Previous issues | Home | Contact Us | All Disarmament Issues
 
 

IN THIS ISSUE

The UN and EU promote regional dialogue on Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations
..................................
Meeting of Governmental Experts on Small Arms
.......................
...........
Marking the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, High Representative says spending levels remain out of control
..................................
Atomic Bomb Survivors Meet UN Tour Guides and Interns
..................................
Secretary-General speaks at event 'Promoting the Global Instruments of Nonproliferation and Disarmament: The United Nations and the Nuclear Challenge.'
..................................
Security Council extends mandate of 1540 Committee for 10 years
..................................
Disarmament slideshow launch marks 50th anniversary of Antarctic Treaty
..................................
Group of Governmental Experts finalises work on Military Expenditure
..................................
New Print and Online UNODA Publications

The UN and EU promote regional dialogue on Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations

Opening of NPT Review Conference


A seminar for Latin American and Caribbean States on “Supporting Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations through Regional Discussion and Expertise Sharing” was held in Montevideo, Uruguay from 27-29 April 2011. The seminar was organised by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the European Union (EU) in collaboration with the Government of Uruguay.

The seminar was divided into two segments, the first focused on diplomatic and military personnel responsible for national policies vis-à-vis a future Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) while the second segment was tailored for technical and law enforcement personnel.  

At the seminar, a representative from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC), Ms. Amanda Cowl, provided an overview of the ATT process and summarized the main outcome of the 2nd Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty which was held in New York in February/March of 2011.

The lack of legally-binding norms to control and regulate the arms trade poses a serious threat to human security and sustainable peace and development, a situation which is further fuelled by irresponsible arms deals.

A 4th and final Preparatory Committee on an ATT will be held in early 2012, prior to the UN Conference on the ATT scheduled for the summer of 2012.

[Top>>]

See also: UN-LiREC  | UN-LiREC Newsletter | Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty

2

Meeting of Governmental Experts on Small Arms


The First Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE) on the Implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects took place in New York from 9 to 13 May, 2011. Chaired by Jim McLay, the Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, the MGE sought to generate practical, action-oriented discussions among experts on challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the PoA.

On the basis of extensive consultations with Member States in the months running up to the MGE, Ambassador McLay proposed that the meeting focus on the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) to enable States to identify and trace, in a timely and reliable manner, illicit small arms and light weapons.  At the end of the week-long meeting, the Chair’s “Summary of Discussions” covered the highlights of the meeting and set out areas for further work including the core issues of marking, record keeping, cooperation in tracing, national frameworks for implementation of the ITI, regional cooperation and international assistance and capacity building. Most participants felt that the meeting had exceeded expectations and that there should be a follow up meeting along similar lines. 

Four Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) were given an opportunity to address the experts during a special session devoted to NGOs.


The World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA),  the Defense Small Arms Advisory Council (DSAAC), the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women’s Network and   Saferworld

 

[Top>>]

See also: MGE | Chair's Summary

2

Marking the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, High Representative says spending levels remain out of control

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Sergio Duarte
UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The money spent by countries to achieve targets such as eliminating poverty, educating all children and providing decent health care is still only a fraction of what they spend on arming themselves, a senior United Nations disarmament official warned today.

Sergio Duarte, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, marked the Global Day of Action on Military Spending by calling on governments to re-orient their spending and thinking and devote more resources towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In a statement Mr. Duarte noted that military spending has soared by half over just the past five years, with total expenditure now estimated at more than $1.2 trillion worldwide.

“Less than one tenth of annual military expenditures would be enough to achieve our agreed development goals, lifting all people out of extreme poverty by 2015,” he said.

“I call on governments to consider the full possibilities of creating security through non-military means. Decent health care and a good education for all, providing confidence in one’s future. Democratic institutions, in which all citizens feel represented. A functioning rule of law, protecting people against crime and corruption. Finally, intense cooperation between neighbouring and other countries, building confidence and trust in international relations.”

 

[Top>>]

See also: High Representative's Speech | MDGs

2

Atomic Bomb Survivors Meet UN Tour Guides and Interns

Two Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from Hiroshima, Ms. Shigeko Sasamori and Ms. Toshiko Tanaka met with UN tour guides and interns respectively at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 23 May 2011. They were organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in close collaboration with Hibakusha Stories. This outreach programme is part of efforts to implement recommendations contained in the 2002 United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Education. The meetings were well attended by UN tour guides and interns from the UN secretariat, funds and programmes as well as permanent missions.

