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IN THIS ISSUE

Visiting Japan, Secretary-General Ban stressed the need to move towards a nuclear weapons-free world
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Secretary-General urges the Conference on Disarmament to deliver more
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Fifth Biennial Ministerial Meeting launches Joint Ministerial Statement to promote early entry-into-force of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
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International Day against Nuclear Tests
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Representatives from 18 countries gathered in Saitama Japan to discuss concrete steps toward a nuclear-free world
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UN Member States convene their First Preparatory Committee for the Planned 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
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UN hails entry into force of global pact banning cluster munitions
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Small Arms meeting agrees on way forward
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Viet Nam hosts United Nations workshop on implementing Security Council resolution 1540
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Small Arms Meeting held in Nepal
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New Print and Online UNODA Publications

Visiting Japan, Secretary-General Ban stressed the need to move towards a nuclear weapons-free world

Opening of NPT Review Conference

On the first day of his visit to Japan to join the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on 3 August, urged the world to work to ensure that nuclear weapons are eliminated.  “We must do everything we can to build on the current global momentum towards a nuclear-weapon-free world,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Tokyo. In this regard, he referred to recent positive developments including the Security Council Summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in September last year, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation and the Summit on Nuclear Security held in Washington, D.C., in April of this year.

While in Tokyo, the Secretary-General urged Japanese young people to become leaders for disarmament during a speech at Waseda University. He encouraged them to tell the stories of the survivors of the nuclear bombs, the hibakusha, stating that “their testimony is the most graphic argument against the nuclear threat.”

On 5 August, the Secretary-General honoured the victims of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, noting that his "profoundly moving" visit to the Japanese city has strengthened his conviction that nuclear weapons must be outlawed. “The only way to ensure that such weapons will never again be used is to eliminate them all,” he said, as he laid a wreath at Nagasaki’s hypocentre monument. While in Nagasaki, Mr. Ban met with hibakusha and he later commented to reporters at the Urakami Cathedral that “Their injuries were shocking. Their fortitude has been unimaginable”.  He also visited a memorial for Korean atomic bomb victims in Nagasaki.

On 6 August, standing with survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Secretary-General paid respect to all those who perished there 65 years ago and stressed that the time has come to realize the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons. “A more peaceful world can be ours,” Ban Ki-moon said in remarks at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.

Mr. Ban is the first UN Secretary-General to take part in the annual ceremony to commemorate the more than 400,000 people who died - and are continuing to die - since the end of the Second World War from the impacts of those bombs. In Hiroshima he also advocated the need for the inclusion of disarmament education in schools, including translating the testimonies of the survivors in the world's major languages.

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See also: Waseda University remarks  | Nagasaki SG remarks at wreath-laying ceremony | SG Hiroshima remarks
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Secretary-General urges the Conference on Disarmament to deliver more


On September 24th, the Secretary-General chaired a High-level Meeting on "Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations", open to all Member States of the United Nations.

The 65-member Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) is the world's sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.

Joining the Secretary-General at the podium were, the President of the General Assembly, Joseph Deiss, Minister of External Relations of Cameroon, Henry Eyebe Ayissi, in his capacity as the current Presidency of the CD, as well as the Director-General of the United Nations at Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze. Also participating were the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Üzümcü, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO), Tibor Tóth, and the Representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the United Nations, Geoffrey Shaw.

In his opening statement, the Secretary-General thanked participants of the Meeting for their support for advancing multilateral disarmament negotiations and stressed that revitalizing the work on disarmament and non-proliferation had been among his highest priorities since he took office. He also expressed the hope that the CD would be able to make substantive progress on the items on its agenda.

Many States reaffirmed multilateralism as the core principle for negotiations in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Participants stressed that the problem of disarmament should be addressed globally and inclusively with transparency as one of the key principles. Some called for the membership in the Conference on Disarmament to be expanded.

Speakers recognized that "disarmament could help address other global challenges – including poverty reduction and the fight against climate change." Many participants also agreed "on the need to immediately start negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices… and to begin substantive work on nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances and preventing an arms race in outer space."

The meeting concluded with a Chairman's summary with specific suggestions by the Secretary-General including asking the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters to undertake a thorough review of the issues raised at the meeting including the possible establishment of a High-level Panel of eminent persons with special focus on the functioning of the Conference on Disarmament.

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See also: Chairman's Summary of Meeting | Text of SG's remarks to opening of CD Meeting | Text of SG's remarks to closing of CD Meeting
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Fifth Biennial Ministerial Meeting launches Joint Ministerial Statement to promote early entry-into-force of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Asha-Rose Migiro addresses SC meeting

The 5th Biennial Ministerial Meeting in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was held on 23 September 2010, at the United Nations in New York and issued a joint statement promoting the early entry-into-force of the Treaty.

