|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
17th Meeting (AM)
Unregulated Information Highway is Non-Traditional Security Threat with Too Many
‘Traffic Accidents’, China Tells First Committee, Warning of Security Breaches
Potential Threats Can ‘Provoke Outbreak of Large-scale Information Wars’,
Says Russian Federation, Introducing One of Six Draft Resolutions/Decisions
The unregulated traffic-laden information highway posed a major non-traditional security threat, forcing cyberspace onto the international community’s arms control agenda, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard as its thematic debate continued with the introduction of six draft texts on the agenda, under “other disarmament measures and international security”.
In this “century of information”, said China’s representative, the information highway reached almost all corners of the globe, and in that virtual space where traffic was very heavy, there were no comprehensive “traffic rules”. As a result, “traffic accidents” occurred with ever-increasing damage and impact. The development of global norms and rules guiding the activities in information and cyber space was urgent for maintaining information and cyberspace security.
China, said its delegate, had increasingly been subjected to cyber attacks from abroad. It had become a “major victim” and suffered “enormous losses” as a result. Calling for a “community of common destiny”, he said an effective response to that challenge was an important element of international security and a major topic for multilateral diplomacy for arms control.
Along those lines, the Russian Federation’s delegation would have the General Assembly, according to a draft it introduced today, express concern that those technologies could potentially be used for purposes inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure of States to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields.
He said that recent events had shown that the threat coming from the use of information and communications technologies for the purposes inconsistent with the goals of ensuring international peace and security was a real one and it could not only seriously damage the information systems, resources and critical networks, but could undermine political, economic and social stability, and also provoke an outbreak of large scale information wars.
The text, similar to the one tabled in past years, called on Member States to promote further at multilateral levels the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible strategies to address the threats emerging in this field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.
New to the draft this year, he explained, was a provision seeking continuation of study by a group of governmental experts to be established in 2012 of existing and potential threats in the sphere of international security and possible cooperation measures to address them, including norms, rules or principles of responsible behaviour of States and confidence-building measures in information science.
While science and technology could have positive contributions, such as to the verification of relevant disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, India’s delegate pointed out, the international community should follow closely developments that might have a negative impact on the security environment and on the process of arms limitation and disarmament.
With that in mind, she introduced a draft decision on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament, asking that the item, once again, be included on the Assembly’s agenda, for next session. She sought dialogue and cooperation among Member States to find a viable forward-looking approach.
Indonesia’s representative, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, tabled four draft texts, including one, entitled “Promotion of multilateral in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation”. It would have the Assembly express concern at the continuous erosion of multilateralism in the field of arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament, and recognize that a resort to unilateral actions by Member States in resolving their security concerns would jeopardize international peace and security and undermine confidence in the international security system, as well as the foundations of the United Nations itself.
Further to the text, the Assembly would reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a view to maintain and strengthening universal norms and enlarging their scope.
The other drafts were on the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security, a decision; observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control; and relationship between disarmament and development.
Following the debate, the thematic segment on regional disarmament and security was opened with remarks by a number of panellists, including Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, Agnés Marcaillou; Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Melanie Regimbal; Xiaoyu Wang, United Nations Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific; Ivor Fung, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre in Africa.
Delivering statements on the theme of conventional weapons was Iran’s Director for Disarmament and International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of Republic of Korea, Panama, Botswana and Cambodia.
The representatives of the United Kingdom and Argentina exercised their right of reply.
Speaking on the thematic cluster on other disarmament measures and international security were the representatives of Australia, Japan, Cuba, United States and Belarus.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 21 October, to continue its debate on regional disarmament and security, and to begin the thematic cluster on disarmament machinery.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its thematic debate segments on conventional weapons, other disarmament measures and international security, and regional disarmament and security, and to hear the introduction of related draft texts.
The thematic discussion on regional disarmament and security would include a panel discussion with the Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch, Office for Disarmament Affairs; the Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific; and the Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429).
