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IN THIS ISSUE

UN Secretary-General tells Conference on Disarmament to play a central role in strengthening the rule of law in the field of disarmament
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Fourth and final session of the preparatory committee for the 2012 conference on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
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Opening of the exhibition "Fashioning Future History" at the League of Nations Museum
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15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO
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UN advocate Michael Douglas urges young artists to draw for peace
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Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters meets for its 57th session
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Delegates from all over the world gather at the Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference of 2012 on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
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States reaffirm shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy at Seoul Nuclear Security Summit
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New Print and Online UNODA Publications

UN Secretary-General tells Conference on Disarmament to play a central role in strengthening the rule of law in the field of disarmament

Opening of NPT Review Conference

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (right), Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to UNOG and President of the Conference of Disarmament, at the opening of the 2012 session of the Conference.

On 24 January 2012, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament delivered a message on behalf of United Nations Secretary-Ban Ki-moon stating that the future of the Conference on Disarmament was in the hands of its member states.

The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of the Conference on Disarmament and its notable achievements during the Cold War era. "Yet today, this distinguished body is no longer living up to expectations. The last occasion on which the Conference fulfilled the negotiating role given to it by the United Nations General Assembly was in 1996, when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty emerged from an intensive three-year process. Not only do the members of the Conference disagree over its priorities, but the consensus rule, which has served this body so well in the past, is currently used as a de facto veto power to stall every attempt to break the impasse." said the Secretary-General in his message.

He urged the member states to take action, warning them that the Conference's future was in danger. "I can not stand by and watch it [the CD] decline into irrelevancy, as states consider other negotiating arenas….The tide of disarmament is rising, yet the Conference on Disarmament is in danger of sinking. Let us restore the Conference to the central role it can and must play in strengthening the rule of law in the field of disarmament. It is our shared responsibility to make the Conference work, not only for us but for future generations." the Secretary-General concluded.

The Conference on Disarmament, established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, was a result of the first Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations General Assembly held in 1978.

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See also: CD  | Secretary-General's Message to Conference on Disarmament

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Fourth and final session of the preparatory committee for the
2012 conference on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The fourth and final session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2012 conference on an arms trade treaty (ATT), chaired by Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina, was held from 13-17 February 2012 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Participants agreed by consensus on a report on all procedural matters related to the upcoming ATT Conference to be held in July in New York, including a recommendation for the adoption of a draft provisional agenda and draft provisional rules of procedure for the ATT Conference.

The PrepCom also engaged in an informal exchange with representatives of NGOs.

 

 

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See also: ATT PrepCom | PrepCom report

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Opening of the exhibition "Fashioning Future History" at the
League of Nations Museum

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

All photos courtesy of the Cluster Munition Coalition

"The lessons of the World Conference of 1932 have an eerie ring to them. They bring us back to the ongoing clashing agendas and opposing political and security considerations within the Conference on Disarmament…..It is difficult to look at this exhibit and not recall the maxim that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it."

With these words, on 14 February, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, opened a new exhibition at the League of Nations Museum that will run until 31 July.

The new temporary exhibition entitled "Fashioning Future History: 80th Anniversary of the World Disarmament Conference", organized by the Library of the UN Office at Geneva in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, draws on unique archive documents from the collections of the League of Nations Archives at the UNOG Library as well as posters provided by the Office for Disarmament Affairs.

The League of Nations opened what was commonly called the World Disarmament Conference on 2 February 1932, with sixty-four States represented. It was the first disarmament conference of this scale, broadly supported by civil society from all over the world, nurturing the hopes of a population deeply affected by the scars of the First World War. History showed the tragic consequences of the failure of this Conference.

In his opening speech, Mr. Tokayev highlighted the emphasis that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has placed on disarmament, noting his Five-Point Proposal on nuclear disarmament delivered in October 2008, the convening of a High-level Meeting on Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations in September 2010, as well as the convening a High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security in September 2011.

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See also: Director-General's remarks | Museum website

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15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Source: CTBTO

The 15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) was held on 17 February 2012, at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Wolfgang Waldner, Mexican Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho and CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth, addressed the festivities. A large choir from the American International School of Vienna performed on the occasion which was well attended by the diplomatic community and also included NGOs, international media and staff of other Vienna-based organizations – over 500 participants in total.

In his remarks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all countries to press ahead toward realizing the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, and prompted those who have not yet endorsed the global Treaty that bans nuclear tests to do so without delay. "We have a legal and moral obligation to rid our world of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons," "When we put an end to nuclear tests, we get closer to eliminating all nuclear weapons. A world free of nuclear weapons will be safer and more prosperous," he stated.

 

 

Mr. Ban urged the remaining Annex 2 States, whose ratification is required for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to enter into force, to do so as soon as possible. They are China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.

Speaking at a press conference with the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, Mr. Ban said that it is irresponsible to see the Treaty still waiting to come into effect, 15 years after it was opened for signature. "Let as work together with wholehearted commitment to make this world free of nuclear testing, nuclear weapons - so that everybody can live in peace and security without any fear of nuclear explosions" he said.

 

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See also: CTBTO | Photo centre | Video

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UN advocate Michael Douglas urges young artists to draw for peace

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

On February 21 2012, The United Nations Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas appealed to children from around the world to bring to life their artistic impressions of what a world without nuclear weapons would look like. Mr. Douglas, who has served as a UN Messenger of Peace since 1998, released a video message in which he called upon young artists between the ages of 5 and 17 to use their creative talents and draw, paint or sketch their visions of a world without nuclear weapons for an international art contest.

"Art is the universal language; art speaks to our hearts and minds; art can make a difference, and so can you," Mr. Douglas said in a video message already airing on UNTV and made available to broadcasters around the globe.

