UNODA UPDATE (July 2007)


Secretary-General appoints Sergio de Queiroz Duarte of Brazil
High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Sergio de Queiroz Duarte,
High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on 2 July 2007 the appointment of Mr. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte of Brazil as the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the Under-Secretary-General level.

Mr. Duarte is a career diplomat in the Brazilian Foreign Service, well-known in disarmament circles as an experienced and knowledgeable representative of his Government in the many sessions he attended of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC), the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and many other disarmament-related meetings and treaty bodies. His last high profile assignment in multilateral disarmament was as President of the 2005 Seventh Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Before that he also served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from September 1999 to September 2000.

Advancing the disarmament agenda: a new approach (A/61/749, Annex II) Biography of Mr. Duarte

Treaty against Nuclear Terrorism Enters into Force on 7 July

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism is entering into force on 7 July, almost two years after it was adopted by Member States, after Bangladesh became the 22nd country to ratify or accede to it.  Originally proposed by Russia and adopted in April 2005, the Convention outlaws specific and concrete acts of nuclear terrorism. It is intended to protect against attacks on a range of targets, including nuclear power plants and reactors. It is also applicable to threats and attempts to commit such crimes. The Convention, which has been signed by 115 countries, promotes cooperation among countries through the sharing of information and the providing of assistance for investigations and extraditions. “Nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats of our time”, declared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement calling upon all States to ratify or accede to this Convention without delay. “Even one such attack could inflict mass casualties and create immense suffering and unwanted change in the world forever. This prospect should compel all of us to act to prevent such a catastrophe.”

Text of the UN Convention against nuclear terrorism Secretary-General’s
Recent debate at the UN
on nuclear terrorism

First Session for 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

United Nations Office at Vienna

The Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held its first session from 30 April to 11 May in Vienna, Austria. Despite a delay in the adoption of its agenda, the Committee, chaired by Ambassador Yukiya Amano of Japan, held constructive discussions on substantive issues in a notably positive atmosphere. The Preparatory Committee successfully concluded its work with the adoption of its report. Six meetings were dedicated to substantive discussion on the following issues: nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and international security; non-proliferation, nuclear-weapon-free zones and safeguards; and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. For the first time in the history of the Treaty, the Secretary-General sent a message to a Preparatory Committee, in which he stressed: “The Treaty is worth reinforcing. It has done far more than create a norm of non-proliferation. It commits the nuclear-weapon States to disarmament, while affirming the inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with other treaty obligations.” In preparation for the 2010 Review Conference, the Committee agreed that the 2nd session of the Preparatory Committee would be held in Geneva from 28 April to 9 May 2008 and endorsed the candidacy of Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko of Ukraine as the Chairman of the next session.

Closing press


Documents of the
Preparatory Committee


Group of Experts on Illicit Brokering in Small Arms Concludes its Work

Concluding work on 8 June, a United Nations Group of Governmental Experts suggested a set of optional elements for inclusion in national legislation dealing with illicit brokering in small arms, and called for consistent attention to the issue at future United Nations meetings.  The Group — officially tasked with considering further steps to enhance international cooperation in preventing, combating and eradicating illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons — adopted a consensus report noting that unregulated and poorly regulated arms brokering activities may result in transactions that increase the risk that arms are diverted to conflict-prone areas and embargoed entities, as well as to organized criminal and terrorist groups. The report contains the first agreed description of what constitutes illicit brokering in small arms, considered fundamental to any efforts to enhance international cooperation to combat such activity. The Group’s report will be submitted to the General Assembly at its 62nd Session opening in September.

Press release on the Group of Experts

Webpage of the Group of Experts


Central African States Agree on Elaboration of Legal Instrument to Control Small Arms

The 25th ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, held 14-18 May in Sao Tomé, Sao Tomé and Principe, adopted the “Sao Tomé and Principe Initiative” of President Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes. The Initiative calls for the elaboration of a legal instrument for the control of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa, and of a code of conduct for armed and security forces in the subregion. In addition, the ministers decided that a special conference on cross-border security issues in Central Africa would be held within the framework of the 26th ministerial meeting to be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 3 to 7 September 2007.

Closing press release Secretary-General’s message

Disarmament for Development Initiative Promoted at Conference on Central America

The conference panel (left to right): Luis Alberto Cordero (Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress), Oscar Arias (President of Costa Rica), David T. Ives (Albert Schweitzer Institute), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The conference “A Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America: The Pending Agenda 20 Years Later” attracted some 400 participants on 13 June at the UN to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Esquipulas II Peace Accords and discuss the region’s current problems.  Given the region’s history and its recent transformation from war to peace, Central America is well placed to appreciate the inextricable links between development, security and human rights,” stated Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening remarks. “The United Nations stands ready to assist the people and Governments of Central America in any way we can — across these three pillars — to help them surmount the considerable challenges that lie ahead,” he added. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the signatories to the Esquipulas II Accord urged Central America to back an initiative he called the “Costa Rica Consensus”, where countries committing to spend less on their militaries and more on health care, the environment and education would be rewarded with more development aid and debt relief.  The Conference was organized by the Albert Schweitzer Institute (Quinnipiac University) and the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in San José. It was sponsored at the UN by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and UNDP. In addition to President Arias, there were distinguished speakers like Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, former President of Guatemala, and Alvaro De Soto, former UN Representative to the Central American Peace Process.  Experts from UNDP, UNODC, ECLAC, UNIFEM and the University of Peace were among the panellists who addressed security/violence, democratic governance, economic and social issues.

Secretary-General’s remarks
Article on the Conference

Law Enforcement Training to Prevent Illicit Firearms Trafficking at Brazil’s Borders

The venue for the training is only
accessible by boat.

Brazil concluded on 4 May its third border course to control the legal firearms trade and prevent its illicit trafficking in Tabatinga, a city bordering Leticia in Colombia and Santa Rosa in Peru. This two-week course, coordinated through the Regional Public Security Training Centre (TREINASP), saw the participation of 62 law enforcement officials from customs, state and federal police, armed forces and other entities combating crime at the west border of the State of Amazonia. The training included a practical simulation exercise where participants put into practice their acquired theoretical knowledge. This border area is only accessed by boat via the Solimoes and Amazon Rivers or by aircraft. Other border training courses are scheduled throughout 2007 in Brazil with other neighbouring States, including Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. The course was supported by INTERPOL, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD/OAS) and University of Peace, in cooperation with the Brazilian Government and the technical assistance of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC), one of UNODA’s three regional disarmament centres worldwide.

UN-LiREC website