Summaries of Drafts
A draft resolution on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/66/L.6), sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, that bears in mind the new challenges for the international community in the fields of development, would urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.
The Assembly would stress the central role of the United Nations in the disarmament-development relationship and request the Secretary-General to continue to take action for the implementation of the action programme adopted at the 1987 International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development.
It would also encourage the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to make reference to the contribution that disarmament could provide in meeting them when it reviews its progress towards this purpose in 2012.
In a related provision, the Assembly would encourage relevant regional and subregional organizations and institutions, non-governmental organizations and research institutes to incorporate these issues into their agenda. It would reiterate its invitation to Member States to provide the Secretary-General with information regarding measures and efforts to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development.
A draft decision, sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/66/L.7), would have the General Assembly reaffirm that international disarmament forums should take fully into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation agreements, and that all States, through their actions, should contribute fully to ensuring compliance with those norms in the implementation of those instruments.
The Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its selective contribution to attaining sustainable development.
According to a draft resolution, sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/66/L.8), the General Assembly, concerned at the continuous erosion of multilateralism in the field of arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament, would reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a view to maintaining and strengthening universal norms and enlarging their scope, and reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in resolving disarmament and non-proliferation concerns.
The draft would urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner; underline the importance of preserving the existing agreements on arms regulation and disarmament; and call upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation.
The Assembly would request the States parties to the relevant instruments on weapons of mass destruction to consult and cooperate among themselves in resolving their concerns with regard to cases of non-compliance, as well as on implementation, in accordance with the procedures defined in those instruments, and to refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another to resolve their concerns.
A draft decision submitted by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the Review of the implementation of the Strengthening of International Security (document A/C.1/66/L.12) would have the General Assembly decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-eighth session.
According to a draft resolution, entitled “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/66/L.30), the General Assembly, expressing concern that information technologies can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security any may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure of States to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields, would ask the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of government experts to be established in 2012, to continue studying existing and potential threats in the sphere of international security and possible cooperation measures to address them, including norms, rules or principles of responsible behaviour of States and confidence-building measures in information science.
Further to the text, the Assembly would call upon Member States to promote further at multilateral levels the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible strategies to address the threats emerging in this field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.
By the term of the draft decision on the Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (A/C.1/66/L.44), sponsored by India, the General Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-seventh session the item by that name.
Thematic Debate, Introduction of Drafts on Conventional Weapons
KWON HAE-RYONG, Ambassador of Republic of Korea to the Conference on Disarmament, said that the number of States parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects(Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) had steadily increased, but still fell short of universal membership. The Convention’s amended Protocol II marked a significant advancement in addressing humanitarian concerns related to landmines. The Republic of Korea had been making meaningful contributions to the mine clearance and victim assistance projects through various channels. The entry into force of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war had demonstrated that the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was an “important, living instrument of international law”. The Republic of Korea was strongly committed to Protocol V.
Sharing the international community’s concerns about humanitarian impact caused by the irresponsible cluster munitions, he said that his country supported the work of the Group of Governmental Experts, in connection with the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, on a protocol that struck the right balance between humanitarian considerations and legitimate security needs. Despite the unique and volatile security situations it faced, his country had actively participated in the Group. On the subject of an arms trade treaty, he said it was in the interests of the international community that the global trade in conventional arms be regulated by a legally binding instrument containing common standards for transfers of conventional arms, and therefore, such a treaty should be delivered with the maximum participation of member countries.
Concerning the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, he said his country, at the third and fourth Biennial Meetings of States, and at the first Meeting of Governmental Experts, had recommitted itself to combating illicit transfers of those weapons. Calling for the Programme of Action’s further enforcement, he said he looked forward to making the Second Review Conference a success.
REZA NADJAFI, Director for Disarmament and International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, said he attached great importance to the subject of the illicit trade in conventional arms being addressed within the United Nations. Security needs of all States should be considered and approached in a balanced manner that complied with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which protected that right. Multilateral, and not unilateral or coercive, measures should be used to ensure protection of that right.
