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IN THIS ISSUE

Inauguration of the Mayors for Peace Exhibit at the Permanent Disarmament Exhibition: Cities Are Not Targets (CANT) Petition
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Second Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty is held in New York
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Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters meets for its 55th session
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Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs talks about current state of The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
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Central African Ministers Adopt Common Position for Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations
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Workshop on Regional Bio-security and the Role of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)
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UN Regional Workshop for East and Southeast Asia on Strengthening the Capacity of the Media in Promoting and Advocating Peace and Disarmament
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United Nations Regional Best and Promising Practices Seminar on Armed Violence and Prevention for South and Southeast Asia in Kathmandu
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New Print and Online UNODA Publications


Inauguration of the Mayors for Peace Exhibit at the Permanent Disarmament Exhibition: Cities Are Not Targets (CANT) Petition

Opening of NPT Review Conference

The inauguration of the Exhibit "Cities are not targets (CANT)" at the Permanent Disarmament Exhibit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York took place on 24 March 2011. Among the participants were Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly Ambassador Joseph Deiss, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Mr. Sergio Duarte, actor and UN Messenger of Peace Mr. Michael Douglas, Ms. Jackie Cabasso and Mr. Aaron Tovish from Mayors for Peace and three Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors from Japan and Korea). In addition the event was attended by nearly a hundred other participants, among these many Permanent Representatives and delegates from Member States, NGOs and the media.

The new exhibit is an art piece of two columns by artist Eli Elysee containing 1,024,820 signatures for the non-targeting of cities and the abolition of nuclear weapons collected by Mayors for Peace between 12 February 2007 and 26 April 2010. It is the first exhibit which emphasizes the importance of the United Nation's partnership with a global non-governmental organization. A short video, produced by Lou Rouse to accompany the installation, tells the story of Mayors for Peace, the CANT petition, and underscores the important role of civil society in nuclear disarmament.

Addressing the gathering, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the exhibition underscored the goal of transcending national borders to fight for nuclear disarmament in what he called a "landmark occasion" that helps to build international momentum. "These one million signatures demanding an end to the nuclear threat are the voice of the world's people. This movement brings together mayors and mothers, like-minded citizens and peace groups. They all understand that nuclear weapons make us less safe, not more," he told those present.

At the end of the ceremony the three Hibakusha, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ambassador Joseph Deiss, High Representative Mr. Sergio Duarte, Mr. Michael Douglas and other attendees added their signatures to the petition.

Accessible to all visitors at the Permanent Exhibits at the United Nations Headquarters, there will be the possibility to sign one's own name into the petition and thereby support the abolition of nuclear weapons and the cause of Mayors for Peace, the Hibakusha and the United Nations.

Mayors for Peace was founded in 1982 by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities laid waste by atomic bombs in 1945, and now counts 4,540 cities in 150 countries as its members.

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See also: The Secretary-General's remarks  | Mayors for Peace CANT webpage | Inauguration Webcast | CANT Petition Video
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Second Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty is held in New York


The second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) session on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 28 February to 4 March 2011. The purpose of the PrepCom is to make recommendations on the elements for an effective and balanced legally-binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms. The Meeting was chaired by Roberto Garcia Moritán of Argentina.

The main issue before the meeting was discussion of a series of revised Chairman's papers which included the following major themes that may form the basis of the Treaty to be concluded in 2012:

  • Preamble/ Principles
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Scope (type of equipment and types of transfers covered)
  • Criteria and parameters for the transfer of arms
  • International cooperation and assistance mechanisms

These and other topics will be taken up at the next session of the PrepCom scheduled to take place in New York from 11-15 July 2011.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) representing a wide spectrum of civil society made presentations to attending delegates during an informal session of the PrepCom. They included Oxfam, Saferworld, IANSA, Amnesty International, the Defense Small Arms Advisory Council and the World Forum on the future of Sport Shooting Activities.

Half a dozen well-attended side events took place in the margins of the PrepCom organised by Governments, NGOs and research organisations such as UNIDIR.

Background

In 2009, the General Assembly decided to convene a United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 "to elaborate a legally-binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms". The General Assembly decided that the remaining four sessions of what had been the Open-ended Working Group should be considered as sessions of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for this Conference. The first ATT PrepCom took place in July 2010.

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See also: ATT PrepCom
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Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters meets for its 55th session

The 55th session of the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters met in New York from 23-25 February under the Chairmanship of Olga Pellicer, Professor of the Department of International Studies at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.