In an opening address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Member States to cooperate in removing the threat of nuclear weapons and to bring about the early-entry-into force of the Treaty. "Until we have universal adherence to a legally-binding global norm against nuclear testing, there is no guarantee that nuclear tests will not recur."

The Secretary-General told the conference participants, who met at the UN Headquarters during the annual high-level General Debate of the General Assembly, that nuclear testing has left a legacy of devastation, uninhabitable landscapes, and lasting health and economic effects on local and downwind populations. The Secretary-General therefore urged all governments that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay, and to work together to bring the treaty into force by 2012.

Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, the Secretary-General also urged governments to continue their existing moratoriums on nuclear weapons test explosions, proclaiming that developing new nuclear weapons and modernizing existing weapons are incompatible with the world's collective non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. "We can no longer wait for the perfect international environment before taking advantage of existing - and potentially short-lived - opportunities," he stated. "Be courageous. Take the initiative. Be the first mover."

The foreign ministers who participated in the meeting affirmed support for the Secretary-General's address, urging the remaining nine countries (China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States) to ratify the CTBT. Speakers welcomed the positive announcements made by Indonesia and the United States in respect of their intention to ratify the Treaty.

In the Joint Ministerial Statement issued after the meeting, the participating ministers declared "We commit ourselves individually and together to make the Treaty a focus of attention at the highest political level and to take measures to facilitate the signature and ratification process as recommended in the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference Final Document."

In remarks to the press, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reiterated his call for the countries that have not yet done so to ratify the CTBT and expressed his hope that the Treaty would enter into force by 2012. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who chaired the Meeting, told journalists that countries must aim for a world in which the CTBT is honoured by all. "We believe that the national security interests of not only the United States, its allies and friends, but of the world at large would be enhanced by this Treaty coming into force" Rudd said.

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See also: Secretary-General's remarks at Fifth Biennial Ministerial Meeting in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty | Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT | Secretary-General's Remarks to Media after Ministerial Meeting in Support of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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International Day against Nuclear Tests

Alfredo Labbé

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Yoo Soon-taek, are briefed at Ground Zero of the decommissioned Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan.

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests was established in 2009 pursuant to General Assembly resolution 64/35, which was adopted without a vote. In said resolution, which was tabled by Kazakhstan, the General Assembly declared that 29 August be devoted to enhancing public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon tests and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. The resolution further invited Member States, the United Nations system, civil society, academia, the mass media and individuals to commemorate the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The date of 29 August marks the date of the closure of the nuclear weapons test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan in 1991. The Day was observed in New York on 9 September.

An informal plenary of the General Assembly was held on 9 September with an opening address of the Secretary-General, followed by the President of the 64th session of the General Assembly, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO PrepCom) and the New York representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Thirteen Member States also spoke during the two hour meeting and there was a screening of a documentary commissioned by Kazakhstan. Without exception, speakers expressed overwhelming support for the early entry into force and universalization of the CTBT, recognizing the contribution of the Treaty towards the broader goal of nuclear disarmament and non-Proliferation. Calls were made for all States that have not yet joined the Treaty to sign and ratify it as soon as possible, particularly the nine Annex 2 States, whose ratification is needed for its entry into force.

A comprehensive dedicated website on the Day was created by the United Nations Department of Public Information with significant contributions from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and CTBTO PrepCom. A number of events were held in Kazakhstan and in Vienna (the HQ of the CTBTO PrepCom). In New York a seminar for youth at Columbia University was one event organised with the support and participation of UNODA staff.

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See also: International Day website

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Representatives from 18 countries gathered in Saitama Japan to discuss
concrete steps toward a nuclear-free world

Group photo at the opening of the exhibition "Putting an End to Nuclear Explosions"

Approximately 85 participants from Governments, academia, think tanks, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as the media attended the Conference. The Conference was open to the public as a way to raise awareness of and support for disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Twenty-Second United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues was held in Saitama, Japan, from 25 to 27 August. Hosted by the Government of Japan and the City of Saitama, the Conference was organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.

Opening the meeting and delivering the keynote speech, Sergio Duarte, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that "I believe the year 2010 will mark a turning point in the history of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation - these issues are certainly back on the global agenda". Koichi Takemasa, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that the Government of Japan is eager to spearhead international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by advocating concrete steps toward a nuclear-free world, such as cutting nuclear arsenals and de-emphasizing the role of atomic weapons in security doctrines. Also addressing the meeting was Asako Toyoda, Deputy Mayor of Hiroshima, who said that her city aims to achieve a world completely free of nuclear weapons by 2020 so as many A-bomb survivors as possible can witness the total elimination of nuclear arms in their lifetimes.

