Previous issues | Home | Contact Us | All Disarmament Issues
 

IN THIS ISSUE

Secretary-General stresses a future without nuclear weapons
..................................
First Committee concludes 66th session
.......................
...........
Eleventh Meeting of States Parties (11MSP) on Mine Ban Convention (APLC)
..................................
Tenth United Nations-Republic of Korea Joint Conference Addresses the Past and Future of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues
..................................
Seventh Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention Adopts Final Document and Concludes Session
..................................
Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
..................................
The 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention
..................................
Poetry for Peace Contest ..................................
New Print and Online UNODA Publications

Secretary-General stresses a future without nuclear weapons

Opening of NPT Review Conference

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the high-level consultations entitled "Nuclear Disarmament: a Compass point for progress and accountability" which were organized by the EastWest Institute in partnership with the Global Security Institute, and the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, and held at United Nations Headquarters on 24 October 2011 (United Nations Day).

Addressing the event, the Secretary-General recalled the main elements of his 2008 Five Point Proposal to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons which had included a call for talks on deep and verifiable reductions in the largest nuclear arsenals held by the Russian Federation and the United States as well as good-faith negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. He also stressed the need for greater transparency on the part of the nuclear weapon States as too little was known about existing stockpiles of weapons, fissile materials, and delivery systems. He also emphasized the urgency of the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to prevent the development of new types of nuclear weapons.

The Secretary-General also highlighted the developments in disarmament and stated that 'the future of nuclear disarmament rests on many shoulders: nuclear-weapon States, the international diplomatic community, and, of course, a robust collective effort by civil society'.

The deliberations continued in three breakout working groups to discuss the next steps towards advancing the necessary framework to achieve a nuclear weapon free world, technical and political steps needed for greater accountability and verification, and addressing the causes and effects of the nuclear umbrella and advancing negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

Opening of NPT Review Conference


 

[Top>>]

2

First Committee concludes 66th session

 

Opening of NPT Review Conference

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly that deals with disarmament and international security held its annual session at the United Nations Headquarters from 4 to 31 October 2011.

The Committee took action on 47 draft resolutions and five draft decisions covering a broad spectrum of topics including nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, disarmament aspects of outer space, conventional weapons, regional disarmament and security, other disarmament measures, and the disarmament machinery. A total of 31 draft texts were approved without a vote and 20 draft texts were approved by recorded vote — in addition to separate votes on certain contentious provisions. .

Ten NGO representatives briefed the First Committee on the following issues: two on nuclear weapons, one on outer space, one on disarmament machinery, six on conventional issues including small arms.

There were a total of twenty side events organised on the margins of the meetings of the First Committee, of which four were sponsored by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs: "Transparency in the Global Arms Trade", "Enhancing Small Arms Control in Central Africa – the Kinshasa Convention" (with Austria), "Hibakusha Respond to the 'Poetry for Peace' contest" (with Japan), and "Testimony of Hibakusha" (with Japan).

Delivering the closing statement, the Committee's Chair, Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen (Finland), expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to have chaired the session, and thanked delegations for their constructive spirit, cooperation and support in handling the difficult task at hand.

 

[Top>>]

2

Eleventh Meeting of States Parties (11MSP) on Mine Ban Convention (APLC)

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties (11MSP) to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (APLC) took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 28 November to 2 December 2011. The opening ceremony was presided over by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon noted in his message to the delegates, it was notable for the meeting to be held in Cambodia, a country that symbolized not only the human tragedy associated with anti-personnel mines, but also the hope that combined efforts could build a safer world, free of these catastrophic weapons. The Secretary-General emphasized the progress that had been made in implementing the Cartagena Action Plan adopted at the Second Review Conference in 2009. He also urged the completion of the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines, the clearance of mine-effected areas within agreed deadlines, the delivery of effective risk education programmes and the provision of support to victims and their families. In addition, Mr. Ban renewed his call to those States that have not yet done so, to accede to the Mine Ban Convention as soon as possible.

The Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties considered and took action on (deadline) extension requests by a number of States Parties to complete the destruction of anti-personnel mines, considered ways to promote the Convention's universalization, programmes for cooperation and assistance, and funding of the Convention's Implementation Support Unit. A number of side events and exhibitions also took place on the margins of the meeting.