There are still people alive today who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Many Hibakusha like Ms. Sasamori and Ms. Toshiko have dedicated their lives to peace and although they are growing old, they continue to work for nuclear disarmament. They tell their stories in order to help people understand the true reality of nuclear weapons. One of the UN tour guides said that she talked about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to UN visitors every day. But having now met a Hibakusha herself and heard their personal testimonies it would forever change the way she will talk about this issue to visitors. It is a rare opportunity and an important responsibility to learn about the effects of nuclear weapons by listening to Hibakusha testimonies.

Ms. Sasamori was 13 Years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She heard the sound of a plane overhead — seconds later she was knocked unconscious by the blast. She was so badly burned that she was unrecognizable. Ms. Sasamori repeated her name and address over and over until she was finally found by her father. Years later she would travel to the United States as part of a group of young women known as the Hiroshima Maidens. While in New York, she underwent numerous plastic surgery operations and met her adoptive father, Dr. Norman Cousins. Her story is featured in Steven Okazaki’s award winning film “White Light Black Rain”.

Until recently Ms. Toshiko never talked about her dire experience of the atomic bomb even to her own children. After 66 years, she now talks about her experiences in public. She does not want any of her children and future generations to experience what she has been through. She started to feel a responsibility to get into action as a Hibakusha; action to make the world peaceful without fear of dropping bombs, and action to keep the sky above our children and young people always blue and beautiful.

 

[Top>>]

See also: Hibakusha Stories | 2002 United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Education

2

Secretary-General speaks at event 'Promoting the Global Instruments of Nonproliferation and Disarmament: The United Nations and the Nuclear Challenge.'

On May 31, 2011 the Permanent Missions of Japan, Poland, and Turkey, in collaboration with the Stimson Center's Managing Across Boundaries program, hosted a conference in New York with the title ‘Promoting the Global Instruments of Nonproliferation and Disarmament: The United Nations and the Nuclear Challenge.’ The event attracted more than 150 participants representing 62 United Nations Permanent Missions, as well as leading experts in the nonproliferation, disarmament and international security fields.

Group photo at the opening of the exhibition "Putting an End to Nuclear Explosions"
“Photo courtesy of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations taken by Mark McQueen.”
Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and co-organizing Ambassadors of Poland and Turkey

Delivering the Keynote address, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation, and stressed that ‘progress in eliminating nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is more essential than ever.” He added that “in our increasingly interdependent world, weapons-related technologies and materials flow more readily and easily across borders.  And, in such a world, the use of such weapons anywhere jeopardizes security everywhere.’








In his remarks, the Secretary-General addressed five specific areas for focus:

  • Strengthening the NPT
  • Advancing the rule of law in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation
  • Strengthening the role of the General Assembly and the Security Council
  • Focusing greater attention on nuclear terrorism and nuclear security
  • Nuclear safety concerns

The Secretary-General closed his intervention calling for a general and complete disarmament, with nuclear disarmament as the most urgent priority, and promoting the construction of ‘a world in which the use of nuclear weapons is not simply improbable, but impossible.’ Representing the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Hannelore Hoppe, Director and Deputy to the High Representative also addressed the gathering. She pointed out that the elimination of WMD globally and the commitment to limit or regulate conventional armaments within a multilateral framework are fundamental goals and the only reliable guarantee against their future use. Ms. Hoppe underscored that WMD proliferation is a global issue and 'therefore efforts to address these challenges must also be global in scope, and not limited to the actions of particular coalitions of States.'

[Top>>]

See also: Secretary-General's Remarks| Deputy High Representative's Remarks| Event website

2

Security Council extends mandate of 1540 Committee for 10 years


UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

On 20 April, the Security Council adopted resolution 1977 (2011) which extended the mandate of the committee that monitors efforts to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists and other non-State actors — the so-called 1540 Committee — for 10 years, until 25 April 2021.  This Committee was established pursuant to the adoption by the Council of resolution 1540 (2004) whereby the Security Council decided that all States shall 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, and requires all States to adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws to this effect. The resolution also requires all States to establish various types of domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of such weapons.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1977 (2011), the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish a group of up to eight experts to assist the Committee, known formally as the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004).

