21 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3443

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

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

First Committee

18th Meeting (AM)


If Conference on Disarmament Cannot Break 15-Year-Long Deadlock, United Nations


Could ‘Lose Legitimacy in Disarmament Affairs’, First Committee Told

 


To Delegates Who Say Commencement of Negotiations on Core Issues ‘Premature’,

What Were Acceptable Alternatives Short of Gridlock? United Nations Official Asks


If the flagship Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament could not agree on a way to break its 15-year-long deadlock, there was a chance that the United Nations would “lose legitimacy in disarmament affairs”, panellists heading the key components of the Organization’s disarmament machinery today warned in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security). 


Amid mounting frustration at the “eroding trust” in the sole multilateral negotiating body in disarmament, which last produced a treaty in the mid-1990s — the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) — panellists, including Theresa Hitchens, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), pointed to several disquieting aspects of that prolonged situation and offered ways forward.   


Describing the UNIDIR’s function as serving to “oil the machinery” of the 65-member Conference, she said it was difficult for it to not be deeply affected by its paralysis.  She asked if it was a responsible use of multilateral diplomacy to deny so many States the chance to contest opposing views and insert their own national security interests into key agenda items:  banning weapons-grade fissile material, eliminating and prohibiting nuclear weapons, banning an outer space arms race, and providing effective security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.


Without entering into the “vexed question of ripeness” for negotiating the Conference’s core issues, she said the absence of a process for setting the relative priority to be accorded to those issues was troubling.  If members saw the time as being premature for the commencement of negotiations, she asked what alternatives were acceptable to them that fell short of gridlock.  


Absence of constructive engagement on ways forward, she warned, would risk a loss of standing of the Conference and have broader consequences for the disarmament community in Geneva and for multilateral diplomacy in general.  Given an ailing Conference on Disarmament, the need for fulfilling UNIDIR’s mandate had perhaps never been greater, she said, calling for its proper resourcing. 


Similarly concerned was the Chair of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, which had been tasked this year with examining the Conference’s functioning.  It had three recommendations:  maintain efforts in the promotion of the revitalization of the Conference; ask a group of imminent persons to make recommendations to the entirety of the disarmament machinery, with a focus on the Conference; and continue to encourage civil society to contribute to movement towards the final goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.


“We firmly believe”, said the President of the Conference on Disarmament, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, that the Conference “is in a position to negotiate simultaneously a treaty that eliminates and prohibits nuclear weapons, a treaty that bans an arms race in outer space, a treaty that provides effective security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, like Cuba, and a treaty that bans the production of fissile material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”.


However, he said, due to the lack of consensus on how to address those issues, the Conference had not made any substantive progress beyond exploratory negotiations, since the conclusion of the CTBT.  Certain States were advocating that the time had come to set aside the Conference and turn to alternative negotiation processes.  To replace the Conference with selective, improvised ad hoc arrangements outside the United Nations framework and managed by a reduced number of countries would, he warned, be “a dangerous step backwards”.


The United Nations Disarmament Commission, said its 2011 Chairman, Hamid Al Bayati, had been unable to reach a consensus at the end of the three-year cycle, despite its noble and persistent efforts.  He provided several recommendations to remedy the lack of progress, including an earlier selection of Bureau staff, a three-year commitment for chairmen of the working groups and the examination of two, and not three, issues per cycle. 


On behalf of the members of the Bureau of the Disarmament Commission, he introduced the draft resolution on that body’s report (document A/C.1/66/L.20).


Also introduced today were draft resolutions on the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace (document A/C.1/66/L.5); strengthening security in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/66/L.22); and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/66/L.52).


Addressing the Committee was the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who strongly encouraged delegates to work constructively for the remaining meetings of the Committee, “pushing consensus to its limits”.


Statements and introductions of drafts in the thematic debate on regional disarmament and security were delivered by the delegates of Algeria, Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Uruguay, on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Jamaica on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, and Malta.


The Committee would meet at 3 p.m. on Monday, 24 October to continue its thematic debates on regional disarmament and on the disarmament machinery, hearing statements and the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions.


