones in the South Pacific (South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga), 1985), in Southeast Asia (Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok), 1995) and in Africa (African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), 1996); as well as prospects for future zonal arrangements (including in the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Central Europe and the Korean Peninsula).

37. The strengthening of cooperation among existing nuclear-weapon-free zones was widely regarded as a useful path to pursue. Many participants felt that the States members of nuclear-weapon-free zones, and their related organizations, could productively share their respective experiences and draw lessons from both past successes and difficulties. The experience gained over the years by OPANAL was seen as particularly relevant in this respect, as was the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

38. In addition to such cooperation, various options were discussed for the future, including broadening the geographical scope of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones (such as proposals for a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere) and broadening the substantive scope of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones to other types of weapons.

39. The proceedings of the seminar will be published by UNIDIR, and were summarized in the first issue of UNIDIR Brief/Note de l'UNIDIR.

4. Illicit traffic of small arms and sensitive technologies

40. A seminar was held at Buenos Aires from 23 to 25 April 1997 on the illicit traffic of small arms and sensitive technologies. The meeting was organized jointly by UNIDIR and the State Intelligence Secretariat of the Republic of Argentina, bringing together participants from some 15 countries, including independent experts, diplomats, United Nations staff and representatives of national authorities in charge of dealing with illicit trafficking.

41. Presentations and discussions on sensitive technologies covered illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical and biological technologies and substances, as well as missile technology.

42. Particular emphasis was placed on the illicit traffic of small arms or light weapons for three main reasons: the extent of their existing dissemination, the severity of the threat they pose to security and stability in several regions of the world, and the lack of any international means to regulate their trade. All participants stressed the close links among narco-trafficking, terrorist activities and the illicit flow of small arms since the end of the cold war.

43. The meeting discussed issues related to the draft convention on small arms elaborated in the framework of the Organization of American States and the forthcoming report of the United Nations panel of governmental experts on small arms.

44. It was recommended that as a first step towards circumscribing the vast problem of illicit trafficking, the legitimate trade in light weapons should be made more transparent, and that the option of regional or international registers of such trade should be studied closely. It was broadly agreed that the tracking of illicit trafficking could be made more efficient by encouraging the timely and appropriate exchange of information among national intelligence agencies on a regional and a global basis.

45. The proceedings of the seminar will be published by UNIDIR, and have been summarized in the second issue of UNIDIR Brief/Note de l'UNIDIR.

D. UNIDIR NewsLetter

46. The UNIDIR NewsLetter continues to be the primary means of maintaining and developing cooperation with and among research institutes, the diplomatic community and other international organizations in the fields of disarmament, security and peace-building. Significantly, the NewsLetter, UNIDIR's sole regular bilingual publication, has been revamped to serve as an information conduit, with such new features as open forums, special previews of UNIDIR publications and updates on UNIDIR activities. The NewsLetter, as a publication and as a product of the Institute, has led to increased cooperation with other international organizations and research institutes.

47. In the past year, UNIDIR has taken the NewsLetter in three new directions. First, more than ever before, it has linked some of the NewsLetter issues to UNIDIR-sponsored events. These issues act as a springboard for dialogue and a starting point for participants. For example, issue No. 32/96 on the traffic of small arms in West Africa was distributed to all participants in the Conference on Disarmament, Development and Conflict Prevention in West Africa held in Mali in November 1996. Participants utilized the issue both as a reference tool (with regional maps and bibliography) and for discussion in their working groups.

48. The second new direction for the NewsLetter has been to produce issues targeted at disarmament events not sponsored by UNIDIR, such as the Fourth Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, held at Geneva from 25 November to 6 December 1996. One entire issue dedicated to the challenges facing the review conference was provided to all of the delegates on its first day. In this way UNIDIR is making significant and relevant contributions to ongoing disarmament negotiations and debates.

49. Third, the NewsLetter launched its first cooperative venture in March 1996, in conjunction with the United Nations Information Service at Geneva, with a press seminar on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and a special issue. UNIDIR plans to continue to have occasional events linked to special issues of the NewsLetter. In autumn 1997, a special issue on landmines will be launched at an event in Geneva in cooperation with the European Commission.

