2 October 2008
Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

2008 UNITED NATIONS disarmament FELLOWSHIP programme




The third segment of the 2008 Disarmament Fellowship Programme starts today at United Nations Headquarters, for a period of three-and-a-half weeks, with the participation of young diplomats from 25 Member States.

The New York segment is meant primarily to familiarize the Fellows with the work of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the General Assembly, including attendance of the meetings of the Committee.  The Fellows will be briefed by members of the delegations of the First Committee and United Nations officials, including the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and the senior staff of the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  Based on the experience gained, the Fellows will conduct a virtual practical exercise, including drafting, introducing and taking action on draft resolutions.  Additionally, the Fellows are required to finalize individual research papers on a topic of their choice relating to disarmament and international security.  While in New York, the Fellows will attend a seminar organized by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Diplomats from the following 25 Member States are participating in the 2008 Disarmament Fellowship Programme:  Algeria; Belarus; Benin; Bulgaria; Colombia; Egypt; Ethiopia; Honduras; Indonesia; Iran; Japan; Kenya; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Madagascar; Mexico; Morocco; Niger; Pakistan; Paraguay; Romania; Serbia; South Africa; Thailand; and Togo.

The Geneva segment of the Programme, which was carried out from 25 August to 11 September, was primarily aimed at familiarizing the Fellows with issues on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament.  This year’s segment included a cycle of lectures by senior representatives of States members of the Conference on Disarmament, by the Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference, and by staff members of the Geneva branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and the Small Arms Survey.  The Fellows also attended meetings of the Conference on Disarmament and participated in a study visit organized by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

Between 11 September and 1 October, the Fellows participated in study visits to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, and to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.  They also visited Germany and Japan, at the invitation of their respective Governments.

The United Nations Disarmament Fellowship Programme was launched by the First Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament in 1978 and aims at (a) training and specialization in the field of disarmament of national officials in more Member States, particularly in the developing countries, and (b) enabling them to participate more effectively in international deliberating and negotiating forums.  Implemented by the Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Programme has trained, in the 30 years of its existence, 759 officials from 159 countries.  A large number of them are now in positions of responsibility in the field of disarmament within their own Governments.  The Programme has enabled former Fellows to participate more effectively in regional and global efforts in the field of disarmament and, by creating an informal network spanning the various regions of the world, to work cooperatively and constructively in pursuit of disarmament and arms limitation goals.

The Programme will conclude at United Nations Headquarters on 24 October.  The Fellows will be awarded certificates of participation by Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

For further information, please contact Jerzy Zaleski, c/o Jenny Fuchs, Office for Disarmament Affairs, Room S-3150, tel.: 212 963 2386.

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For information media • not an official record