Background


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to begin its thematic debate segment on the disarmament machinery, for which it would convene a panel discussion with the President of the Conference on Disarmament; the Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament; the Chair of the United Nations Disarmament Commission; the Chair of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters; and the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).  An informal exchange with panellists would follow.


Also expected to address the Committee was the President of the General Assembly.


The Committee was also planning to resume its thematic debate on regional disarmament and security, hearing introductions of drafts on that topic.


(For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429).


Summaries of Drafts


Under a draft resolution, submitted by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/66/L.5), the General Assembly would reiterate its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean is important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.


The resolution would request the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to continue his informal consultations with the members of the Committee and to report through it to the Assembly at its sixty-eighth session.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to render, within existing resources, all necessary assistance to the Ad Hoc Committee.


The draft resolution on the Report of the Disarmament Commission (A/C.1/66/L.20), sponsored by Iraq on behalf of the members of the extended Bureau of the Commission, would have the General Assembly reaffirm the mandate of the Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allows for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament topics, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.  It would also reaffirm the importance of further enhancing the dialogue and cooperation among the First Committee, the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament.


By further terms of the text, the Assembly would request the Disarmament Commission to continue its work in accordance with its mandate and to make every effort to achieve specific recommendations on the items on its agenda, taking into account the adopted “ways and means to enhance the functioning of the Disarmament Commission”.  It would recommend that the Commission intensify consultations with a view to reaching agreement on the agenda items, in accordance with decision 52/492, before the start of its substantive session of 2012. 


It would also request the Commission to meet for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2012 and to submit a substantive report to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session.


The draft resolution on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/66/L.22) would have the General Assembly call upon all States of the Mediterranean region that have not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, thus creating the conditions necessary for strengthening peace and cooperation in the region. 


The Assembly would express its satisfaction at the continuing efforts by Mediterranean countries to contribute actively to the elimination of all causes of tension in the region and to the promotion of just and lasting solutions to the persistent problems of the region through peaceful means, thus ensuring the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation and respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries of the Mediterranean and the right of peoples to self-determination, and therefore calls for full adherence to the principles of non-interference, non-intervention, non-use of force or threat of use of force and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, in accordance with the Charter and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.


Also by the text, the Assembly would encourage Mediterranean countries to strengthen further their cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the possible resort by terrorists to weapons of mass destruction, taking into account the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and in combating international crime and illicit arms transfers and illicit drug production, consumption and trafficking, which pose a serious threat to peace, security and stability in the region and therefore to the improvement of the current political, economic and social situation and which jeopardize friendly relations among States, hinder the development of international cooperation and result in the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the democratic basis of pluralistic society.


The Assembly would reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security as well as to international peace and security. 


Recalling the calls by the Secretary-General for continued financial and in-kind support from Member States to enable the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament to discharge its mandate in full and to respond more effectively to requests for assistance from African States, a draft resolution, entitled United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (A/C.1/66/L.52), sponsored by Nigeria on behalf of the Member States of the United Nations that are members of the Group of African States, would have the General Assembly urge all States, as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to enable the Regional Centre to carry out its programmes and activities and meet the needs of African States.  It would urge States members of the African Union to make voluntary contributions to the Regional Centre’s trust fund in conformity with the decision taken by the Executive Council of the African Union in Khartoum in January 2006.


Statement by General Assembly President


President of the General Assembly, NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER, said it was not traditional for the President of the General Assembly to address the First Committee, and his presence today was not traditional.  But he wanted to convey a message of strong encouragement.  At a time when the Committee was nearing action on its resolutions, it was important to reiterate his full support for the delegates’ work here.  Also important was to evolve, in a spirit of cooperation, not only positive results, but progress in the benefits of arms limitation and disarmament at all levels.


At the opening of the sixty-sixth session, he had told delegates that the year ahead was important, notably for nuclear disarmament.  The year 2012 would be a hectic time for those efforts, with the United Nations conference on combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and the first preparatory meeting for the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2015.  He would be holding necessary consultations with concerned parties and would commit to doing his utmost to make tangible progress, which had been long awaited in this field. 


