United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (UNDIP)
The Department's activities continued to reflect an expanded outreach programme in the priority areas of: weapons of mass destruction; conventional weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons, and the transparency mechanism of the Register of Conventional Arms; the relationship between disarmament and development; and disarmament and non-proliferation education. The Programme was implemented through public speaking engagements, press releases, print and electronic publications, its web site, symposia, panel discussions and exhibits. In 2003, the Department collaborated closely with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on the information needs of the First Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (BMS). DPI also assisted DDA with a survey among Disarmament Yearbook subscribers to determine whether there was sufficient customer interest in purchasing the book on CD-ROM as well as internet versions. In addition, the two departments collaborated to implement some of the recommendations of the UN study on DNP (see section above).
DDA continued to maintain its core publication programme, including the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook
, the occasional paper series and the quarterly DDA Update. As a result of responses to a survey received from Member States in 2003, DDA is considering a CD-ROM version of the Yearbook
containing its last three editions and will be exploring the feasibility of on-line publication. Since 2002, the DDA Update and the occasional paper series have been available online within one day of their completion. (See annex IV for a list of the Department's publications).
The DDA web site entitled "Peace and Security through Disarmament"1
is oriented towards issues rather than institutional structures. As such, it includes information on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), conventional weapons and regional disarmament. It also contains articles on emerging issues, including the link between disarmament and international terrorism, gender perspectives on disarmament, and children and disarmament. Its substantive pages disseminate information and documentation from major disarmament-related conferences in all official UN languages. Its front page provides up-to-date material on press releases, statements of the Secretary-General and other senior UN officials, information on current and upcoming events in the field of disarmament and relevant background documentation. An educational resource section covers the progress of the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on DNP and the implementation of the group's recommendations, and features a powerpoint presentation on peace and disarmament, as well as an electronic version and related links to research and educational institutions and organizations. The site is also an important tool for collating and circulating data and information provided by States, regional and non-governmental organizations, on national legislation, national focal points and national reports, as agreed in the Programme of Action (PoA) of the 2001 UN Conference on SALW.
Three innovations to the web site included an online disarmament reference library2
of documentation from multilateral disarmament conferences and other meetings, review conferences and expert groups; a printer-friendly feature to the General Assembly disarmament resolutions and decisions database; and an online resource on DNP education3
is under construction. In cooperation with DPI and the UN Publications Board, DDA is examining ways to expand the multilingual version of its web site.
The Department's web site is frequently visited and provides 24-hour service worldwide. Web statistics indicate users from more than 170 countries and different occupational groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. In 2003, visits numbered 397,850 (an average of 1090 visitors/day) and 3,355,598 views (an average of 9,193 page-views/day)4
. Visitors were attracted to: DDA's home and overview pages, and areas dealing with the WMD index, terrorism, conventional arms index, small arms, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Conference on Disarmament. The DDA web email box also received hundreds of messages from around the world. These statistics demonstrate that disarmament is an issue of global interest and that DDA is a valuable internet resource on disarmament matters for Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the academic community.
Based on the statistics cited above, the Department regularly monitors its established databases: General Assembly resolutions and decisions on disarmament items and updates (including voting patterns and sponsors),5
status of disarmament and arms regulation agreements,6
submissions by Member States to the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the standardized reporting on military expenditures,7
and reports submitted under article 7 by States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.8
DDA panels, NGO panel discussions and participation in the Biennial Meeting of States
The Information Programme continued to broaden its cooperation with civil society. In 2003, DDA enhanced strategies that integrated NGOs and research institutes into the Department's work and improved existing relationships. An example of this effort was the close collaboration between DDA and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) aimed at facilitating a pivotal role for civil society in the BMS. As a result of this cooperative effort, 172 non-governmental organizations were represented at the BMS and participated fully in its open meetings from 7 to 11 July as well as in some 30 informative and dynamic side events arranged by them. (For symposia, see annex VI to this chapter).
A panel discussion entitled "Making Disarmament More Effective: Men and Women Working Together" took place at headquarters on 15 April to mark the launch of DDA's Gender Action Plan. After opening remarks by Ambassador Mario Maiolini of Italy in his capacity as Chair of the UN Disarmament Commission, Jayantha Dhanapala, USG for Disarmament Affairs, explained that the action plan assumed that disarmament could be strengthened through the integration of gender insights in disarmament debates, decision-making and actions, and by more equitable participation by women in decision-making. Panelists offered a multidimensional view of the challenge of gender mainstreaming in disarmament. They included Angela King, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Harriet C. Babbit, Director, Office of Women Waging Peace in Washington, DC, Gilbert Laurin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN and Joyce Davis, Deputy Foreign Editor of Knight Ridder Newspapers and author of a newly released book "Martyrs: Innocence, Vengeance and Despair in the Middle East." (For background information on gender and disarmament, see chapter V.)
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD I), DDA organized a topical panel discussion on 20 May, entitled "Multilateral Disarmament After the Iraq War". Panelists engaged in a lively discussion of the new world order that had emerged nearly two months to the day after the invasion of Iraq. The panelists, who examined this question from several different perspectives, noted the disturbing trend toward unilateralism and polarization. Speakers included Carlos Ortiz de Rozas (former ambassador, Argentina), Scilla Elworthy (Director, Oxford Research Group), Rose Gottemoeller (Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for Peace), Oluyemi Adeniji (Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone, (UNAMSIL)) and Moderator, M. Hidayat (Ambassador, Indonesia). In his opening remarks, then Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, noted with alarm that the Iraq conflict marked the first time that war was used as a means of disarmament in place of multilateralism and international treaty regimes. The panel discussion also served as an opportunity for panelists and attendees to bid farewell to USG Dhanapala.
DDA considers a visitor someone who opens its web site. Visits are counted as one per day, regardless of how many times that user opens the web page. Each visitor may view more than one web page, which accounts for the difference between visits and views on a daily basis.