The twelfth meeting of States Parties to the Convention will be held in Geneva from 3 to 7 December 2012.

 

[Top>>]

2

Tenth United Nations-Republic of Korea Joint Conference Addresses the Past and Future of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues

The Tenth United Nations (UN) – Republic of Korea (ROK) Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-proliferation issues took place in Jeju Island, ROK, on 7 and 8 November 2011 under the overall theme "the past and the future of disarmament and non-proliferation". This year's Conference marked the tenth anniversary of the joint conference series known as "the Jeju Process". The participants examined both setbacks and progress in the past decade and future challenges and the expected outcomes of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Some 80 representatives from governments, academic institutions, industry and civil society attended. Mr. Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Mr. Kim Bong-Hyum, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs addressed the opening session of the Conference.

Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon sent a video message to the Conference in which he underscored his commitment to realise a world free of nuclear weapons. He added that disarmament and its related issue of non-proliferation remained high on his agenda. Mr. Ban noted that as with all other global challenges, success in this area would require multilateral cooperation among all States, along with the understanding and support from civil society.

The annual Conference is organized jointly by the Office for Disarmament Affairs through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific and the Government of the Republic of Korea. Hosted by the Republic of Korea since 2002, it has become an important forum characterized by frank and constructive exchanges of views among government officials, independent experts, researchers, and civil society representatives on challenges and solutions to pressing disarmament and security issues.

 

[Top>>]

2

Seventh Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention Adopts Final Document and Concludes Session


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

The Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 5 to 22 December 2011. In a video message to the Conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that "the Biological Weapons Convention is central to the global disarmament and non-proliferation framework. Over the past five years, States parties have developed common understandings aimed at better implementation of this critical instrument. …All of this contributes to our goal of managing biological risks and helps to ensure that biological science and technology can be developed safely and securely – so that they bring benefits, not danger."

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The Conference concluded with the adoption of a Final Document which included a number of positive achievements. These included agreement on a re-structured inter-sessional process for 2012-2015, with standing agenda items on the key issues of: science and technology, cooperation and assistance, national implementation, renewal of the mandate of the Convention's Implementation Support Unit (ISU) from 2012 to 2016, a database to facilitate assistance and cooperation, revised forms for reporting on confidence-building measures, a sponsorship programme and reform of financing.

Ambassador Paul van den Ijssel (Netherlands), President of the Conference, in his concluding remarks, thanked all participants for their cooperation and constructive engagement. Ambassador Idriss Jazairy of Algeria was named as President of the intersessional period in 2012. The Conference also agreed to hold the next meeting of Experts from 16 to 20 July 2012 and the next meeting of States parties from 10 to 14 December 2012. The Eighth Review Conference will be held in 2016.

 

[Top>>]

2

Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons


Clearning cluster munitions in Lebanon
Courtesy: Cluster Munitions Coalition

The Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) was held in Geneva from 14 to 25 November 2011. The meeting was presided over by Ambassador Gancho Ganev of Bulgaria.

In a message to the Conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the Convention "continues to serve as a pillar of international humanitarian law and humanitarian action." He welcomed the focus of the Review Conference on addressing the horrendous impact of cluster munitions. He noted that "the United Nations family of agencies, in its wide-ranging work on the ground, has come across many types of cluster munitions," and added that "this experience sends a clear message that cluster munitions used to date cause unacceptable harm to civilians."

The Conference failed to adopt a new Protocol VI on cluster munitions due to a lack of consensus.


The Final Declaration of the Conference noted agreement to convene a three-day meeting of experts in 2012 to "discuss further the implementation of international humanitarian law with regard to mines other than anti-personnel mines".

Participants were also committed to an "Accelerated Plan of Action on Universalization of the Convention and its annexed Protocols" which calls on "the United Nations Secretary-General to use all available channels to promote the universalization, including through the UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament in Lima, Lomé and Kathmandu".

There was agreement to continue the Sponsorship Programme to promote participation by developing countries in the meetings of the CCW and to explore all options to promote universalization and implementation of the Convention. Furthermore, the Conference decided to enhance the implementation of the Compliance Mechanism for the Convention and its annexed Protocols. Since the 2011 Third Review Conference, 14 States have joined the CCW.