The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva was one of those areas, he said.  A large number of experts had come from Geneva to New York to participate in the First Committee.  He hoped that would help to improve the operation of the mechanisms, and he encouraged delegates to work constructively for the remaining meetings of the Committee, “pushing consensus to its limits”.  He was fully committed to working with each delegate in order to advance the programme of activities of the General Assembly.  He wished them every success in their work.


Thematic Debate on Disarmament Machinery


The Committee began its thematic debate on disarmament machinery, first convening a panel, hearing statements from the President of the Conference on Disarmament, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez; Chairman of the Disarmament Commission, Hamid Al Bayati; Olga Pellicer, Chairman of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters; and the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Theresa Hitchins. 


The President of the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ, said that since that body was established in 1978, it had successfully negotiated international agreements on disarmament and arms control, such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques; the seabed treaties; the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention); the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Convention on Chemical Weapons); and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).


Since its establishment, he explained, the Conference had worked on different levels, including mandated negotiating processes, and, in the absence of consensus on such a negotiating mandate, it had held exploratory discussions preceding negotiations.  At present, matters such as nuclear disarmament in general, fissile materials, prevention of an arms race in outer space and negative security assurances were included.  Due to the lack of consensus on how to address those issues, however, the Conference had not made any substantive progress beyond that level of commitment, since the conclusion of the CTBT.


Certain States had assumed positions advocating that the time had come to set aside the Conference on Disarmament and turn to alternative negotiation processes, he said.  To replace of the Conference with selective, improvised ad hoc arrangements outside the United Nations framework and manage by a reduced number of countries would constitute, in his view, “a dangerous step backwards”.


“We firmly believe that the Conference on Disarmament is in a position to negotiate simultaneously a treaty that eliminates and prohibits nuclear weapons, a treaty that bans an arms race in outer space, a treaty that provides effective security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, like Cuba, and a treaty that bans the production of fissile material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,” he said.


During its 2011 session, he noted, the Conference had held a series of plenary and informal meetings to discuss substantive agenda items, along with various sessions and meeting for ministerial and senior officials.  A self-critical analysis focused on the Conference’s current situation and its root causes.  Among other meetings, the Conference had also reviewed the agenda items referring to new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons, to the comprehensive programme of disarmament and to transparency in armaments, he said.


As to improving the Conference’s functioning, he said Member States had expressed their views at a high-level meeting in September 2010.  An informal plenary meeting was held in the presence of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, and another plenary had been held as a follow-up to the 2010 high-level meeting.  The Conference requested the current and incoming presidents to conduct consultations during the intersessional period and to make recommendations, taking into account all relevant proposals.


Summing up, he said that in 2011, the Conference had followed two major tracks:  it continued to review its agenda items without agreeing on a mandate to negotiate any of the main agenda items; and it thoroughly discussed the current situation, which clearly showed different political views concerning its root causes and the ways to solve it.


HAMID AL BAYATI, Chairman of the Disarmament Commission, highlighted the positive steps in the nuclear arms reduction field.  However, nuclear arsenals were still a concern.  In that context, negative security assurances would provide incentives outside the NPT.


He said he supported the work of the Conference on Disarmament towards a treaty on fissile material and the prevention of an outer space arms race.  He also welcomed the convening of a conference in 2012 to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, with Finland as a host country.


Regarding the Commission, his tenure as chairman for 2011 had consisted of substantive discussions in the 2009 to 2011 period involving a number of regional groups, he said.  It had been decided the Commission would have before it for its next session recommendations on achieving nuclear disarmament and the declaration of the disarmament decade and the third item, practical measures on conventional weapons.  Unfortunately, a draft declaration had not been concluded on the disarmament decade, he said, even though the Commission’s working group had tried to reach a consensus in 2009 and again in 2010.  In practical terms, conflicts, including with the schedule of the three working groups, meant there had been less time to achieve results. 