E. Computerized information and documentation database services

50. The development of UNIDIR's computerized information and documentation services proceeds at a steady pace. Four lines of action are being pursued: (a) improvement of the Institute's in-house hardware and software capabilities, particularly for publication purposes; (b) establishment of on-line database connections; (c) cooperation with other institutions worldwide; and (d) publication of a new version of the Institute's Repertory of Disarmament Research.

51. UNIDIR owns a local area network (LAN) which provides adequate working conditions for staff members and visiting fellows. In addition, UNIDIR's Research Institute Database (DATARIs) will be available on the World Wide Web with the technical assistance of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Institutes that so desire will be able to input and update data from their own office terminals. A UNIDIR Web page has been prepared regrouping information on UNIDIR activities, databases and related Web links. A new hard copy edition of UNIDIR's Repertory of Disarmament Research will be prepared as soon as DATARIs is available on-line.

52. UNIDIR has enhanced its cooperation with various institutes and organizations worldwide, offering its expertise on information-gathering and computer services in the field of security and disarmament research. One example is UNIDIR's agreement with the Swiss Confederation concerning the follow-up of the Conference on Institutes and Security Dialogue, held at Zurich in April 1994, which UNIDIR hosted in September 1996. Another is the active participation of UNIDIR in the annual meetings of the European Working Group on Information and Documentation, which aims at improving computer connectivity among institutes and related organizations in Europe. The sixth European Working Group Conference, which includes over 40 institutes in Europe, the United States of America and Canada, was hosted by UNIDIR in September 1996. UNIDIR is also represented at the Group=s Steering Committee, which makes strategic decisions for future cooperation in this area.

53. The UNIDIR data system has been designed in such a way that expansion can be implemented through relatively minor changes, such as by the addition of software modules and expanded memory. While the Institute's LAN suffices for the needs of UNIDIR activities in the present and near future, new components for UNIDIR publications and the NewsLetter are necessary and should be added to the local area computer architecture.

IV. External relations

54. UNIDIR maintains close cooperation with the Centre for Disarmament Affairs of the Secretariat to ensure complementarity and coordination. It makes a special point of emphasizing cooperation with other organizations and bodies in the United Nations system working in the field of disarmament and international security.

55. The quarterly NewsLetter and the Computerized Information and Documentation Database Service are the main means of communication with research institutes and other interested parties throughout the world. Personal relations are always important: members of the staff accept numerous invitations to speak at universities, research institutes and other forums in many different parts of the world. Likewise, many representatives of Governments, research institutes and other organizations are welcomed at UNIDIR. Being located in the Palais des Nations, UNIDIR benefits, in particular, from close contacts with delegations at the Conference on Disarmament. UNIDIR staff members have contributed articles to journals and newspapers on security and disarmament issues. External relations are also developed through the commissioning of research and recruitment of experts for the purposes of UNIDIR projects.

V. Publications

56. The research reports produced by UNIDIR are intended for publication and wide dissemination through free distribution to diplomatic missions, research institutes, international organizations and non-governmental organizations as well as sales through the United Nations Sales Section and other outlets. In addition to research reports, UNIDIR publishes research papers written by experts within the Institute=s programme of work. They are distributed in the same manner as the research reports. The third element of the UNIDIR publication programme is the quarterly NewsLetter. A list of publications issued during the period under review can be found in the appendix to the present annex.

VI. Conclusion

57. UNIDIR gratefully acknowledges the administrative and other support received from the United Nations Office at Geneva and United Nations Headquarters in terms of article IX of the statute of UNIDIR.

58. UNIDIR received voluntary contributions from Member States and grants from public and private foundations. These grants are usually earmarked for specific projects. Therefore, the continued receipt of a subvention from the regular budget of the United Nations in accordance with article VII of the statute of UNIDIR is vital. The mixed nature of the funding of the Institute envisaged in the statute is also a means of guaranteeing the autonomous character of UNIDIR. The impact of UNIDIR publications is predicated on the independence with which the Institute is seen to conduct its research.

59. UNIDIR benefits greatly from close contacts with the United Nations and its member Governments. These contacts are part and parcel of the rationale for the Institute, and are a significant determinant and asset for the direction and quality of UNIDIR research. The Institute=s statutory autonomy within the framework of the United Nations, therefore, represents an optimal combination. In this way, UNIDIR enjoys independence as well as proximity to the actors it is meant to serve. This is a unique and fruitful platform for the conduct of applied research at a time when the role of the Organization in security affairs has become significantly enlarged. The Institute endeavours to enhance its role and relevance accordingly.



a For the previous reports on the activities of the Institute, see A/38/475, A/39/553, A/40/725, A/41/676, A/42/607, A/43/686, A/44/421, A/45/392, A/46/334, A/47/345, A/48/270, A/49/329, A/50/416 and A/51/364.