By its resolution 1977 (2011), the Council decided that the Committee should continue to intensify its efforts to promote the full implementation of the resolution, urging it to engage actively with States so as to facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as the provision of assistance for that purpose. The Council also re-emphasized the importance of full implementation of the resolution by all States, calling on them to work together urgently in support of relevant international conventions and through the reinforcement of legal regimes. It again called on all States that had not yet done so to submit reports on their compliance with resolution 1540 (2004), as well as additional information when requested to do so by the Committee.

In requesting the committee to conduct a comprehensive review on the status of implementation of resolution 1540, both after five years and prior to the renewal of its mandate, the Security Council stated that it should, if necessary, recommend adjustments to its mandate and report on the conclusions of those reviews. The first review should be held before December 2016.

[ Top>>]

See also: Security Council Resolution 1977 (2011)| 1540 Website

2

Disarmament slideshow launch marks 50th anniversary of Antarctic Treaty

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) announced the launch of an interactive slideshow to mark the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Antarctic Treaty.

Antarctic slideshow picture 1
The main purpose of the Antarctic Treaty, which entered into force on 23 June 1961, is to ensure "in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue for ever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord." Thus the Treaty establishes Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.


The Antarctic Treaty was one of the first arms control agreements established during the Cold War with the Treaty’s Article V prohibiting nuclear explosions and disposal of radioactive wastes. For the past 50 years, the Antarctic Treaty has served as an extraordinary example of international cooperation.


Antarctic photo

The original Signatories to the Treaty are the twelve named countries in the Treaty text that were active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58 and then accepted the invitation of the Government of the United States of America to participate in the diplomatic conference at which the Treaty was negotiated in Washington in 1959. Since 1959, thirty six other States have become members of the Treaty and thus forty-eight nations representing approximately two thirds of the world’s population are part of the Antarctic Treaty System.

Every year the original twelve Parties to the Treaty and those Parties that demonstrate their interest in Antarctica by conducting substantial research activity there - together called the Consultative Parties - meet "for the purpose of exchanging information, consulting together on matters of common interest pertaining to Antarctica, and formulating and considering and recommending to their Governments measures in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Treaty" The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was established in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003 and, inter-alia, services the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). 

The Antarctic is one of nine internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones which include Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, Central Asia, Mongolia, the seabed, and outer space.

 

[ Top>>]

See also: Text of the Treaty | Nuclear-weapon-free zones

2

Group of Governmental Experts finalises work on Military Expenditure

The Group of Governmental Experts on the “Operation and Further Development of the United Nations Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures” completed its last meeting on 13 May and the Secretary-General has forwarded the report of the Group to the General Assembly for its consideration at its 66th session later this year (A/66/89 and Corr.1 and 2).

The report of the Group which was established pursuant to paragraph 5 (c) of General Assembly resolution 62/13 contains an examination of the reasons that may prevent countries from reporting military expenditures, and provides recommendations aimed at adapting the reporting template to new security and military realities and at providing States with additional incentives to participate in the Instrument.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1c/Military_expenditure_by_GDP_2008.png
Military expenditure by GDP 2008

The Group emphasised the desirability of the broadest possible participation in reporting military expenditures. The Group also noted the importance of leveraging existing resources of the United Nations disarmament machinery for promoting the Instrument.  In order to better accommodate particularities of national accounting systems and to facilitate and enhance participation in the Instrument, the Group agreed on a common understanding of military expenditures and a number of modifications to the standardized and the simplified reporting form, and developed a format to be used by those Member States that have no military spending to report.

The 15-member Group Chaired by Ambassador Claus Wunderlich of Germany held three sessions: the first in Geneva on 8-12 November 2010 and the second two sessions in New York on 7-11 February 2011 and 9-13 May 2011, respectively.

In 1980, the General Assembly developed the United Nations Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures and encouraged all countries to report annually on their military-related expenditures for the previous year.  Transparency in military spending is deemed important for building confidence and trust, in particular at the regional level.  By making the reported figures publicly available, the United Nations makes possible their verification and analysis.

[ Top>>]

See also: MILEX

2

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.

[Top>>]

2

Previous issues | Home | Contact Us | All Disarmament Issues


Copyright © 2011 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.