Despite the noble and persistent efforts, the Commission had been unable to reach a consensus at the end of the three-year cycle, he said.  Thus, it had not produced any results, but the time had not been wasted.  The Commission had accumulated valuable material, which could be used in future discussions.


He provided several recommendations to remedy the lack of progress.  For one thing, the late selection of the Bureau deprived the chair valuable time to discuss working methods and other items, and recommended that the Bureau be selected four months before the first meeting to provide ample time.


As the 2011 experience had demonstrated, the Commission could not afford to have three items before it, as that number shared diminished resources, he said, recommending just two items, one on nuclear issues and another on conventional arms.  If a third was selected, then only one year should be allotted to it.


There was an unavoidable lag to bringing the group up to required intensity and speed, he noted, recommending a full three-year commitment for chairmen of the groups to prevent that.


Finally, he introduced the draft resolution on the Report of the Disarmament Commission (L.20), commending all members of the Bureau for their work.  While the draft followed the previous year’s text, operative paragraph 7 emphasized that items were selected before the start of its 2012 session.


OLGA PELLICER, Chair of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, said one of the Board’s directives was to examine the functioning of the Conference on Disarmament.  As an independent body consisting of experts, academics, diplomats and non-governmental organizations, the Board’s opinions did not always match.  The Conference on Disarmament had been unable to comply with its negotiating functions for a long time.  The Board had held an informal meeting with the Conference on Disarmament, allowing the Board to see what was causing the stalemate.  After that meeting, there had been shifts of emphasis in the Board’s opinions.  While not all of those opinions could be summarized today, in general, there was widespread frustration at the 15 year-long stalemate, eroding trust in the Conference on Disarmament. 


“If action was not taken in the near future”, she said, “there was a chance that the United Nations would lose legitimacy in disarmament affairs.”


Political and procedural problems prevailed in the Conference on Disarmament, she continued.  The solution to political problems required greater will from States concerned.  The working methods of the Conference required a consensus, the practice of subordinating some topics to others, adopting a programme of work and the selection of chairs.  Members of the Board reflected on the role of the General Assembly in that current state of affairs, deeming that it should act in a more decisive manner to stop the lethargy in the Conference. 


She said that some members had proposed that the General Assembly be used to facilitate negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Other members had underscored that it could create a negotiating body.  It had also been noted that to obtain results, the firm support of the Secretary-General was needed, in addition to the broadest support of States and civil society.  Board members held varied points of view on establishing a group of imminent persons on disarmament machinery, which was important to some and a duplication of efforts to others.

The Board had decided unanimously to put forth three recommendations to the Secretary-General:  to maintain efforts in the promotion of the revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament; to ask a group of imminent persons make recommendations to the entirety of the disarmament machinery, with a focus on the Conference on Disarmament; and to continue to encourage civil society to contribute to movement towards the final goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.


The Board praised the work of United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and made an urgent call for financing for the Institute.  Disarmament research was a key piece to the puzzle for advancing the process.


THERESA HITCHENS of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, said that UNIDIR served to “oil the machinery” of the Conference on Disarmament.  She said it was difficult however not to be deeply affected on a number of levels by the paralysis of the Conference.  In institutional terms, the Conference on Disarmament had long enjoyed the role of flagship of the disarmament community in Geneva.  If the presence of a fully-functioning Conference in Geneva provided a hub for disarmament experts from the various Governments, it also did so for experts from civil society.  Any erosion of the standing of the Conference also risked eroding the knowledge and skills base that supported disarmament writ large.


She said there were a number of disquieting aspects about the prolongation of the situation in the Conference, many of which had been the subject of consideration by UNIDIR’s Board of Trustees.  First, she asked how to confront the paradox that the Conference was a negotiating body but had not found any lasting way, for well over a decade, to negotiate the issues that divided its members.  She asked why it was that that erstwhile successful forum was hindered by the unwillingness of members to enter into a process to negotiate on the questions of substance that divided them.  She also asked if it was a responsible use of multilateral diplomacy to deny to so many States the opportunity to contest opposing views and insert their own national security interests.