The best way to address the spread of conventional arms would be to strengthen the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and not to create new programmes. Any arrangements should protect countries’ national security needs. The universality of an arms instrument was important, he said, noting that 85 per cent of the global weapons trade was dominated by a few countries. With that in mind, at least 10 major arms-producing States should have to ratify such an instrument. The Programme of Action and the international instrument on marking and tracing were still the main international platforms to address the multifaceted challenges of small arms and light weapons. The upcoming 2012 Review Conference on the Programme of Action was a way to strengthen the instrument’s effectiveness.
Iranians had experienced war and been under constant missile attacks by Saddam Hussein’s forces, he said. As a result, the country had been obliged to develop its own missile technology. Iran supported any comprehensive and non-discriminatory approach to addressing the issue of missiles within the United Nations. Iran had a clear defence policy, and its missiles were purely defensive in nature and posed no threat to any State. Spending billions of dollars for anti-missile systems, thereby continuing the 1980s’ “star wars” race, would not add to the security of any country, but would create a new arms rivalry.
Regarding cluster munitions, Lebanon had been the victim of an invading army using those weapons, he said. More than 1 million of those munitions remained unexploded, and many civilians, in particular children, had been killed since the end of the war in 2006 due to those weapons. That situation was a grave violation of ethical law. Iran shared the humanitarian aspect of the Cluster Munitions Convention. There were many cluster munitions present in the country after the war in the 1980s. Regulations on those weapons should include the major players. Cluster munitions had also been used in Afghanistan and Iraq after 2001, with 2 million used in the latter country after 2003.
PABLO ANTONIOTHALASSINOS ( Panama) said that his country was firmly committed to the process of working towards an understanding for the arms trade treaty, and hoped that the instrument would serve to promote and strengthen norms in the trade of arms and prevent its destabilizing effects. He supported the initiatives in international, regional and subregional forums in support of such a treaty, with the aim of it becoming a legally binding instrument setting international norms. Concluding the treaty would hopefully culminate the process of putting an end to the illicit arms trade in and irresponsible transfer of arms, which led to serious social and humanitarian consequences for many countries.
Every year, he said, there was an increase in the number of victims resulting from that illicit trafficking. Efforts must be made to combat that. Panama was fully aware of that regional and global threat, and favoured the introduction of mechanisms to control such illegal actions. National and international instruments must be applied to identify small arms and light weapons that were being illicitly trafficked. Panama had passed new legislation on weapons, firearms, munitions and related materials to regulate the activities of “middle men” in that trade, and was introducing a modern registry and marking system for those weapons, as well as applicable sanctions for illicit activities. The law further promoted the surrender of small arms and light weapons that had been illicitly obtained, and it established a legal framework to regulate ownership, trade, sale, storage, intermediation, transport, and trafficking of weapons, munitions and related materials by individuals. The law complied with the need to modernize and unify legislation in that area in the context of social realities, and adapt to the socio-economic and security needs of the country.
TAPIWA MONGWA ( Botswana) said that the use of illicit small arms and light weapons in violent crimes, including robbery, transnational organized crime and piracy, was among the main causes of insecurity in her region. That class of weapons posed a serious threat to countries in her region and undermined efforts to promote social and economic development. There needed to be stronger and more robust efforts to combat the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, and she supported the arms trade treaty to regulate their irresponsible transfer.
She commended measures taken by the United Nations system and other relevant partners to enhance international assistance and cooperation. The willingness of donors to provide financial and technical assistance was also commendable, as well as the use of regional and subregional organizations to facilitate cooperation within and between the regions. Greater international assistance and cooperation remained critical, particularly in the area of border control.
Matching needs with resources was also important, she said, as that enabled efficient and systematic implementation of identified projects, which further advanced the goals of the Programme of Action. She also recognized and appreciated the important role played by initiatives, such as the Group of Interested States for Practical Disarmament Measures, in promoting the implementation of relevant disarmament agreements, including the Action Programme.
