Continuing CHAPTER V Related issues and approaches

Relationship between disarmament and development

"Disarmament and development are two of the international community's most important tools for building a world free from want and fear."1
In 2004, the question of the relationship between disarmament and development remained a controversial one. While the vast majority of Member States, mostly non-aligned, continued to call for implementation of the action programme of the 1987 International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, a number of States, especially Member States of the European Union and the United States, considered that there was no automatic link between the two concepts.

Group of Governmental Experts on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 57/65, the Secretary-General established a Group of Governmental Experts to review the relationship between disarmament and development in the current international context, as well as the future role of the Organization in that connection, and to report on the outcome to the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly. The review had been recommended in the annual report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on the relationship between disarmament and development.2 Under the Chairmanship of José Nicolás Rivas (Colombia), the Group of experts from 14 Member States held three sessions (Geneva, 17-21 November 2003, New York, 8-12 March and 24-28 May 2004). (For more information on the study, see chapter VII of this volume). In order to facilitate the Group's work, DDA organized a symposium on disarmament and development in New York on 9 March 2004.3
This was the second review of the subject by governmental experts.4 Their report,5 adopted by consensus, contains a series of important observations, ideas and recommendations that bring the understanding of this crucial issue into the current international context. It reiterates the importance of exercising restraint in military expenditure, so that human and financial resources can be used for the ongoing effort to eradicate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The report also contains a number of new elements, the most prominent of which are the adverse and multifaceted impact of illicit SALW and international terrorism on development.
Among other things, the Group recognized the importance of multilateral approaches to questions of disarmament and development as well as the central role of the United Nations in that area. In this regard, it recommended that the Secretary-General consider further strengthening the United Nations inter-agency high-level Steering Group on Disarmament and Development in order to encourage relevant departments and agencies, including at the operational level, to share best practices, seek shared understanding and increase cooperation, coordination and joint programming. The Group also recommended that United Nations organizations and other international organizations should make greater efforts to integrate disarmament, humanitarian and development activities. In this connection, the United Nations Development Assistance Framework should, for example, incorporate disarmament and security measures where appropriate. It further recommended that when reviewing its progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in 2005, the international community should consider making reference to the contribution that disarmament could make in meeting them, as well as the importance of the disarmament-development relationship itself.6 For more details of these recommendations, see Annex II of this chapter.

General Assembly, 2004

59/78. Relationship between disarmament and development
The draft resolution was introduced by Malaysia, on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, on 22 October. It was adopted by the First Committee on 27 October (165-1-2) and by the General Assembly on 3 December (180-2-2). For the text of the resolution and the voting see pages 44 and 20.
The resolution welcomed the Group of Governmental Experts' report on the relationship between disarmament and development, and its reappraisal of the issue in the current international context. It requested the Secretary-General to continue to take action, through appropriate organs and within available resources, on the implementation of the action programme adopted at the 1987 International Conference. It urged the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and to refer to disarmament's role in meeting them when it reviewed its progress towards this purpose in 2005, and to make greater efforts to integrate disarmament, humanitarian and development activities. It also encouraged the relevant regional and subregional organizations and institutions, non-governmental organizations and research institutes to incorporate issues relating to the relationship between disarmament and development into their agenda and, in this regard, to take into account the report of the Group of Governmental Experts.
First Committee
Two States spoke after the vote. The United States, which voted against the draft resolution, reiterated its established position that the two processes were distinct and could not be linked. It added that it had not participated in the 1987 International Conference, and that it would not be bound by the terms of the declaration contained in the Final Document of that Conference.
The United Kingdom, which supported the resolution, acknowledged some of the recommendations in the Group of Governmental Experts' report, especially in the field of conventional weapons. However, it did not accept the report's suggestion that little apparent progress had been made on nuclear disarmament, or the suggestion that the integrity and effectiveness of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime were in doubt. It also remarked that sufficient credit had not been given to unilateral, bilateral and multilateral actions in disarmament and non-proliferation matters.

1A/59/119, para.4.
2See A/57/167.
3Sir Richard Jolly, Lawrence R. Klein and Sara Meek made presentations at the symposium. For the complete text of their presentations, see Symposium on the Relationship between disarmament and development, DDA Occasional Paper No. 9, available at
4The first review was carried out from 1978-1981.
5See footnote 38.