Without entering into the “vexed question of ripeness” for negotiation of the Conference’s core issues, she said the phenomenon of linkage and the absence of a process for setting the relative priority to be accorded to the above four issues was troubling.  If Members saw the time as being premature for the commencement of negotiations, she asked what alternatives were acceptable to them that fell short of gridlock.  In the absence of constructive engagement on ways forward, she asked if there was not then a risk that the loss of standing of the Conference would also have broader consequences for the disarmament community in Geneva and for multilateral diplomacy in general.


Recalling UNIDIR’s mission, she said that the Institute’s purpose was to propose new ideas for security thinking, in support of a key rationale of the United Nations — the belief that peace and security for all peoples could only be possible through disarmament.  UNIDIR’s action-oriented research programme worked to bring together perspectives on national, regional and international security, disarmament and development, with a fundamental focus on human security.  With a streamlined infrastructure, the Institute comprised only eight full-time equivalent core staff, including editorial personnel.  Despite its tentative funding basis, UNIDIR had established a high level of productivity and a strong reputation.


From a disarmament perspective, and from a Geneva perspective at the least, given an ailing Conference on Disarmament, the flagship of the multilateral disarmament machinery, the need for fulfilling UNIDIR’s mandate had perhaps never been greater.  The Institute should be resourced to continue to facilitate progress, particularly in the nuclear field through negotiations, towards security for all States and towards the economic and social development of all peoples.


Thematic Debate on Regional Disarmament and Security


DJAMEL MOKTEFI ( Algeria) said the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) was key to bolstering peace and security in the Mediterranean.  Likewise, he applauded the role of the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, in Lome, which had consolidated its partnership with the African Union.  In the Sahel subregion, efforts should be redoubled to address the threat of terrorism.  It was clear that the challenges that threatened Africa could have a ripple effect on the rest of the region.  He commended the preparatory conference to be held in 2012 on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and he hoped it would yield tangible results.


He then tabled a draft resolution on strengthening security cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/6/L.22), which noted efforts made by regional countries to confront the challenges.  Most importantly, the draft text encouraged States in the region to establish confidence-building measures to foster trust.  Cooperation was also encouraged in combating organized crime and arms transfers.  Algeria and the draft text’s 46 co-sponsors hoped for its broad support in the Committee.


FIKRY CASSIDY ( Indonesia) speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, tabled a draft resolution on the implementation of the declaration of the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace (document A/C.1/66/L.5), under Agenda item 89.  The Movement reiterated its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean was important, and that it would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.  He stressed the need to foster consensual approaches that were conducive to pursuit of peace in the region, and hoped the First Committee would support the draft text.


He said the Movement welcomed the adoption by consensus of a detailed plan of action on the Middle East, particularly concerning implementation of the resolution of the 1995 Review Conference on the NPT on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region.  He reaffirmed the Movement’s support for creating such a zone.


IMELDA SMOLCIC (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said that the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC) with headquarters in Lima, Peru, differed from other centres of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs because its mandate included the implementation of peace and disarmament measures, and the promotion of economic and social development.  Based on that, the Centre had succeeded in implementing programmes that were interdisciplinary and coordinated with different actors in the region.


Those programmes, she said, had included promotion of confidence-building measures, prevention and solution of conflicts, support to the States in the region for complying with weapons control commitments, and education on problems that affected Latin America and Caribbean peace and security.  Assisting States in reducing armed violence by means of weapons control had been one important area.


She said that the Centre had also undertaken activities at national, regional, and subregional levels, which had included the following:  training courses for combating illicit arms traffic, technical assistance on stockpile management and destruction of firearms, review of national legislation’s compatibility with international commitments, fostering coordination between national agencies in the security area, and education on international instruments.  She welcomed the Centre’s initiative to carry out the first course specifically for women.  The South American Defense Council of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) promoted analysis and discussion of defence matters, exchange of information, formulation of regional joint positions at multilateral defence forums, and cooperation on military education.  MERCOSUR recognized the urgent need for preventing and eradicating the illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons, and reiterated the importance of continuing bilateral, subregional and regional efforts in that regard. 