She noted with appreciation the convening of the meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms, which had brought together senior law enforcement experts to exchange views on the challenges of implementing the Action Programme. That meeting also had provided a useful platform on which new strategies and tools could be developed to tackle existing challenges, and it had offered useful input to the 2012 Review Conference.
Hopefully, she said, all outstanding issues on the deliberations towards an arms trade treaty would be resolved, without compromising its quality as a valuable instrument for preventing illegal acquisition of weapons, as well as the acquisition by those who would use them for criminal acts or the perpetuation of atrocities against innocent people.
NGOUN SOKVENG ( Cambodia) said that conventional weapons continued to threaten regional and international peace and stability. Cambodia was a conflict-affected country awash with a legacy of small arms, and he strongly supported the Action Programme as a cornerstone in addressing the issues of conventional weapons. Further, landmines and explosive remnants of war were the most silent and indiscriminate killers — killing men, women, children, and even animals. Cambodia’s problem with those weapons was the result of a protracted sequence of internal and regional conflicts, which had affected the country from the mid-1960s until late 1998.
He said the nature of the landmines contaminating Cambodia was highly complex. The northwest regions bordering Thailand were heavily affected, while other parts, mainly to the East, were considered of moderate risk, mainly scattered with explosive remnants of war. He emphasized the responsibility of the State, but cooperation with its partners was critical to tackling the problem. Being a State party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention), Cambodia continued to exert its efforts to clear the anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war from the country. It was also committed to promoting regional and international stability and disarmament.
To further raise awareness of mine impacts, Cambodia would host the eleventh Meeting of State Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention in Phnom Penh next month, he noted. Although much progress had been made — with 157 States on board, large tracts of land cleared, and millions of stockpiled mines destroyed — there was still a long way to go towards a mine-free world. This year, Cambodia was co-sponsoring the annual resolution on the Mine-Ban Convention, together with Albania and Norway. He expressed the hope that the level of support this year would be higher for the sake of the humanitarian goal of a mine-free world.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the United Kingdom, responding to the right of reply made yesterday by the delegate from Argentina, said that the United Kingdom had no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas.
She said that the principles of self-determination, enshrined in the United Nations Charter, underlined the United Kingdom’s position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. There could be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Islands unless and until such time as the Falkland Islanders so wished. The islanders regularly made it clear that they had no wish either to lose British sovereignty or to become independent.
Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Argentina said that, in relation to what had been said by the delegation of the United Kingdom concerning the question of the Malvinas Islands, she reiterated the statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on 21 June 2011.
She said the Argentine Government recalled that the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas were an integral part of the Argentine national territory and that, being illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom, were subject to a sovereignty dispute between both countries which was recognized by several international organizations. The illegal occupation exercised by the United Kingdom had led the General Assembly to adopt resolutions 2065 (1965), 3160 (1973), 31/49 (1976), 37/9 (1982), 38/12 (1983), 39/6 (1984), 40/21 (1985), 41/40 (1986), 42/19 (1987) and 43/25 (1988), all of which recognized the existence of the sovereignty dispute referred to as the “question of the Malvinas Islands”, and called upon the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume the negotiations in order to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful and lasting solution to the dispute. Also, the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee had expressed the same sentiment, on repeated occasions, most recently through the resolution adopted on 21 June 2011. Likewise, a new pronouncement in similar terms was adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States on 7 June.
She said Argentina regretted that the British Government sought to distort historical facts in an attempt to conceal the act of usurpation it had committed in 1833; that act had, since the moment the British invaded, been the subject of continuing and repeated protests by Argentina. The misrepresentation also demonstrated that the United Kingdom was not certain about what it considered to be its “rights” on the question of the Malvinas Islands.