UNIDIR publications for the period
July 1996-June 1997

 Research reports

Evolving Trends in the Dual Use of Satellites, by Péricles Gasparini Alves (ed.), 1996, 180 p., United Nations publication, Sales No. GV.E.96.0.20.

Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Project C Managing Arms in Peace Processes: The Issues, by Estanislao Angel Zawels, Stephen John Stedman, Donald C. F. Daniel, David Cox, Jane Boulden, Fred Tanner, Jakkie Potgieter and Virginia Gamba, 1996, 234 p., United Nations publication, Sales No. GV.E.96.0.33.

Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Project C Managing Arms in Peace Processes: Haiti, by Marcos Mendiburu and Sarah Meek, 1996, 97 p., United Nations publication, Sales No. GV.E.96.0.34.

Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Project C Managing Arms in Peace Processes: Nicaragua and El Salvador, by Paulo Wrobel, 1996, 250 p., United Nations publication, Sales No. GV.E.97.0.1.

The Transfer of Sensitive Technologies and the Future of Control Regimes, by Péricles Gasparini Alves and Kerstin Hoffman (eds.), 1997, United Nations publication.

Increasing Access to Information Technology for International Security: Forging Cooperation Among Research Institutes, by Péricles Gasparini Alves (ed.), 1996, United Nations publication (forthcoming).

 Research papers

No. 38 C The Fissile Material Cut-Off Debate: A Bibliographical Survey, by Daiana Cipollone, 1996, 76 p., United Nations publication, Sales No. GV.E.96.0.30.

 UNIDIR NewsLetter

No. 32/96
Conflict Prevention in West Africa: Curbing the Flow of Arms
Prévention des conflits en Afrique de l'Ouest: la limitation des flux d'armement

 No. 33/96
The Biological Weapons Convention Revisited
Nouveau regard sur la Convention relative aux armes biologiques

Special issue/Numéro spécial 2/96
The CTBT: Looking Ahead/Le TICE: quel avenir?

No. 34/96
The Transfer of Sensitive Technologies and the Future of Control Regimes (forthcoming)
Le transfert de technologies sensibles et l'avenir des régimes de contrôle (à paraître)

No. 35/96
Korean Reunification: Prospects and Consequences (forthcoming)
La réunification coréenne: perspectives et conséquences (à paraître)


Annex II

Report of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations
Institute for Disarmament Research





I. Review of the report of the Deputy Director on the activities of the Institute



II. Work programme of the Institute for 1998



A. Collective security



B. Regional security



C. Non-proliferation studies



D. Fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament



E. Cooperation with and among research institutes



F. Fellowship programme



III. Finance





1. Voluntary contributions for 1997 and total 1997 estimated income from voluntary sources


2. Current status of 1998 estimated income from voluntary sources


3. Estimates of income and expenditure for 1997 and 1998


4. Estimated 1997 and 1998 resource requirements



I. Review of the report of the Deputy Director on the activities of the Institute

1. Pursuant to the provisions of article IV, paragraph 2 (i), of the Statute of UNIDIR,a and in view of the fact that a new Director of the Institute had not yet been appointed, the Deputy Director, Mr. Christophe Carle, reported to the Board of Trustees on 11 June 1997, in New York, on the Institute's activities for the period July 1996-June 1997 and presented the draft work programme for 1998.

2. Members were satisfied that the work programme for 1997 had been implemented in an exemplary fashion. The Board therefore approved the Deputy Director's report on activities for submission to the General Assembly (see annex I to the present document).

3. The Board reviewed the draft work programme proposed for 1998 and approved it for submission to the General Assembly (see sect. II below). The Board noted that the draft programme for 1998 contained enough flexibility to allow the new Director to realign priorities according to her own vision of the direction that the Institute should take.

4. The Board expressed its deep appreciation to the Deputy Director for the management of the Institute in the absence of a Director, as well as to the Institute's small staff for their dedication and hard work during a time of leadership transition.