ANGELLA COMFORT (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that cooperation at regional and subregional levels has proven integral to enabling CARICOM member States to tackle the various security threats to the region.  CARICOM’s efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring, trafficking and using weapons of mass destruction have been coordinated through the CARICOM-UNSCR (Security Council Resolution) 1540 Implementation Programme.  The region’s current focus was on the issue of non-proliferation and the need to build capacity with respect to the prevention and mitigation of a possible chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack, including awareness raising and capacity building among various stakeholders throughout the region.


She said that the region has also been increasing its efforts to combat terrorist financing.  In addressing the challenges faced by CARICOM member States in the administrative, legal and technical areas, the Community had sought to develop a reference legal framework to assist States in the region to institute controls that would target potential illicit transfers and enable the eventual interdiction, investigation and prosecution of these activities.  To that end, a regional “gap analysis”, which would inform the development of the framework, had begun in February and would be coordinated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), among others.


The CARICOM-UNSCR 1540 Implementation Programme should, in the long-run, contribute significantly to enhancing the region’s security architecture, she said.  The implementation would also provide training and resources necessary to detect, identify, and prevent transfers that violate export control laws and regulations.  Training would also be in effective risk analysis and in targeting strategies to prevent the export, re-export, import, transit or transhipment of strategic goods; the utilization of trade information and intelligence to detect suspect transfers and to minimize impediments to legitimate trade; and the implementation of measures to account for, as well as to secure and maintain, the appropriate physical protection of strategic goods.


LAWRENCE OBISAKIN ( Nigeria), on behalf of the African Group, introduced the draft resolution on the United Nations regional centre for peace and disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/66/L.52).  Established in Lome, Togo in 1986, pursuant to United Nations General Assembly resolution 40/151 G, the Centre had been initiated by a formal request of the Assembly of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union.  More recently, the Centre had collaborated actively with, and worked assiduously to assist the African Union in the elaboration and adoption of an African Union strategy for the control of small arms and light weapons in Africa — a draft of that strategy had recently been adopted by the African Union governmental experts in Lome.


In addition, he said, the Centre had provided a draft Code of Conduct for Armed and Security Forces in Africa for the African Union.  Other efforts could be seen in the support provided for the 11 member States of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.  The African Group was seeking the support of its colleagues to submit this resolution annually, in view of the enormous work done by the Centre to mitigate the challenges associated with conflicts, arms proliferation and the sundry problems associated with illicit trafficking and use of conventional weapons in Africa.  He appealed to all Member States to reaffirm their commitment to peace and disarmament in Africa by supporting the proposed draft.


SAVIOUR F. BORG ( Malta) said that as a European country at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, it was only natural for Malta to place Euro-Mediterranean affairs as a central pillar of its foreign policy.  Malta’s geo-strategic location made it intimately aware of the intrinsic relationship between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean.  In November of last year, Malta hosted the First Regional Conference for the Mediterranean of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.  The Arab Spring, especially the developments in Libya, saw Malta taking a strategic role as a logistical and transit base for evacuation operations with over 17,000 persons being repatriated through Malta.  The humanitarian hub set up in Malta during the first days of the crisis, continued today to assist, streamline, facilitate and simplify procedures for inter- and non-governmental organizations in coordinating humanitarian aid to Libya through Malta. 


He said his country intended to continue to build, together with other United Nations Member States, especially those of the Mediterranean littoral, on the achievements made so far by enhanced dialogue between and among countries in the Mediterranean region.  Malta would also continue to participate actively in efforts by all stakeholders to strengthen the various Mediterranean and Euro-Mediterranean intergovernmental and parliamentary forum.  By once again co-sponsoring the draft resolution on “strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean” and urging all Member States to approve that resolution without a vote, Malta reiterated its conviction that security in the Mediterranean was closely linked to European security as well as to international peace and security.  In expressing appreciation to the Algerian delegation for drafting this resolution, he said it was his country’s fervent hope that the provisions contained in the text were fully implemented.


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