Rather than trying to refute historical facts, which it had already admitted occurred, and the consequences of which it recognized, the United Kingdom should honour its commitment and immediately resume negotiations with Argentina on sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas in order to reach a just and definitive solution to the dispute, she said. The principles of self-determination of peoples, the sole element on which the United Kingdom based its alleged rights and which it mentioned exclusively in relation to the Malvinas Islands, was totally and manifestly inappropriate and did not apply to the dispute between the two countries concerning sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands.
In terms of the sovereignty of the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas, she said Argentina regretted that the United Kingdom continued irresponsibly to fan the hopes of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands based on the illicit appropriation of Argentine natural resources in open violation of international law and in contradiction of the pronouncements of international bodies. In that connection, the interests and way of life of those inhabitants was adequately protected by the relevant General Assembly resolutions and by the Constitution of Argentina, respectively.
She reiterated Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty rights over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas, which were an integral part of the Argentina national territory.
Thematic Debate on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security
WANG QUN ( China) said that the twenty-first century was “the century of information”. Information and cyber-technology represented advanced productivity, and its rapid development and wide application had given a strong impetus to economic and social development and the progress of human civilization. In recent years, China has been subjected to increasing cyber attacks from abroad, which caused enormous losses. Indeed, his country had become a major victim of cyber attacks. Information and cyber-space security represented a major non-traditional security challenge that confronted the international community. Effective response to that challenge had become an important element of international security and a major topic for multilateral diplomacy for arms control.
He said his country believed that the international community should view the issue from the new perspective of “a community of common destiny” and work together towards a peaceful, secure and equitable information and cyber space. China believed a number of principles should be followed, including the principle of peace, in which the international community engaged in active preventive diplomacy and promoted the use of information and cyber-technology in advancing economic and social development and people’s welfare, and in maintaining international peace, stability and security; and the principle of sovereignty, in which sovereign States were the main actors in effective international governance of information and cyber space. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and other universal basic norms of international relations, should also be respected.
The principle of balance between freedom and security in information flow should also be followed, he said. While fully respecting the rights and freedom of all stakeholders in information and cyber space, countries should uphold the rule of law so as to effectively keep order in information and cyber space. In fact, the rule of law should be the guiding beacon for activities in information and cyberspace, too. Moreover, practising power politics in cyberspace in the name of cyber freedom was untenable. He also advocated the principle of cooperation, saying that since information and cyber-networks were interlinked and belonged to different sovereign jurisdictions, no country was able to manage only its own information and cyber-business, still less to ensure its information and cyber security by itself. Finally, he encouraged the principle of equitable development, in which developed countries helped the developing ones to enhance capacity in information and cyber-technology and narrow the digital divide.
The “information” highway reached almost all corners of our planet, he said, adding, however, that it was worrisome that in that virtual space where traffic was very heavy, there were no comprehensive “traffic rules”. As a result, “traffic accidents” in information and cyber space constantly occurred with ever increasing damage and impact. The development of international norms and rules guiding the activities in information and cyber space, therefore, had become an urgent task in maintaining information and cyberspace security.
He said that the United Nations, as the most universal and authoritative international organization, was the most appropriate forum for the formulation of such norms and rules. In September, China, together with the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, submitted to the current session of the General Assembly “International Code of Conduct for Information Security” (A/66/359), with a view to launching an open and transparent process for developing international norms and rules for information and cyberspace security, which, those nations hoped, would prompt countries to act responsibly and constructively in information and cyber space and address concerns of all parties in a balanced way.
PETER WOOLCOTT, Ambassador for Disarmament, Australia, said his country had a growing interest in cyberspace as a vital platform for commercial, intellectual and social exchange. He welcomed the launch of an international dialogue on the development of international norms for “cyber”; such a dialogue was needed as the current international consideration of cyber issues lacked coherence. That discussion would be difficult in the United Nations framework, however, because the topic and its many different dimensions did not fit readily into the Committee’s structure. Cyberspace covered a range of issues, only some of which related to international security included in the Committee’s work.
