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IN THIS ISSUE

Launch of the “WMD-WeMustDisarm” 100-day campaign
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Workshop on implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Training course for experts to conduct investigations of the alleged use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons
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Security Sector Reform and Justice Reform in Francophone Africa
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Regional Seminar in South and Central Asia to promote Regional Cooperation in Combating Illicit Brokering in Small Arms
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Regional Workshop for Western African States on Transparency in Armaments
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United Nations regional meeting on the Programme of Action on Small Arms takes place in Australia
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For Peace and Development: Disarm Now

Launch of the “WMD-WeMustDisarm” 100-day campaign

We Must Disarm campaign

The Secretary-General launched the start of the multiplatform “WMD-WeMustDisarm” campaign on 13 June, by transmitting the first of 100 short online messages via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email and radio – one for each day between 13 June and 21 September – counting down until the International Day of Peace (IDP). This year's theme is nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and will be observed on 18 September since 21 September is an official UN holiday in many parts of the world.

The campaign is stimulating interest and mobilizing action on these important issues at a moment of both urgency and opportunity, when nuclear disarmament could actually become a possibility.

Daily messages, better known as "tweets", give reasons for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, plus links that lead followers to background material, video, statements and articles on relevant issues.

The UN’s Department for Public Information (DPI) has also created a WMD website in all six official languages. The site has a link to the WMD declaration which all are encouraged to sign to show support for the Secretary-General's message to mark the 100-day countdown to the IDP.

Joining the Secretary-General in promoting the campaign are, United Nations Messenger of Peace and Academy Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas, who has championed the cause of disarmament for the United Nations since 1998; and Rainn Wilson, featured actor in the American television comedy, The Office, who has more than one million followers on Twitter.

In his June message to mark the 100-day countdown, the Secretary-General said, “As we observe the International Day of Peace with world leaders gathered in New York for the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, I will proclaim one strong, simple message: We Must Disarm!” [Top>>]

See also: Twitter | Facebook | MySpace | Declaration
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Workshop on implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Workshop participants

A regional workshop on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) was held from 23 to 25 June 2009 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The workshop was jointly organized by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United States of America, in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. The workshop was opened by Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.

The objective of the workshop was to promote capacity-building on national and regional levels to advance the full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Government officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union (EU) and a representative of the 1540 Committee as well as the Committee’s experts participated in the workshop. A number of non-governmental organizations also attended.

Considering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a threat to international peace and security, the participating countries shared experience and lessons learned in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) and discussed appropriate steps to achieve its objectives in countering this threat.

On 28 April 2004, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (2004) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, obliging all States to refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. Under resolution 1540 (2004), all States are to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials. [Top>>]

See also: 1540
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Training course for experts to conduct investigations of the alleged use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons

Training participants

Sampling

From 25 May to 5 June 2009, the first training course for experts on the roster available to the Secretary-General for investigations of the alleged use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons was held in Umeå, Sweden. The course which was funded by the Government of Sweden, was organized by the European Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Centre at the University of Umeå, with the support and cooperation of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).

In 2006, the General Assembly encouraged the Secretary-General to update the roster of experts and laboratories, as well as the technical guidelines and procedures available to him for the timely and efficient investigation of alleged use chemical, biological and toxin weapons. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, which maintains and updates the roster which currently includes over 200 experts and 40 analytical laboratories nominated by 41 Member States.

The technical guidelines and procedures for the timely and efficient investigations of reports of the possible use of chemical and bacteriological (biological) or toxin (CBT) weapons were endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution A/Res/45/57C of 1990. The guidelines stipulate that “any interested Member State may designate to the Secretary-General relevant specialized training or courses available to qualified experts in support of their possible role on his behalf in carrying out investigations of possible use of CBT agents including exchange of information and expertise, in order to facilitate achievement of a common basis of understanding and operation.”

