1 October 2009
General Assembly

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

2009 United Nations Disarmament Fellowship Programme


Starts Third Segment Today at New York Headquarters


NEW YORK, 1 October (Office for Disarmament Affairs) -- The third segment of the 2009 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 24 Member States.

The New York segment is meant primarily to expose the Fellows to 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 delegations to the First Committee and United Nations officials, including the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.  Based on the experience gained, the Fellows will be engaged in practical exercises on the drafting, introduction and taking actions on draft resolutions, as carried out in the First Committee.  They will also be required to finalize individual research papers on a topic of their choice relating to disarmament and international security.

Diplomats from the following 24 Member States are participating in the 2009 Disarmament Fellowship Programme:  Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Cambodia; Cameroon; Chile; China; Egypt; Honduras; Hungary; Iran; Mauritius; Myanmar; Nepal; Poland; Republic of Korea; Russian Federation; Senegal; Slovenia; Sudan; Switzerland; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Ukraine; and Uzbekistan.

The Geneva segment of the Programme, which was carried out from 24 August to 8 September, was primarily aimed at exposing the Fellows to 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, by staff members of the Geneva branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the Head of the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit, the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Director for Disarmament and Peace of the Quaker United Nations Office.  The Fellows also attended meetings of the Conference on Disarmament, a seminar organized by the UNIDIR, the Preparatory Committee of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the Permanent Mission of Hungary.  The Fellows also participated in a study visit organized by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

Between 9 and 30 September, 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, China and Japan, at the invitation of the 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) the 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 31 years of its existence, 783 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 the pursuance of disarmament and arms limitation goals.

The Programme will conclude at United Nations Headquarters on 23 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