Within the overall framework of revitalizing the work of the General Assembly, progress made during the First Committee on rationalizing its work underscored the continued interest of Member States in improving the UN disarmament machinery's functioning with a view to better meeting the traditional and emerging challenges in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Next year, Member States are expected to implement those agreed measures in their deliberations during the First Committee.
The continuous impasse in starting substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament and the failure of the Disarmament Commission to begin a new three-year work cycle again underlined the wide differences among Member States on where to give priority in this field. In 2005, further efforts will have to be made to surmount the Conference on Disarmament's impasse and to agree on the Disarmament Commission's two substantive agenda items.
The Department of Disarmament Affairs continued to provide substantive and technical support to various disarmament bodies and expert study groups, coordinate or participate in interdepartmental activities, cooperate with other international organizations dealing with issues related to its mandates, and carry out region-specific activities through its three regional centres.
It continued to collect data and issued reports containing information received from governments on a variety of disarmament and related issues and also carried out an active disarmament information and education programme. In order to cope with the new challenges and address such cross-cutting issues as the illicit trade in small arms, the Department enhanced its coordination and cooperation with other United Nations departments, programmes, funds and agencies. Efforts also intensified in emerging priority areas, such as the link between terrorism and WMD, disarmament and human security, and gender perspectives in disarmament. DDA further assisted States through training and capacity building. The Department will step up its effort to strengthen the operational capacity of its three regional centres so that they can continue to carry out activities in fulfillment of their respective mandates as set out by the General Assembly.