The training course in Umeå, Sweden was attended by experts from 14 Member States. Representatives from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), World Health Organization (WHO) and INTERPOL also attended and provided lectures and classes. The course programme focused on investigations of alleged use of biological weapons. It had three main objectives: to familiarize experts from the roster with the Secretary-General’s mechanism for investigations; to develop their skills to work as a team in a fact-finding mission; to build up an understanding of the challenges associated with field investigations. The course was instrumental in establishing a trained core team to conduct an investigation of alleged use of biological weapons in case the Secretary-General decides to launch such an investigation upon request by a Member State. During the training course, discussions were held with OPCW and WHO representatives on possible support to fact-finding missions.

Following the training course in Sweden, the possibility of organizing a second one is currently under discussion. [Top>>]

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Security Sector Reform and Justice Reform in Francophone Africa

ASSN, OIF and UNREC logos

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN), with the support of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), organized a seminar for experts on "The specificities and challenges of security and justice sector reform in Francophone Africa". The seminar was held from 28 to 29 May 2009 in Lomé, Togo, and was inaugurated by Mr. Gilbert Bawara, Togolese Minister for Cooperation.

About 30 experts (academics, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, and defence and security forces) participated in this seminar. The main objective of the seminar was to promote democratic governance of the security sector and to encourage the emergence of an approach to security sector reform (SSR) that is more aligned with the specificities of Francophone countries. This entailed:

  • Identifying and developing the specificities of the security and justice system of Francophone Africa so as to foster an approach to SSR based on a thorough knowledge of the local context;

  • Identifying SSR programmes that suit the Francophone institutional and legal systems; and

  • Identifying areas of reform that could contribute to the democratic governance of the security sector in accordance with the rule of law and human rights.

As a result of this seminar, an expert report on the institutional, organizational and procedural specificities of the security and justice apparatus in Francophone Africa was issued. In addition, UNREC is working with OIF on producing a joint publication of the papers presented during the seminar. [Top>>]

at the seminar  seminar banner  at the seminar

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Regional Seminar in South and Central Asia to promote Regional Cooperation in Combating Illicit Brokering in Small Arms

Seminar participants

At the seminar

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), organised a regional seminar entitled “Enhancing International and Regional Cooperation to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate Illicit Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons in South Asia and Central Asia” in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 17-18 June 2009. This UN initiative received financial support from the Governments of Austria, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Twenty eight representatives from 13 countries in South and Central Asia, international and regional organizations, including INTERPOL and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) met in Kathmandu to discuss ways and means to tackle the issue of illicit brokering in small arms. They were joined by civil society organizations such as Interanational Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Saferworld and the Small Arms Survey.

This seminar was the first of a series of three sub-regional seminars on the topic of “Illicit Brokering of Small Arms and Light Weapons” all in Asia and the Pacific. Its main purpose was to raise awareness of the importance and urgency of addressing the issue of illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons as well as to enhance cooperation on this issue among States in Asia and the Pacific. This seminar also identified areas of assistance that States could benefit from, including capacity-building in drafting and strengthening national legislation and regulations; strenghtening national arms tranfers licensing control systems, and enhancing the capacity of law enforcement agencies in combating illicit brokering activities, including tighteneing border controls. [Top>>]

See also: RCPD | Brokering

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Regional Workshop for Western African States on Transparency in Armaments

Workshop participants

From 9 to 10 June 2009 in Dakar, Senegal, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) organized a “Regional workshop for Western African States on Transparency in Armaments”. The seminar brought together some thirty senior officials from Ministries of Defense, Security and Foreign Affairs of 13 Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as international experts from South Africa, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, the ECOWAS Commission and the UN.

The workshop which aimed at promoting the participation of West African States in the United Nations mechanisms of transparency and openness in armaments and other military matters, including military expenditures — was organized in the framework of General Assembly resolutions 61/77, 62/13 and 63/69 which request the Secretary-General to make all possible efforts to promote the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures.