The Conference assessed the outcome of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and addressed ways to make progress in achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Conference also discussed the role of civil society and peace and disarmament education in advancing disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.

This annual United Nations Conference, which has been hosted by Japan since 1989, is recognized as an important forum for frank dialogue and an exchange of views on pressing security and disarmament-related issues facing the international community. It also addresses particular disarmament and non-proliferation concerns in the Asia-Pacific region.

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See also: RCPD Conference website

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UN Member States convene their First Preparatory Committee for the Planned 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)


Approximately 85 participants from Governments, academia, think tanks, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as the media attended the Conference. The Conference was open to the public as a way to raise awareness of and support for disarmament and non-proliferation.

From 12 to 23 July 2010, Member States of the United Nations gathered in New York for the first Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The PrepCom, which was chaired by Ambassador Robert Garcia Moritán of Argentina, considered the following issues regarding such a treaty:

• Elements
• Guiding principles
• Goals and objectives
• Scope
• Criteria and parameters that would guide decisions on transfers
• Implementation and application

When concluded, the ATT will be the first legally-binding instrument in the field of conventional disarmament to be negotiated within the framework of the United Nations. Its adoption should contribute to preventing irresponsible transfers of conventional arms and thus to enhancing international peace, security and stability.

 

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See also: ATT

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UN hails entry into force of global pact banning cluster munitions


Cluster munitions joined the list of weapons outlawed by many States on 1 August 2010.

The new Convention on Cluster Munitions - or CCM "is a major advance for the global disarmament and humanitarian agendas, and will help us to counter the widespread insecurity and suffering caused by these terrible weapons, particularly among civilians and children" said the Secretary-General in a message released prior to the entry into force of the Convention. "I am particularly pleased that the Convention, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster weapons, entered into force in little more than two years since its adoption," the Secretary-General noted.

Cluster bombs typically disperse dozens or even hundreds of smaller sub-munitions, which are each supposed to explode on impact over an area that can be as big as several football fields. In the last decades, cluster munitions have been used in many regions including South-Eastern Europe, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Thirty-four countries are known to have produced more than 200 types of cluster munitions.

As Daniël Prins, Chief of the Conventional Arms Branch in the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs explains, "the law of armed conflict doesn't allow indiscriminate targeting, in particular where there may be civilians close to the hostilities. Present-day conflict is rarely fought out between two sides of recognizable militaries. That makes cluster munitions a weapons system which cannot be used, as its wide-area coverage is inherently inaccurate."

"Moreover", Prins adds, "we've seen how often cluster munitions malfunction when used. Frequently, the explosive duds just roll by the thousands into fields, orchards, roof gutters, and ditches, saturating areas with explosive force. This poses a grave danger to civilians once hostilities are over. So the weapon is imprecise at the time of use, and kills and injures non-combatants long after conflicts have ended. That's why this ban came about."

The convention – negotiated by States that represent past and current producers, stockpilers and victims of cluster munitions - establishes important commitments regarding assistance to victims, clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles.

Meanwhile, on the ground, the United Nations is working hard to get rid of scattered unexploded munitions, to teach people how to stay out of harm's way, and to assist the victims of these devices in locations as diverse as Cambodia, Chad, Laos, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, and Zambia. These efforts are coordinated through the United Nations Mine Action Team (UNMAT).

 

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See also: SG message | UNMAT

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Small Arms meeting agrees on way forward


Pablo Macedo, Chairperson of the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons, briefs on the BMS4 held at UN Headquarters from 14-18 June.

From 14 to 18 June 2010 UN Member States once again gathered in New York to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). This was the fourth time they were meeting in a series of follow-up meetings that are known as Biennial Meetings of States (BMS).

This Fourth BMS (BMS4), which was chaired by Ambassador Pablo Macedo of Mexico, focused on the following issues:

• Border controls
• Marking and tracing of small arms
• Assistance and cooperation

At the conclusion of its work, the participants agreed, by consensus, to a forward-looking outcome document, by which Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the effective and full implementation of the PoA. Among the main points of the outcome were:

Border controls: the need to enhance cooperation among national agencies as well as with the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL, and to establish adequate procedures for the prevention of the illicit arms trade across borders.

Marking and tracing of arms: a call for assistance in the provision of machines to mark small arms and light weapons – a critical step necessary to effectively trace and identify illicit weapons.

