Arms limitation and disarmament agreements, including verification of compliance
Verification further caught the attention of the international community in 2003 with the international verification activities of UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) and the IAEA. The subject has been one of growing concern in global arms control and disarmament negotiations since the Second World War. In 1959, General Assembly resolution 1378 established general and complete disarmament under effective international supervision as the aim of global disarmament efforts. Since then, verification has been part of many multilateral or bilateral arms control activities. In 1988, the UN Disarmament Commission adopted 16 principles of verification.1
Among them, adequate and effective verification arrangements must be capable of providing, in a timely fashion, clear and convincing evidence of compliance or non-compliance. Continued confirmation of compliance is an essential ingredient to building and maintaining confidence among the parties. Also, requests for inspections or information in accordance with the provisions of an arms limitation and disarmament agreement should be considered as a normal component of the verification process.
This year, the General Assembly decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-ninth session the item entitled "Verification in all its aspects, including the role of the United Nations in the field of verification," by the adoption, without a vote, of decision 58/515. In statements prior to and after the adoption of the decision, a number of delegations called for the preservation and utilization of the experiences and expertise of UNMOVIC, in particular, in the fields of missiles and biological weapons, asserting that its legitimacy and expertise would make it an ideal player to counter the threat of States refusing to comply with their obligations under international disarmament and non-proliferation treaties.
General Assembly, 2003
Verification in all its aspects, including the role of the United Nations in the field of verification
. The draft decision was introduced by Canada, on behalf of the sponsors (see page click here
for the sponsors), on 23 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 29 October and by the General Assembly on 8 December. For the text of the decision, see page click here
Canada expressed the hope that Member States would use the coming year to reflect on matters such as the 16 Verification Principles; strengthening the non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament regime; keeping verification regimes up-to-date with technological developments; reviewing the Security Council's role in non-compliance issues and the role of the Secretary-General and of the Secretariat in the monitoring and verification of international arms control and disarmament accords.
Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control
. The draft resolution was introduced by Malaysia, on behalf of States members of the United Nations that are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, on 23 October. It was adopted by the First Committee on 3 November, by a recorded vote of (156-1-4) and by the General Assembly on 8 December (173-1-4). For the text of the resolution and the voting, see pages click here
and click here
The resolution again reaffirmed that international disarmament fora should take fully into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements, and called upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures, so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.
This year, the United States voted against the draft resolution, because it saw no direct connection between general environmental standards and multilateral arms control agreements and it was not convinced that the item was relevant to the First Committee's work. Nevertheless, it believed that States parties to bilateral, regional or multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements should take relevant environmental concerns into account when implementing such agreements. It also held that the United Nations should not attempt to set standards for the content of arms control and disarmament agreements, but that the choice should rest with the parties involved.
Review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security
. The draft decision was introduced by Malaysia, on behalf of the States members of the United Nations that are members of the Non Aligned Movement on 23 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 29 October and by the General Assembly on 8 December. For the text of the decision, see page click here
The decision would have the General Assembly include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixtieth session.
See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifteenth Special Session, Supplement No. 3
(A/S-15/3, para. 60.)