During the work session, participants were made aware of the importance of the Register as a unique instrument to prevent the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of conventional weapons, and to strengthen confidence between States. Furthermore, the participants studied the different reporting forms and carried out practical exercises on the preparation and submission of reports to the Register. These exercises have revealed that the lack of institutional and technical capacity of state actors in West Africa was a significant impediment to the participation in the Register.

Together with the experts, the participants also explored the best approaches that might render the Register more operational, particularly in view of its review in 2009 by the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE). In this respect, the creation of an eighth category in the Registry for Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) was strongly recommended. They also called for increased levels of international assistance to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of national focal points who are responsible for drafting and submitting reports to the Register. [ Top>>]

See also: UNREC | Register

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United Nations regional meeting on the Programme of Action on Small Arms takes place in Australia

weapons

ammunition

A United Nations regional meeting on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (PoA) for States of the Pacific region was held on 22 and 23 June 2009, in Sydney, Australia. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), including its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), in partnership with the Government of Australia which hosted the event. The Governments of Japan and New Zealand provided additional support.

The meeting aimed at strengthening the regional approach to the Programme of Action (PoA), and advancing its implementation at the regional level. The meeting was attended by 60 participants, representatives of 16 States of the region, a representative of the intergovernmental organization Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and civil society. The Hon. Duncan Kerr SC MP Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs provided welcoming remarks on behalf of the Australian Government. Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Pablo Macedo of Mexico, the recently appointed Chair-designate of the fourth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS4) on the PoA, to be held in 2010, attended the meeting.

The meeting in Australia was the first of a series of regional meetings planned in follow-up to the report of the third BMS on the Programme of Action that was held in New York from 14 to 18 July 2008. The second meeting of the series took place on 8 and 9 July in Kigali, Rwanda, for States of the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes region and Southern Africa.

At the meeting, participants agreed to “Draft Regional Implementation Guidelines” for the Pacific region that are particularly tailored to tackle small arms issues in the region and formulate specific, measurable and time-bound implementation objectives, within a time-frame up to the 2012 PoA Review Conference. [Top>>]

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For Peace and Development: Disarm Now

  Panelists  students  poster session

This year’s annual DPI/NGO Conference, the main NGO event of the year at the UN, has chosen disarmament as its theme under the banner “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now”. UN affiliated NGO’s are seizing on the new momentum that has arisen across the disarmament agenda to put their voice behind the pressing issues of disarmament and non-proliferation.

The main conference will be held in Mexico City from 9-11 September, however, as part of the run-up to that important meeting, youth oriented events were held both in New York and Mexico City to discuss current disarmament issues with United Nations experts, educators and others from the NGO community.

The New York event held at UNHQ on 9 June, entitled “Disarm the World with Knowledge” and was organized by the Co-chair of the DPI/NGO Youth Committee. Co-sponsors of the event included the Executive Committee of NGO/DPI, the United Nations University, and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). Young professionals, students and faculty from fourteen academic institutions attended, and via live webcast, other students from around the world participated too.

A similar seminar was held in Mexico City on 23 June for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean at UNIIC Mexico City with the DPI/NGO Youth Subcommittee. More than 100 students from various universities from Mexico City participated, as did officials from the Mexican Foreign Ministry. Students from different cities of Mexico and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were also able to take part through a webcast of the seminar. A connetion was also created with Lima (The UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean) and New York (UNODA) and UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to enable speakers to contribute by video conference.

  Panellists   Panellists

Both the Mexico City and New York events heard fromUN and other NGO experts in fields such as global efforts on weapons of mass destruction disarmament and non-proliferation, peace education, small arms, landmines and cluster munitions; all issues that will be the focus of the main DPI/NGO meeting in Mexico City later in September.

Youth participants at both meetings also heard how they can go back to their campuses, equipped with the latest information, and begin to develop disarmament coalitions and further mobilize civil society in this important area. [Top>>]

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