5. A Selection Panel, established by the Secretary-General and comprised of members of the Board appointed by him on geographical basis, met on 9 June 1997 and produced a short list of the most qualified candidates among the applicants for the position of Director of UNIDIR. The Board gave careful consideration to the recommendation of the Panel and agreed to request the Chairman to transmit it to the Secretary-General.b

6. Concerned about the current precarious financial situation of the Institute with respect to voluntary contributions, the Board suggested that the new Director be installed as soon as possible.c It also suggested that a priority task for the new Director be to raise enough funds to stabilize the UNIDIR budget and strengthen its core staff to an appropriate level for an institute of that kind.

7. The Board noted that UNIDIR's research programme was implemented by a dedicated, but small, staff. In addition to the Director, it comprises a Deputy Director, a senior political affairs officer, an administrative secretary, a specialized secretary for publications and other matters and six junior researchers and editors. The Board supported the view of the Deputy Director that a stronger international core staff of confirmed researchers was needed to reinforce the Institute's in-house research capacity as well as to sustain research commissioned externally. That would enhance the Institute's effectiveness in carrying out its own research programme as well as in cooperating with outside experts and research institutes.


II. Work programme of the Institute for 1998

8. The UNIDIR research programme, as approved and extended at previous meetings of the Board, comprises four main headings:

(a) Collective security in the framework of the United Nations;

(b) Regional security;

(c) Non-proliferation studies;

(d) The fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.

9. In a period marked by the directorship transition in the Institute, the research framework is retained for the sake of continuity, while allowing for adaptation in the focus of specific activities.

A. Collective security

Disarmament and conflict resolution

10. The disarmament and conflict resolution project was UNIDIR's most intensive undertaking in human and capital terms. While the project itself has been concluded, further publications may be envisaged. The project has been well received by scholars and practitioners alike and a number of requests have been conveyed to UNIDIR for a synthetical summary. That would require further investment, but could serve to facilitate access to the substance of the disarmament and conflict resolution project's extensive publications.

11. UNIDIR will remain closely attentive to the needs of peace operations and exercises as well as training academies, and seek to ensure the dissemination of the disarmament and conflict resolution project results to interested parties, as in the case of the Ceibo Operation (see annex I, paras. 15-17). To that end, one innovation could consist in preparing the output of the project in electronic form. The Institute is discussing with outside partners the dissemination of disarmament and conflict resolution reports in CD-ROM format.

Disarmament, development and conflict prevention

12. Work on disarmament, development and conflict prevention will continue to focus, in the first instance, on the case of West Africa. To address the complex interrelationship between security, the flow of arms and socio-economic problems, the first phase of the project has proceeded from a Asecurity-first@ perspective: an inquiry into ways of improving the security situation in West African countries, as a prerequisite for implementing development projects.

13. This approach will be pursued, with special reference to measures designed to stem the dissemination of light weapons within and across West African countries. UNIDIR will aim at providing: (a) research support, in the form of lessons drawn from other regions; and (b) policy options, for efforts conceived on a collaborative basis by West African States to reduce the threat of uncontrolled light weapons to security and to development.

14. One of the focal points for such research support will be the idea, under discussion since the UNIDIR Conference held at Bamako from 25 to 29 November 1996, of a moratorium on the import, export and manufacturing of light weapons. The concept and implementation of such a moratorium, as well as the opportunities for subregional cooperation arising as a result, would be addressed, on the one hand, by small-scale seminars bringing practitioners and experts from within and from outside West Africa, and on the other hand, by West African experts to be provided with research fellowships at UNIDIR.

15. The second phase of the project needs to consider conflict prevention from the angle of development, as the other side of the Asecurity-first@ equation. In other words, while security is a precondition for development, lack of resources or relative deprivation thereof can be sources of insecurity. This interaction between access to resources and conflict has been underlined in the case study by Robin Edward Poulton and Ibrahim ag Youssouf, entitled AA Peace of Timbuktu: Democratic Governance, Development and Peacemaking@, to be published as a joint undertaking by UNIDIR and the United Nations Development Programme. Further work on this theme will be carried out in cooperation with the Conflict Transformation Working Group of the University of Helsinki, with the financial support of the Government of Finland.

Blue helmets, disarmament and humanitarian missions

16. There are a number of intricate problems with the interface between civil and military blue helmet contingents and humanitarian agencies. Blue helmets have been deployed in situations involving open conflict between military units, war crimes and humanitarian tragedies.