The Board gathered this year to consider and discuss how to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which has been in a virtual state of stalemate for the past 12 years. The reasons for the CD's stalemate are widely debated.

Given that revitalizing work on disarmament and non-proliferation had been among his highest priorities since he took office, the Secretary-General decided to chair a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on "Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations". The meeting, which was held on 24 September 2010, 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. The Secretary General had thus asked the Board to review the issues pertaining to the Conference on Disarmament and multilateral disarmament negotiations, and to feed into the upcoming debate in the General Assembly. This includes the possible establishment of a panel of eminent persons to look at the functioning of the Conference.

This year, presentations were provided by different experts: Tim Caughley, Resident Senior Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), as well as two representatives of civil society, Dr Robert Zuber, Director of Global Action for Prevention of War and the project for a UN Emergency Peace Service, and Dr. Mia Zian, who teaches nuclear policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Deputy Co-Chair of the International panel on Fissile Materials.

The Board will continue its deliberations on revitalizing the Conference on Disarmament during its next session in July in Geneva and will submit to the Secretary-General a set of concrete recommendations on the issue.

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See also:Advisory Board | Secretary-General's remarks

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Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs talks about current state of The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Alfredo Labbé

The United Nations University (UNU) organized a Midday Forum on 1 February entitled "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Where Do We Stand? What's Next?" with Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs as speaker and Jean-Marc Coicaud Director of the UNU New York Office in the Chair. The event attracted 250 participants with an additional 100 individuals registered to watch a simultaneous webcast. The UNU's Midday Forum series is designed to offer an intimate and informal platform for discussion to the UN Permanent Missions, the UN Secretariat, UN agencies, academia, NGOs and the private sector to discuss and exchange ideas and experiences on important topics related to the UN.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Duarte noted that a nuclear war would jeopardize not just the solemn principles and purposes of the UN Charter, but the very existence of life on this planet. It was precisely for this reason that efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread, and to promote and ensure the exclusively peaceful uses of nuclear energy deserve a high priority throughout the world community — and that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was currently the focal point of these efforts. He noted that the May 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Document included references to the Secretary-General's five-point nuclear disarmament proposal, which includes a call for work on a nuclear weapons convention or an alternative framework of mutually-reinforcing instruments with the same goal.

The High Representative highlighted that new ground was also broken as the Review Conference expressed its "deep concern" over the humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law. Mr. Duarte remarked that in addition to 22 Actions to advance nuclear disarmament, the Final Document also called for greater transparency on the part of the nuclear-weapon States with respect to their nuclear capabilities and progress in achieving disarmament goals and identified a further 42 Actions for progress on non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Looking ahead to the future of the NPT, Mr. Duarte said that the determination and sincerity of the nuclear-weapon States to implement their commitments in the field of disarmament, was an area where progress was most needed. He added that this would require enlightened leadership from the States with the largest nuclear arsenals but it would also require active support from other countries in the international diplomatic community, as well as from individuals and groups in civil society. In terms of his twin subjects addressed at the meeting, Where do we stand? he said "Let's stand for nuclear disarmament. And what's next? Let's finish the job of achieving it."

Mr. Duarte's remarks were followed by a question and answer session involving diplomatic and NGO representatives.

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See also: UNU Video portal (webcast) | High Representative's remarks

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Central African Ministers Adopt Common Position for Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations

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

The United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) adopted the "Sao Tomé Declaration on a Central African Common Position on the Arms Trade Treaty", on 16 March, at its thirty-second ministerial meeting held in Sao Tomé. The Declaration comes soon after the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, held in New York from 28 February to 4 March.

The Sao Tomé Declaration addresses the scope, criteria and parameters, as well as implementation aspects of such a future arms trade treaty. In adopting this Declaration, the Central African countries ensured that their challenges and concerns would be known and taken into account during the ongoing negotiations leading to the treaty's finalization in 2012. The Sao Tomé Declaration expresses a coordinated and harmonized approach of Committee member States on the arms trade treaty negotiations, conclusion and its future implementation.

In a message to the meeting delivered by Mr. Bruno Mpondo-Epo, Chef de Cabinet of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, the Secretary-General said that he continued to attach great importance to the work of UNSAC and encouraged members to stop gun violence and to stop the cross-border flow of illicit weapons. He also urged members to take the necessary steps to ratify the Kinshasa Convention, allowing it to enter into force as soon as possible.

The Kinshasa Convention on the control of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa, which has been signed by 8 of the 11 members of the Advisory Committee since it opened for signature in November 2010, was the guiding framework for the new Declaration.