Developing international norms was a long-term enterprise with a balanced and pragmatic discussion that separated out the different cyber issues and identified an appropriate international path for each of them within the United Nations system, he said. But, that was possible. Australia’s principles on cyber issues included recognizing that existing international law, including laws relating to the use of force and international humanitarian law, applied to the international security aspects of cyberspace, as well. That body of law could not be ignored, and needed to be built upon and elaborated as it related to cyber.
He acknowledged, however, that many of the concepts and terms used in relation to cyber issues were unclear or not readily or easily understood. Thus, a common understanding between Member States was necessary for a meaningful dialogue. Australia supported the existing multi-stakeholder governance framework for the Internet, but did not support Government control of the Internet. The private sector, which built and owned much of the Internet, was critical to its continuing success, he said.
MARI AMANO, Ambassador of Japan to the Conference on Development, said that the Final Document from the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) underscored the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education as a useful and effective means to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Japan, as the only country to have suffered from atomic bombings, had undertaken the task of passing on the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the importance of peace to people all over the globe as part of its disarmament education activities.
Last year, he said, Japan had begun a programme of appointing Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, entitled “Special Communicators for a world without nuclear weapons”, the main purpose of which was to share the first-hand experiences of the Hibakusha. Since 1989, Japan had hosted the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in a different Japanese city each year. Beyond Japan’s cooperation with the United Nations, it also actively promoted disarmament and non-proliferation education with the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative members.
Next year would mark the tenth anniversary of the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education, he noted. Japan called upon all Member States, relevant international organizations and civil society to renew their commitment to implement the recommendations contained in the report. No disarmament and non-proliferation education programme could succeed without the involvement of all the relevant actors, and every opportunity, big or small, must be seized to complete actions related to those activities. Japan would continue to cooperate with civil society groups in order to develop concrete measures and to make a positive contribution to the ongoing efforts at the national, regional and international levels for the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation education.
MARIA CARIDAD BALAGUER (Cuba), aligning her statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the draft resolution presented to the Fist Committee under other disarmament measures and international security, looked at issues that were of great relevance. With regard to promoting multilateralism in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, she said agreements sought in a multilateral environment were the only way of safeguarding international peace and security.
She said that disarmament could not be achieved through unilateral measures or agreements reached outside of the international forum. Disputes should only be solved in accordance the principles of the United Nations Charter. The stalemate in negotiations in the context of the multilateral disarmament machinery, due to lack of political will, multiplied the value of multilateralism.
Turning to disarmament and development, she said those issues were two of the main challenges before mankind, in particular, given the global nature of the very deep-seated food, social, energy, economic, and environmental crises facing the world. In the last 10 years, military expenditure had increased by 49 per cent, reaching the astronomical number of $1.3 trillion. With resources given to military costs, the international community could stop the hunger of millions of children that died of starvation or preventable diseases every year, or help the 750 million illiterate adults around the world.
She said the international community should create a fund managed by the United Nations, wherein half of current military expenditures was given to attend to the needs of economic and social development of the neediest countries. She further said that environmental norms should be observed in the drafting of disarmament agreements and controls.
PRATIBHA PARKAR ( India) said the international community recognized that scientific and technological developments could have both civilian and military applications and progress for civilian applications needed to be maintained and encouraged. India was aware that science and technology was of vital importance for fulfilling the development aspirations of developing countries. International cooperation, science, and technology for peaceful purposes, was essential.
She said that science and technology could also contribute to the verification of relevant disarmament and non-proliferation agreements. At the same time, the international community should follow closely scientific and technological developments that might have a negative impact on the security environment and on the process of arms limitation and disarmament.
International transfer of sensitive technologies and high technology with military application should be effectively regulated, keeping in mind the legitimate defence requirements of all States, she said. National regulations and export controls should be strengthened and effectively implemented, and relevant international agreements in that field should be implemented in a manner designed to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of States parties to those agreements.
For all those reasons, she said, the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament was an important and dynamic subject that affected the interests of all. There was, thus, a need for dialogue and cooperation among Member States to find a viable forward-looking approach.