17. When blue helmets provide protection for delivering humanitarian assistance, they may sometimes be criticized for not remaining neutral. Yet without protection, humanitarian assistance can be diverted to one of the warring factions and in effect prolong the conflict. Hard choices might have to be faced. In other situations, it may be easier to separate humanitarian assistance from blue helmet operations so as not to confuse humanitarian aid with politics.

18. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an integrated approach to the protection and assistance of civilians in dire need? What can United Nations forces do? What is the relationship between demobilization/ disarmament and humanitarian functions? How can these functions be mutually supportive? Are there ways in which the application of military force in support of humanitarian missions can be woven into disarmament for the same ends?

19. Geneva is a good place to undertake an inquiry of this kind, since it is where some of the most important humanitarian organizations are located. Cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations would be important. A valuable research base already exists in the practitioners' questionnaire developed for the disarmament and conflict resolution project. This questionnaire includes a number of points concerning the relationship between United Nations forces and humanitarian endeavours.

Post-conflict stability, human rights promotion and economic reconstruction

20. Non-traditional security issues are becoming increasingly important for long-term security and peace, economic reconstruction and development. Along with political stability, respect for human rights is at the very foundation of social systems, and ruling regimes in war-torn societies often need to rebuild this basic respect among civilians, the military, the Government and others.

21. A research project addressing these three themes C political stability, the promotion of human rights, and economic reconstruction C would prepare the international community to cope with post-conflict issues in the years to come. The study should be global in scope. The objective should be to assess the best ways and means to achieve sustainable peace.

22. Given the magnitude of such a venture, the project could last from one year and a half to two years, and would require multi-disciplinary and cross-regional expertise. It could, for example, build on the work already initiated by the Social Policy and Resettlement Division regarding post-conflict reconstruction and the policy papers of the World Bank, or the programme on armed forces in West Africa organized by the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat. This project could be conceived and implemented in cooperation with such institutions and other regional and global-oriented partners. Its publications would be of value to all institutions (governmental, non-governmental, international and financial) that play a significant role in the reconstruction of war-torn societies.

Modern technologies in the service of peace

23. Modern technologies can be used to enhance preventive diplomacy, strengthen confidence-building arrangements, and make peace operations more effective. This is an underexploited area. Classical peacekeeping operations have had a propensity for low-technology and improvisation. In current conflicts, peace operations may benefit from using modern technologies to gather information and improve early warning capabilities (remote sensing devices, optical and infra-red sensors), to detect and defuse mines (infra-red, ground-penetrating radar), to improve communications and inter-operability among multinational United Nations forces, to equip blue helmets with more effective means, and to assist in humanitarian efforts.

24. It is suggested that UNIDIR might involve itself together with other institutions possessing special technological expertise in an effort to bridge the gap between modern technologies and the needs of confidence-building, preventive diplomacy and peace operations. The disarmament and conflict resolution project, as well as the follow-on studies relating to preventive diplomacy and humanitarian efforts, should provide a good background for identifying needs in this area, while other projects will report on existing and emerging technologies that may go some way towards meeting them.

Light weapons

25. A common denominator in the collective security issues noted above is the dissemination of light weapons. The United Nations is at the forefront of stronger efforts to control light weapons C the ones that account for most of the casualties in contemporary conflicts. Yet, much remains to be done in this field, which UNIDIR has addressed for some time and intends to pursue. Future approaches will take into account the conclusions and the needs identified by the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms, which is due to present its report shortly.

26. In cooperation with other research institutes and national and international institutions combating illicit trafficking, UNIDIR research will continue to focus on both recipient and supplier perspectives. In this spirit, meetings similar to the one held in Buenos Aires in April 1997 on the illicit traffic of small arms and sensitive technologies (see annex I, para. 26, and para. 34 below) may be convened either in Latin America or in other regions.

B. Regional security

27. In recent years, regional security studies at UNIDIR have largely focused on the Middle East. Since 1996, other activities have been undertaken in West Africa and Latin America and to a lesser extent in Asia. Diversification of regional security studies will be pursued in 1998.

Middle East

28. The project on confidence-building and arms control in the Middle East shall conclude with a meeting towards the end of the year. A presentation of the final version of the UNIDIR Satellite Imagery Atlas of the Middle East Peace Process could take place at that time. Some work will remain in 1998 on the finalization of project publications.

