Department of Disarmament Affairs
The Department of Disarmament Affairs continued to advise and assist the Secretary-General in the discharge of his responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and the mandates given to him by the General Assembly and Security Council in the sphere of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. To that end, the Department's activities fell within the following areas:
In the first instance, DDA provided substantive and/or technical assistance to various disarmament bodies: the First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament, the Disarmament Commission, the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, and the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. It served both United Nations conferences and meetings, as well as meetings of States Parties to treaties and treaty bodies, including the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference; the First Review Conference on the Mine-Ban Convention, Meetings of the States Parties to the CCW (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons); the Sixth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II to the CCW; the Open-ended Working Group on an international instrument to enable States to identify and trace illicit SALW; and the Second Annual Meeting of States Parties to the BWC (Biological Weapons Convention) and its expert meeting. The Department followed developments concerning the four existing treaties on nuclear-weapon-free zones and continued to provide substantive assistance in finalizing the text of a treaty for a Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone.
Secondly, DDA provided both substantive and technical assistance to several groups of governmental experts which included: missiles in all its aspects; relationship between disarmament and development; developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security; and explosive remnants of war and mines other than anti-personnel mines. (For details, see chapters I, III, V and VII of this volume.)
Thirdly, on the basis of the General Assembly mandates and decisions of treaty bodies, the Department issued reports containing official information received from governments on arms transfers in seven major categories of conventional arms (UN Register of Conventional Arms) and military expenditures (the UN standardized instrument for reporting military expenditures). On its web site, the Department continued to maintain a database on transparency under the Mine-Ban Convention and a database on signatories, ratification and accession by States to multilateral arms regulations and disarmament agreements. On the basis of the PoA, DDA also maintained a database containing national points of contacts and national reports on the implementation of the PoA, as well as on national legislations on SALW provided by States on a voluntary basis.
The fourth area pertained to coordination of, or participation in activities among a number of United Nations (UN) and UN-related bodies. DDA continued to serve as the focal point for the Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) mechanism and for the Group of Interested States on Practical Disarmament Measures. Within the framework of activity of these two bodies, DDA cooperated closely with other UN Departments, Programmes, Agencies as well as States in efforts to address, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, the multifaceted challenge posed by the proliferation of SALW and to build sustained peace in post-conflict situations. The Department also worked closely with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which serves as the focal point for mine action within the United Nations, on landmine-related matters, such as consolidating the existing legal norms, mine clearance and victim assistance. DDA continued its cooperation with the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on issues related to gender and disarmament In that regard, the Department continued to implement its gender plan of action. It also cooperated with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on disarmament and children, and their protection in conflict situations.
The fifth area of activities involved information dissemination, raising public awareness of disarmament and non-proliferation and maintaining close liaison with UNIDIR, other research and educational institutions outside the United Nations, and with NGOs. The Department implemented the United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services programme (see above). It organized symposia, seminars and round-table discussions in New York and in a number of Member States on a wide range of issues in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. To heighten public awareness of disarmament, and as part of its information activities, DDA disseminated to Member States and the international community objective information on disarmament and related security matters through its web site, publications and other activities.1
The Department also continued work on an on-line resource site for disarmament and non-proliferation (DNP) education which was based on a recommendation from the United Nations study on the same subject.2
DDA also assisted its regional centres in various SALW weapons collection and disposal programmes.3
It also provided training during the year for interns in various aspects of its work, such as following the General Assembly and First Committee debates and reporting thereon, assisting in preparations of other meetings and research tasks, drafting portions of publications and updating various databases.
For further details of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme
, see chapter VII of this volume.
2United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education, Report of the Secretary-General
, (A/57/124), p.15, para. 41(i). The on-line resource site is available from http:/disarmament.un.org/education.
See chapter IV for details of the work of the regional centres in 2004.