She then tabled a draft decision on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/66/L.44).
ANDREY MALOV ( Russian Federation) said that the problem of international information security that had emerged from unprecedented breakthroughs in the development and use of information and communications technologies was acquiring relevance and becoming a priority among new challenges and threats. The recent events in the world had shown that the threat coming from the use of information and communications technologies for the purposes inconsistent with the goals of ensuring international peace and security was a real one and it could not only seriously damage the information systems, resources and critical networks, but could undermine political, economic and social stability, and also provoke an outbreak of large scale information wars.
Willing to contribute to a better understanding of threats in the field of international information security and to search for joint ways to combat those threats, the Russian Federation had launched, back in 1998, an initiative to address, at the international level, international information security in all its dimensions — politico-military, counter-terror, and anti-crime, he said. For over a decade, the General Assembly had been adopting, practically by consensus, the Russian Federation-proposed resolution on the Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications.
This year, the Russian Federation was tabling an updated draft resolution, co-sponsored by 24 States, on the Developments in the Field of Information and telecommunications in the Context of International Security. That draft was based on the United Nations General Assembly resolution 65/41 (2009). It contained mainly editorial amendments as compared to the previous draft. As a new element, it clarified the mandate of the Group of Governmental Experts to be convened in 2012. The updated text noted that the focus of the Group would be “to study existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible cooperative measures to address them, including norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States, and confidence-building measures in information space”.
Taking into account positive experiences and inputs of the previous Group of Governmental Experts, as recorded in its report, he said it would be a logical continuation for the Group to work on developing practical measures for cooperation and coordination between countries in the areas on international information security.
Pursuant to the initiative to develop a code of conduct in information, a draft Rules of Conduct for international information security had been circulated as an official document, he said. An explanatory note to the United Nations Secretary-General regarding those rules had been signed by the Permanent Representatives of Russian Federation, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In that letter, those representatives called for a wider international discussion in the framework of the United Nations to reach a consensus as soon as possible regarding the principles that defined the conduct of States in the field of information, ensuring international information security.
He said that that was the first document of its kind to contain comprehensive and systematic proposals of the interested States on the issues of the use of information and communications technology. Its main objective was to determine the norms of responsible conduct of States in the field of international information security taking into account the challenges and threats to politico-military, criminal or terrorist nature arising in that area. The document was an invitation for discussion, and he believed that the initiative would be a first step towards future elaboration of a universal document under United Nations auspices that would take into account the interests of the entire international community and aimed at comprehensive measures to ensure international information security.
With the same goal in mind, he said that the Russian Federation had drafted and presented at the Second International Meeting of High Representatives on information issues in Ekaterinburg in 2011, a draft convention on international information security. That was an attempt to rethink the issue in light of relevant international legal inputs and achievements. It was assumed that the concept, presented as an invitation for extensive international discussion, might eventually lay the groundwork for developing a relevant international convention under United Nations auspices and allow the international community to join its efforts towards that end.
On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, FIKRY CASSIDY (Indonesia) introduced four draft texts under the cluster of other disarmament measures and international security, calling each of them “extremely important”, as their implementation affected, not only disarmament and international peace and security, but profoundly impinged on global development, prosperity and stability since the issues raised in those crucial drafts were cross-cutting.
Presenting the draft resolution on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/66.L.8), the Non-Aligned Movement underscored that multilateralism and multilaterally agreed solutions provided the only sustainable method of addressing disarmament and international security issues. It was vital that the General Assembly should adopt a resolution, he said, which underlined the principle and merits of multilateralism and emphasized international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Multiculturalism was an essential way to develop arms regulation and disarmament negotiations. The Movement called upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation.
Tabling a draft resolution on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/66/L.6), he noted the Movement’s concern over the increasing global military expenditures, a substantial part of which could otherwise be spent to promote development, and eliminating poverty and disease, especially in developing countries. The text underlined the importance of exercising restraint in military expenditures, along with its invitation to Member States to provide information to the Secretary-General regarding measures and efforts to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries. Those resources could be used to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other development objectives.