29. Having built a certain competence in regional security issues in the Middle East and established cooperative networks for research on arms control there, future research might be conducted on the application of cooperative security in the Middle East, especially as it relates to non-offensive or non-provocative defence. In specific terms, UNIDIR has been encouraged to make further studies on the preconditions and modalities of military restructuring towards non-offensive force postures in the area.

30. UNIDIR has constituted a solid network of experts on and from the Middle East. In 1998, the Institute will seek to make use of this network in non-governmental meetings (track 2), preferably on a small scale. Experience shows that such meetings and workshops can be of use both when meetings at the government level (track 1) are stalled (in which case they help in keeping some channels open), and when track 1 is operational (in which case track 2 can facilitate progress thanks to a more informal setting).


31. In the future, work undertaken since 1996 on West Africa (see paras. 12-15 above) may lend itself to other subregions, or to comparative research on the basis of work undertaken by other research institutions in East, Central or southern Africa.


32. As the December 1996 Beijing seminar (see annex I, para. 26) clearly illustrated, the evolution of security issues in the Asia-Pacific region will be crucial not just for the regional States themselves, but also for the future of international security from a global perspective. In Northeast, Southeast and South Asia, unresolved issues include territorial disputes, the future of energy security, risks of nuclear and missile proliferation, and the thin line between military modernization and arms races. The issues at stake and the ways and means of attempting to alleviate them offer a rich scope for forward-looking research by UNIDIR.

33. Organizationally, opportunities for cooperation with the United Nations Regional Centre at Kathmandu will be investigated. But an expanding agenda can only be managed through a strengthening of the core staff in Geneva, as well as by arranging for more visiting fellows to undertake research at UNIDIR.

Cross-regional perspectives

34. UNIDIR's seminar on the illegal traffic of small arms and sensitive technologies held at Buenos Aires from 23 to 25 April 1997 underlined the relationship between narcotraffic, terrorism and their threat to the stability of States through the access to small arms or materials related to weapons of mass destruction. It appears appropriate that UNIDIR should take this work further within the framework of a new research project on illicit trafficking, terrorism and the stability of States (building on work begun in Latin America).

35. This project could address the problem of the relationship between narcotics and terrorism on a regional basis, while also providing for the comparative study of such trends across regions. Particular emphasis should be placed on threats to security and stability on both national and regional scales.

36. The ultimate objective of this research project would be to identify legal and practical recommendations which could be implemented by authorities fighting narcotraffic, arms-trafficking and terrorism. Recommendations should also consider short- and long-term strategies that would provide the international community with better cooperative means for coping with this problem.

37. Preliminary discussions have been initiated with various national and international institutions and research institutes. Some institutions have shown considerable interest in joining forces with UNIDIR in order to identify the nature of the problem and search for individual and collective ways to prepare to face this issue in the next century.

C. Non-proliferation studies

38. Disarmament and non-proliferation are two sides of the same coin, both essential means of enhancing security. The themes addressed under this heading therefore deal with both aspects, as appropriate.

Implementation and verification

39. For the foreseeable future, the full implementation of existing disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements will be a crucial and demanding task. Verified implementation is, and will remain, an essential means of building trust and therefore security. Research to be undertaken at UNIDIR will devote particular attention to these issues.

Disarmament and future security

40. The immediate prospects for fruitful multilateral negotiations on disarmament and non-proliferation appear uncertain. However, UNIDIR needs to look beyond short-term agendas into future options for arms reduction and disarmament, notably in the nuclear field. In particular, attention should be devoted to forward-looking and practical analyses of the ways of ensuring that progressively lower levels of armaments (notably nuclear) do result in enhanced security. Such work could be undertaken from either regional or global perspectives.

Fissile materials

41. A convention prohibiting further production of fissile materials for weapons purposes is among the next items for negotiation at the Conference on Disarmament. The Conference has agreed on a negotiating mandate (agreeing to disagree, until further notice, on the stockpiles issues). UNIDIR has issued one publication on the cut-off issue (see appendix to annex I). More studies may be tailored to the evolution of debates in the Conference.