The contestants are allowed to utilize a wide array of tools – including pens, pencils, crayons, charcoal, oil, acrylic paint or water colors – and are then encouraged to upload their artwork to the initiative's website, www.unartforpeace.org.

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

All art work will be judged based on the criteria of creativity, composition, theme and technique. Each entry will be posted on the website for contestants to share their dream of peace. Once the artwork is posted, family and friends can join in the discussion on the United Nations Peace Day Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/unpeaceday or send messages about their particular favorites through Twitter.

More than 2000 entries have been received so far from children and teens from all parts of the world which have been posted on the contest website. To encourage wider participation and to support the aims of the contest, the President of South-South News, Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, has generously offered to match the prize money for winners in the age group 13 to 17 years of age. There will now be cash prizes of $1,000 for first place, $600 for second place, $400 for third place and $200 for fourth place. Winners in the younger age categories will receive art supplies, kindly donated by founding partner for the contest, the Harmony for Peace Foundation.

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See also: United Nations Art for Peace

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Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters
meets for its 57th session


The 57th session of the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters was held in New York from 22 to 24 February under the Chairmanship of Ambassador H. M. G. S. Palihakkara, former Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka.

At this session the Board gathered to consider and discuss "conventional arms regulation: the future United Nations architecture" and "ways to improve the work of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters".

Presentations were provided to the Board by Daniel Prins, Chief of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA's) Conventional Arms Branch (COB), who made a presentation on the UN conventional arms architecture. Additionally, Jeff Abramson of the Secretariat of the NGO "Control Arms" and Stephen Douglas Goose, Executive Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch, added perspectives from civil society on the topic.

In accordance with the Board's mandate to review the implementation of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (UNDIP), the members received a full briefing by John Ennis, Chief of UNODA's Information and Outreach Branch on the activities under the UNDIP. The presentation focused on UNODA's increased efforts to promote disarmament and non-proliferation education to students at all levels, across the globe, by using poetry, literature and art as vehicles for increased participation by civil society, including youth.

The Board will continue its deliberations on conventional arms regulation and will revisit its earlier discussions on how to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament during its next session in July in Geneva. They are expected to submit to the Secretary-General a set of concrete recommendations on these issues.

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See also: ABDM

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Delegates from all over the world gather at the Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference of 2012 on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Review Conference on the Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 19 to 23 March 2012 under the chairmanship of Ambassador Joy Ogwu of Nigeria. Established in 2001, the Programme of Action provides the framework to assist Member States in their activities to counter the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Antarctic slideshow picture 1
Lamenting the "scores of people who fall victim to illicit small arms every day, every hour, every minute", newly appointed Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that, while donor and recipient States had long recognized the link between security and development, there were serious gaps in the implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.


The PrepCom tackled mostly procedural issues and through its draft report adopted at the end of the session, there was agreement on the a draft provisional agenda, background documentation - including updates to the text of the Programme of Action - and guidelines for the election of the Secretary-General and other officers for the Second review Conference.



The PrepCom recommended that the Ambassador Ogwu be nominated to serve as President of the Second Review Conference on the PoA which is to be held in New York from 27 August to 7 September 2012. Delegates also discussed the need for international assistance and capacity-building – both financial and technical – to globally curb illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

In closing the meeting, Chair Ogwu declared that despite the challenges associated with the implementation of the PoA. "We have fulfilled our mandate. We have laid a successful foundation for a constructive Review Conference".

 

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See also: PoA Website | Report | High Representative's remarks

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States reaffirm shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy at Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

More than 50 world leaders met in Seoul, Republic of Korea, over 26 and 27 March 2012, to try to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Antarctic slideshow picture 1
The talks led to commitments from the United States, Belgium, France and the Netherlands to begin producing, four years from now, medical isotopes without the use of highly enriched uranium. Italy pledged to clear all its stocks of fissile material, while other States agreed to switch to low enriched uranium - which cannot be easily weaponized - to fuel research reactors. However, none of the measures agreed by states during the Summit are legally-binding, and the gathering avoided tackling the broader and more complex issues related to reducing states' reliance on – or interest in - nuclear weapons for purposes of national security.


The Summit took place against a political backdrop of heightened tensions over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's ballistic missile activities and continuing debate and disagreement over the purpose of Iran's nuclear programme.


In his Summit address the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Summit's reaffirmation of the shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and suggested five focus areas, namely: consolidating the global nuclear security architecture through universal adherence to international instruments and a rigorous review mechanism, curbing terrorism financing, asserting more stringent control over fissile materials, strengthening the nexus between nuclear security and nuclear safety, as recognized in the Seoul Communiqué and taking forward the Nuclear Security Summit process and called for the full implementation of commitments undertaken.

The next Nuclear Security Summit will be held in the Netherlands in 2014.

 

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See also: Seoul Summit | Seoul Communiqué | Secretary-General's remarks

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New Print and Online UNODA Publications

Released on 2 April 2012 in print and electronic formats:

Yearbook Part I: 2010

United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Vol. 36 (Part I): 2011

United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, Volume 36 (Part I): 2011

Compiles the resolutions and decisions of the previous session of the General Assembly, the voting patterns in the General Assembly and the First Committee report and dates of their adoption. • Contains a snapshot of votes by thematic cluster of resolution numbers, titles and votes in the previous session of the General Assembly and in the First Committee.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.12.IX.1 | ISBN 978-92-1-142284-9

 

 

 

United Study Series #33:

Yearbook Part I: 2010

United Nations Study Series #33

• This new Study Series (No. 33) focuses on the report of the 2009/2010 United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) which examined the issue of "developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security" and also includes the last two reports of the Secretary-General containing the views of UN Member States on the issue.

Order copies | Download

Sales No. E.12.IX.3 | ISBN 978-92-1-142281-8

 

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