The United Nations Committee is composed of the following Member States: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

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See also: UNSAC | UNREC | Secretary General's message

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Workshop on Regional Bio-security and the Role of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)


A workshop on regional bio-security and the role of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was hosted by the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS) in Amman, Jordan from 24 to 27 January 2011. The workshop was organized and funded by the US Department of Energy and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in cooperation with MESIS. Participants came from national public health institutions and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) authorities of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United States as well as from the World Health Organization (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), including the Implementation Support Unit for the Biological Weapons Convention (ISU/BWC).

The topics of the Workshop included interaction between arms control, scientific-, health- and law enforcement and security communities with focus on capacity building for disease surveillance, preparedness and response, assistance in case of alleged use of biological weapons, national implementation measures and issues related to the 7th Review Conference of the State Parties to the BWC with particular emphasis on Confidence-Building Measures (CBM).

Mr. Franz Kolar, ODA representative from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch (WMDB) presented the Secretary-General's mechanism for the investigation of alleged use of chemical, biological or toxin weapons and ODA organized outreach activities related to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in support of UNSCR 1540 (2004).

The Managing Director of MESIS indicated that the Institute would be interested in hosting and organizing similar regional events in the future.

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See also: Biological weapons

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UN Regional Workshop for East and Southeast Asia on Strengthening the Capacity of the Media in Promoting and Advocating Peace and Disarmament


The "UN Regional Workshop for East and Southeast Asia on Strengthening the Capacity of the Media in Promoting and Advocating Peace and Disarmament" took place in Beijing, China, on 20 and 21 January 2011 and was organised by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) and supported by the Government of China and the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA). The workshop was the first of three in a project on "Strengthening the Capacity of the Media in Advocating and Promoting Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific". It was also the first UN meeting in recent years focusing on the role of the media in promoting disarmament.

Over 50 participants including senior media staff from 11 East and Southeast Asian countries as well as disarmament experts from think-tanks and representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) took part in the workshop. The workshop was opened by Mr. Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. The keynote Speech was delivered by Mr. Cheng Jingye, Director-General, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

The workshop provided a unique occasion for interactive discussions between media participants and disarmament experts on disarmament topics, and proved most useful in increasing the media's knowledge and understanding of disarmament and non-proliferation issues and in empowering media from the region to be involved in promoting disarmament. Participants also discussed the potential role of new social media in promoting disarmament.

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See also: Conference website | China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA)

United Nations Regional Best and Promising Practices Seminar on Armed Violence and Prevention for South and Southeast Asia in Kathmandu


The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) organized a regional seminar in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 15 to 18 March, to discus the best and promising practices and lessons learnt from experiences on armed violence reduction and prevention programmes within the South and Southeast Asia region and beyond. The seminar was co-hosted by the Government of Nepal with additional support from the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UN Development Programme, the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and the Development Secretariat and the Government of Switzerland.

The seminar was officially opened by the Hon. Barsaman Pun, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction of Nepal. Representatives from 17 countries in South and Southeast Asia, as well as international and regional organizations, including the United Nations and civil society organizations attended.

The discussion with presentations by regional and international experts provided an opportunity for examining the intersection between armed violence and development leading to steps government's could take to reduce the threat of armed violence by establishing prevention programmes.

Participants and break out groups highlighted the potential positive role of the media as well as government cooperation with civil society organizations and the private sector as ways to reduce armed violence. The development of good practices in the delivery of social services were important too. Key instruments to promote ownership, responsibility and increased cooperation on a local, national and regional level were: reliable data on armed violence, evidence and research-based policies.

The seminar proved to be a timely effort to address an urgent issue in South and Southeast Asia. It paved the way for increased efforts by actors in the region and served its purpose in increasing awareness of a complex issue, identifying best and promising practices and existing needs, fostering inter-sectoral and inter regional cooperation, and outlining ways forward and mechanisms for assistance to reduce and prevent armed violence.

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See also: Conference website | UNRCPD

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Released on 31 March 2011 in print and electronic formats:

Yearbook Part I: 2010

United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Volume 35 (Part I): 2010

United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Volume 35 (Part I): 2010

• Compiles the resolutions and decisions of the previous General Assembly, their voting patterns in the General Assembly and the First Committee report and dates of adoption.

• Contains a quick view of votes by cluster for an easy handle on resolution numbers, titles and votes in the Assembly and in the First Committee.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.11.IX.1 | ISBN 978-92-1-142278-8

 

 

 

Part II is expected to be released in early September.

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