Assistance and cooperation: the need to strengthen the effectiveness of assistance and cooperation – which is a first reference to introducing principles of aid effectiveness into the PoA process.

 

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See also: Outcome Document

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Viet Nam hosts United Nations workshop on implementing
Security Council resolution 1540

Experts meeting in Viet Nam

A regional United Nations workshop on implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) was held from 28 September to 1 October 2010 in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Hosted by the Government of Viet Nam, the workshop was organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) with financial support from the European Union and the Governments of New Zealand, Norway and the United States. Officials from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as representatives from a number of international, regional and subregional organizations, were invited to participate.

Consistent with the objectives of resolution 1540 (2004), the aim of the workshop was to enhance national capacities for the management of export-control processes at a practical level, and to improve sharing of information and experience among participating countries. The workshop also facilitated technical assistance related to the resolution's implementation.

The workshop in Hanoi was the seventh regional workshop organized by UNODA on the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) since 2008. The six previous workshops were held in Brazil (November 2008) for MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) States, in Qatar (March 2009) for Arab States, in Vanuatu (April-May 2009) for Pacific Island States, in Costa Rica (September 2009) for Central American States, in Egypt (December 2009) for African States and in Croatia (June 2010) for Southeast European States.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (2004) on 28 April 2004 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 the resolution, all States are to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including establishing appropriate controls over related materials. The resolution affirms support for multilateral treaties aimed at eliminating or preventing their proliferation. Resolution 1540 (2004) also established a Committee of the Security Council, as its subsidiary body, to report to the Council on the implementation of the resolution.

On 25 April 2008, by its resolution 1810 (2008), the Council requested the 1540 Committee to continue to organize and participate in regional and subregional outreach events promoting States' implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).

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See also: 1540

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Small Arms Meeting held in Nepal

In the light of increased illegal use of small arms and other portable lethal weapons in Nepal, the United Nations Country Team, represented by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), initiated a process to support the mitigation of armed violence on individuals, families and communities by supporting the establishment of a Nepal Working Group on Small Arms and other Portable Lethal Weapons (SAplW). The second meeting of the Working Group was held in Kathmandu on 17 August 2010.

During an earlier discussion forum on gun violence in Nepal, organized by the UNRCPD in May 2010, government officials as civil society organizations stressed the importance of a holistic and community driven approach to address gun violence. At that meeting, the establishment of a working group on 'small arms' was suggested as a way of taking these discussions forward in a more structured and action-oriented manner.

This working group, comprised of multiple stakeholders, endeavours to increase coordination between existing small arms control efforts, contribute to strengthening of the rule of law in Nepal with respect to the use and effects of small arms and support the creation of sustainable small arms control mechanisms in the country.

The August meeting marked the official establishment of the Working Group. Following the outcome of an internal questionnaire, outlining the existing capacity as well as priority areas for the Working Group, the meeting focused on the analysis of 4 identified areas of work: National Action Plan (strategy); Legal Reform and Law Enforcement; Education and Advocacy; and Coordination and Research.

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See also: UNRCPD

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OP 19

Civil Society and Disarmament

New Print and Online UNODA Publications

Available in electronic format and to be released in print in November 2010:

Civil Society and Disarmament

• This publication contains the statements by representatives of civil society organizations which were delivered on 7 May 2010 during the Non-Governmental Organizations segment of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

• The Office for Disarmament Affairs is publishing this material within the context of General Assembly resolution 63/81 on the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme in order to further an informed debate on topical issues of arms limitation, disarmament and security.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.10.IX.6 | ISBN 978-92-1-142277-1

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OP 19

UNODA Occasional Paper No. 20

Available in electronic format and to be released in print on 26 October 2010:

UNODA Occasional Paper No. 20: Promoting Further Openness and Transparency in Military Matters

• This publication is a contribution prepared jointly by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the Group of Governmental Experts, which will review the operation of the United Nations Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures and its further development (the report is expected in 2011). This publication may also benefit those concerned with these matters in Governments, civil society and the academic community.

 

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.10.IX.5 | ISBN 978-92-1-142276-4

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Released on 4 October 2010 in print and electronic formats:

Yearbook 2009 (Part 1)

United Nations
Disarmament Yearbook,
Vol. 34 (Part II): 2009

United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Volume 34 (Part II): 2009

• Summarizes developments and trends in 2009 on key issues of multilateral consideration at the international and regional levels.

• Reviews the activity of the General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission.

• Contains a timeline that highlights events in multilateral disarmament in 2009.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.10.IX.1 | ISBN 978-92-1-142273-3

 

 

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