Introducing a draft resolution on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/66/L.7), he said the sustainability of the global environment was essential to present and future generations. The Movement stressed that international disarmament forums should fully consider the relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation and that all States, through their actions, should contribute fully to ensuring compliance with the environmental norms in the implementation of treaties and conventions to which they are parties. He called upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres without being a detriment to the environment and with a view to achieving sustainable development.
He then tabled a draft decision on the review of the implementation of the Declaration on the strengthening of international security (document A/C.1/66/L.12).
WALTER S. REID ( United States) said discussions on the cyber-sphere, a broad topic, did not fit into the existing United Nations structure. Those discussions should be based on a step-by-step approach, for which international humanitarian law was an important framework. A better detailed understanding on the multifaceted topics surrounding the cyber-sphere was a priority for the international community.
He anticipated the coming Group of Governmental Experts meeting and the upcoming meeting in London covering aspects of those topics.
IGOR UGORICH ( Belarus) expressed the concern about the use of information and communication technologies against States. His country supported the need for broader international cooperation in that field, welcoming the United Nations contribution to the consideration of that matter, including in the context of the Group of Governmental Experts on security matters. The Group’s results had led to consensus on a draft report on some issues, including protecting security in the information and communication technologies field.
He underlined the importance of continuing active international cooperation in that area, noting that discussions of international information security raised important issues, on which he anticipated further discussion.
Panel Discussion, Regional Disarmament and Security Cluster
AGNÉS MARCAILLOU, Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, said she felt it was important for the Office to show how the support of Member States — be it financial, political, or through experts — was being used on the ground. Also important was to “meet face to face” and to hear about the daily realities in the field.
Anything and everything was being done, she said, to strengthen and bolster the decisions made in the conference rooms of New York and elsewhere, aimed at improving peace and security in countries, regions and subregions.
She gave a slide presentation and highlighted issues of importance, such as gender, partnerships, the training of security sector personnel, regional initiatives, and the Branch’s strategy for 2012-2015. She said the Branch would not simply “cut and paste” when dealing with initiatives in different parts of the world, nor would it “reinvent the wheel”. Destroying weapons “in a vacuum” did not make sense unless there was the proper public security element in place, she said.
MELANIE REGIMBAL, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, said that on the issue of training and capacity-building for small arms and light weapons, standardized training was the best way to combat illicit arms proliferation, especially their diversion into illicit markets. Women played a crucial role in disarmament and assisted in the provision of a gender-sensitive approach. On the issue of technical assistance, stockpile management and weapon destruction, she said that destruction was irreversible and, hence, the best way to ensure that illicit firearms did not find their way back into hands of those that threatened the lives of innocents.
XIAOYU WANG, speaking on behalf of the United Nations Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific, said the Centre’s focus was on capacity-building, outreach and advocacy, among other areas. In addition, the Centre organized training workshops covering small arms-related issues, held conferences for concerned parties, including civil society, and conducted disarmament education projects. Future activities included more training workshops on small arms and light weapons with expanded modules, and regional workshops on armed violence, prevention and reduction, and subregional workshops to promote disarmament and non-proliferation. The Centre would provide technical assistance on topics including cross-border activities and implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). Support from donors was key to enhancing the Centre’s activities, which were detailed on its website: www.unrcpd.org.np.
IVOR FUNG, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre in Africa, said that two areas — strengthening regional cooperation and technical support — were provided to States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. Among the Centre’s activities were discussions culminating in a draft common position on an arms trade treaty, an African Union strategy on small arms and light weapons trafficking, and establishing a database on those weapons. Based on Member State requests from the region, the Centre would focus on, among other things, helping the African Union Commission in the implementation of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), and, at the request of the African Union Commission, help with capacity-building for the African Union Commission for Nuclear Energy. Other activities would include law enforcement and security sector reform.
* *** *For information media • not an official record