42. The safe and secure disposal of excess fissile materials is an issue of increasing importance, both in the bilateral United States of America-Russian Federation context of warhead dismantlement and globally. So far, nuclear disarmament has been discussed and pursued in terms of weapons and delivery vehicles. In the future, it will have to give more specific consideration to fissile materials as well.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones

43. Acting upon the recommendations of the seminar on nuclear-weapon-free zones in the next century convened at Tlatelolco, Mexico, by UNIDIR with OPANAL and the Government of Mexico in April 1997, the Institute will seek to continue to explore the future of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Three main sets of issues present themselves: (a) prospects for increasing cooperation among existing zones (in Latin America, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa); (b) options for enhancing the roles of each existing zone (for example to provide regional frameworks for agreements on other types of weapons); and over the longer term; and (c) prospects for the emergence of new zones in other regions. As in the case of the Tlatelolco seminar, these activities would be carried out in cooperation with the relevant regional organizations.

Lessons from the United Nations Special Commission

44. The Institute may also prepare an account and assessment of the achievements of the United Nations Special Commission at an appropriate time. The focus would be on lessons learned in terms of inspections and verification in Iraq, and on a discussion of their applicability to different situations.

Transparency and restraint in arms transfers

45. The debates in recent meetings organized by UNIDIR in various regions (Africa, Asia and Latin America) have stressed the issue of transparency in arms transfers. Suggestions have been made for regional or subregional registers, notably including light weapons. Further studies should also continue to be made in the area of arms and defence-related technology transfers, notably with a view to a better identification of emerging technologies that may become objects of control and constraint 10 to 20 years hence. This new study should focus on developing a broader understanding between suppliers and recipients on the rules to govern international transactions in dual-use technologies.

D. Fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament

46. A fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament is expected to provide a unique opportunity to review and reflect upon disarmament efforts. This is particularly the case since the present international setting has undergone considerable change since the third special session was held in 1988. The primary objectives of such a meeting would therefore be to review present approaches to arms control and disarmament, as well as to propose a new vision for dealing with such issues.

47. The significance and success of another special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament very much depend on the intensity and scope of the preparatory debates. UNIDIR could contribute to this preparation in different ways. One could be to organize a special workshop with a limited number of senior experts and practitioners (including members of the UNIDIR Board of Trustees), to present and discuss papers for publication by the Institute.

48. UNIDIR could also convene a conference on disarmament in the twenty-first century and challenges for a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. This could enlist the participation of some 15 to 20 acting and former heads of State and Government by means of live video conference from Geneva. They would be invited to make short presentations and answer questions from the audience. The conference could be opened by the President of the host country, Switzerland, and closed by the Secretary-General either in person or via a live video conference link.

49. A video conference of this magnitude would involve considerable investment of human, technical and financial resources, which UNIDIR does not possess. It would be important that a core of cooperating institutes be formed to prepare such a conference. Additional assistance could also be sought from television stations that possess the necessary equipment and already have technical teams in various capitals. Other associations could be envisaged as necessary.

50. The dissemination of information on the conference could be threefold. The conference itself could be aired live. A VHS-type video could be prepared for distribution after the event. A publication containing the texts of all presentations could be distributed some three to four months before the actual special session took place in New York. The meeting would be broadcast in all six official languages of the United Nations and the publication would also be issued in those languages.

E. Cooperation with and among research institutes

51. Four activities will be continued under this heading:

(a) The maintenance and development of the Institute=s computerized information and documentation database on who is doing what in the field of security and disarmament research. This database, with over 1,200 references, is being placed on-line through the World Wide Web. Other regional and project specific databases will be initiated to support UNIDIR and other projects;

(b) The publication of the quarterly UNIDIR NewsLetter as well as special issues;

(c) The convening of regional conferences, held with the dual purpose of examining region-specific issues of security, arms control and disarmament and of fostering cooperation with and among research institutes in the areas concerned;

(d) The convening of conferences and other smaller group activities in support of initiatives aimed to improve communication and access to data. New technologies can assist in fostering closer research networks and cooperation.

52. A new UNIDIR project, Institutes Talk, will provide a forum for research institutes, national and international organizations working in the area of disarmament and international security to become more familiarized with one another. Through video conferences, Institutes Talk would alleviate the financial and time constraints related to travel to international conferences, especially for institutes that have few opportunities to take part in the international conference circuit.

53. A summary of the debate would be published in the ANews of the Institutes@ feature of the UNIDIR NewsLetter. UNIDIR will also build a library of video conferences as they occur and list them in the NewsLetter. These video conferences could be made available for sale at a cost not exceeding that of the cassette and mailing.