The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately. The structure of the CCW – a chapeau Convention and annexed Protocols – was adopted in this manner to ensure future flexibility. The Convention itself contains only general provisions. All prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific weapons or weapon systems are the object of the Protocols annexed to the Convention. A total of 50 States signed the Convention, which entered into force on 2 December 1983. Currently 114 States are parties to the Convention with a further five having signed but not yet ratified.

[ Top>>]

2

The 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

The 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) chaired by Ambassador Paul Arkwright of the United Kingdom was held from 28 November to 2 December 2011 in The Hague. Representatives of 131 States Parties to the Convention, 2 Signatory States (Israel and Myanmar), 21 NGOs and chemical industry associations, and several international organizations attended the conference.

Antarctic slideshow picture 1
In the message by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Secretary-General told the delegates that "the spectre of chemical warfare is receding thanks to your diligent work. But, we cannot rest until we destroy all chemical arms and eliminate the possibility that this nightmare scenario will ever be realized." He also praised the near universalization of the Treaty with 188 States Parties.


One of the key conclusions of the meeting was agreement on an extended deadline for destruction of declared chemical weapons to handle the fact that Libya, the Russian Federation and the United States of America will not meet the previously agreed deadline of 29 April 2012. These three States must adopt measures that include the preparation of detailed destruction plans with completion dates to be submitted to the OPCW Executive Council immediately after expiration of the 2012 deadline.

The Conference also welcomed new policy guidelines adopted by the Executive Council for determining the number of industrial inspections under Article VI of the Convention.

The Conference elected 20 States Parties to the Executive Council with 2-year terms starting 12 May 2012.

 

[ Top>>]

2

Poetry for Peace Contest

To promote global nuclear disarmament and preserve the memory of the victims of the Atomic bomb, a social media contest entitled "Poetry for Peace Contest" was launched worldwide on 15 September by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. Submissions were due by 14 October, 2011.

Antarctic slideshow picture 1
Throughout the month-long competition, more than 1,000 poems were received. Participants were invited to read the testimonies of the atomic bomb survivors, known as "Hibakusha", and compose a poem in reaction to these factual accounts.


On 25 October, the winning poems were announced at an event entitled Hibakusha Respond to the "Poetry for Peace Contest" which was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The three winners are Ms. Helle van Aardeberg ("Explosion Affected Reflection"), Ms. Hashela Kumarawansa ("How can I forget"), and Mr. Chris Lawrence ("Until"). The winning poems were read at the event.

Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida of Japan, Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under Secretary-General for Public Information and Ms. Hannelore Hoppe, Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, spoke at the ceremony. In addition, Ms. Monique Coleman, singer-actress and UN Champion for Youth also addressed the event. A number of New York City school children listened to and engaged with the two Hibakusha who were also appointed by the Government of Japan as Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons – Ms. Kazue Sueishi and Ms. Setsuko Thurlow - while the Tarumi Violinists provided appropriate background music for the event.

The following day, the two Special Communicators participated in a side event entitled "Testimony of the Hibakusha" held at the United Nations Headquarters where they shared their personal experiences of the effects of nuclear weapons with UN staff, interns and NGO representatives and encouraged the public at large to work tirelessly towards a world without nuclear weapons.

 

[ Top>>]

2

New Print and Online UNODA Publications

Released in December 2011 in print and electronic formats:

Yearbook Part I: 2010

Disarmament:
A Basic Guide

Disarmament: A Basic Guide

Disarmament: A Basic Guide is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (UNDIP). The book is aimed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of and support for multilateral action in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. It is intended for the general reader, but may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.11.IX.2 | ISBN 978-92-1-142279-5

 

 

 

Occasional Paper No. 21: Study on the Development of a Framework for Improving End-Use and End-User Control Systems

Yearbook Part I: 2010

Occasional Paper 21

The Study, which was commissioned by UNODA and prepared with funding from the Government of Sweden, is aimed at drawing the attention of Member States and other SALW stake holders to issues related to end-use and end user certificates and the important role that proper end-use and end-user certificates could play in stemming the illicit trade in SALW.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.12.IX.5 | ISBN 978-92-1-142283-2

 

[Top>>]

2

Previous issues | Home | Contact Us | All Disarmament Issues


Copyright © 2011 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.