54. UNIDIR also proposes to set up an occasional venue for information and informal discussion among the diplomatic and research communities in Geneva: the UNIDIR Forum. Invited speakers would deliver a presentation of some 30 minutes on a topical subject in their field of expertise related to disarmament and international security, followed by questions and open discussion. Meetings would last for one hour to an hour and a half.

55. The forum is intended as a contribution to public debate; UNIDIR would take no position on the views of guest speakers, which would be their sole responsibility. Discussions would be off the record, while the substance of the presentation would be considered public and its text, if available, might be published by UNIDIR.

F. Fellowship programme

56. The UNIDIR fellowship programme is for scholars from developing countries. Funding permitting, the fellows stay from three to six months and are integrated into ongoing research projects. They represent a significant strengthening of the research base in Geneva. The programme helps to ensure the participation of researchers on Aan equitable political and geographical basis@ (article II.3 of the UNIDIR Statute).

  III. Finance

57. To date, voluntary contributions in 1997 amount to about US$ 625,300 (see table 1).

58. The United Nations regular budget subvention to UNIDIR is meant to defray the salary costs of the Director and the core staff of the Institute. For many years this subvention has been kept at the level of $220,000 a year. However, owing to the financial crisis, for the present biennium the subvention has been reduced to $213,000 a year. Staff contracts depend increasingly on the success of fund-raising campaigns.

59. Tables 1 to 4 show the financial status of UNIDIR, as follows:

(a) Table 1, voluntary contributions for 1997 and total 1997 estimated income from voluntary sources;

(b) Table 2, current status of 1998 estimated income from voluntary sources;

(c) Table 3, estimates of income and expenditure for 1997 and 1998;

(d) Table 4, estimated 1997 and 1998 resource requirements.


a General Assembly resolution 39/148 H, annex, of 17 December 1984.

b On 1 July 1997, the Secretary-General, based on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees, appointed Ms. Patricia Lewis as Director of the Institute.

c Ms. Lewis will assume her duties on 13 October 1997.


Table 1

Voluntary contributions for 1997 and total 1997 estimated income from voluntary sources

(United States dollars)



A. Governmental contributions


 44 300


 10 000


 3 700


 10 900


 29 800


 279 000


 3 200


 32 400


 100 000


 3 000

 Republic of Korea

 15 000


Foreign Affairs Department

Military Department


45 900

22 200


 599 400

B. Public donations

 North Atlantic Treaty Organization

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

United Nations Development Programme, Office at Bamako

3 900

7 000

15 000


 25 900

Total 1997 estimated income from voluntary sources

 625 300


Table 2

Current status of 1998 estimated income from voluntary sources

(United States dollars)a



A. Governmental contributions 


 279 000


 10 300


 47 000

 Subtotal A

 336 300

 B. Public donations  

 Foundation support applied for:

 94 500

 Total 1998 estimated income from voluntary sources as at 30 May 1997b

 430 800


aBased on the United Nations operational rate of exchange for the month of May 1997.

  bThe estimates as of this writing are provisional, since replies from a number of past and potential contributors are still expected.


Table 3

Estimates of income and expenditure for 1997 and 1998

(Thousands of United States dollars)


 1997 revised estimates

 1998 initial estimates


A. Funds available at the beginning of the year




 B. Estimated income  

 Earmarked contributions




 Public donations




 Estimated interest income




 Estimated miscellaneous income




 Subvention from the United Nations regular budget




 Total income




C. Total estimated funds available (A+B)

 1 095.3



D. Estimated expenditure




E. Fund balance at the end of the year (C-D)





a Includes $122,600, representing the operating cash reserve for 1996.

 b Includes $96,700, representing the operating cash reserve for 1997.

 c Includes $86,300, representing the operating cash reserve for 1998.


Table 4

Estimated 1997 and 1998 resource requirements

(Thousands of United States dollars)

 Resource requirements

 1997 revised estimates

 1998 initial estimates


A. Direct programme and administrative costs  

 Consultancy fees and travel




 Ad hoc expert groups




 Salaries and related staff costs




 Personal service contracts




 Official travel of staff




 External printing and binding




 Paper for internal reproduction




 Maintenance of office automation equipment




 Subscriptions and standing orders




 Supplies and materials




 Acquisition of office equipment












 B. Programme support costs 

 (5 per cent of total A, less United Nations subvention)




Total estimated expenditure (A+B)




C. Operating cash reserve  

 (15 per cent of total A+B less United Nations subvention)




 Grand total A+B+C