UN Disarmament Machinery
- United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
The work of UNODA covers the following:
Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation
Weapons of mass destruction
General Assembly disarmament work
First Committee of the General Assembly
UN Disarmament Commission
Conference on Disarmament
UN register of conventional arms
Disarmament treaty database
- Conference on Disarmament — the international community’s sole multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament agreements. The Conference successfully negotiated both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
- UN Disarmament Commission — guide to reports to the General Assembly, press releases working papers, agenda, officials.
- First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the General Assembly — Guide to officials, documents and press releases relating to the current session.
- United Nations Office at Geneva, Disarmament Activities.
- United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
- UNIDIR’s Disarmament Forum (quarterly) — each issue focuses on a specific topic related to disarmament and security. Essential, in-depth, up-to-date information and clear analysis — written by experts and targeted to researchers, diplomats, teachers, students and all those interested in security, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. Available online.
- Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters — advises the Secretary-General on matters relating to arms limitation and disarmament, and serves as the Board of Trustees of UNIDIR. It also advises on implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
UN Links Relating to Disarmament — Other
- United Nations Peacekeeping — see individual operations for their disarmament dimensions.
- United Nations Register of Conventional Arms — This voluntary reporting arrangement enables participating governments to provide information on the export and import of seven categories of major conventional weapons systems: warships, includes; large-calibre artillery; and missiles and missile-launchers, including short-range man-portable air-defence systems.
- The United Nations system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures, introduced in 1980. This voluntary reporting instrument covers national expenditures on military personnel, operations and maintenance, procurement and construction, and research and development. So far, 124 states have reported to this instrument at least once. The Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures will be reviewed in 2010 for the first time.
- Disarmament and development
- An international conference on the relationship between disarmament and
development was held in 1987.
- In its resolution 63/52 of 2 December 2008, the General Assembly urged the
international community to devote part of the resources made available through
disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development,
with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing
- An international conference on the relationship between disarmament and
- The United Nations Disarmament Information Programme — carried out through publications, special events, meetings, seminars, panel discussions, exhibits and a comprehensive website on disarmament issues.
- The United Nations Disarmament Fellowship Programme, launched by the General Assembly in 1978, has trained over 600 public officials from about 150 countries — many of whom are now in positions of responsibility in the field of disarmament within their own governments.
- The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the Vienna-based United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs serves as the secretariat for the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subcommittees.
Multilateral disarmament and arms regulation agreements
- A chronology of important international disarmament and arms regulation measures concluded through negotiations in multilateral and regional forums includes:
- 1959 Antarctic Treaty: demilitarizes the continent and bans the testing of any kind of weapon on the continent.
- 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water (Partial Test-Ban Treaty): restricts nuclear testing to underground sites only.
- 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco): prohibits testing, use, manufacture, storage, or acquisition of nuclear weapons by the countries of the region.
- 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty): mandates that outer space be used for peaceful purposes only and that nuclear weapons not be placed or tested in outer space.
- 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): the non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and, in exchange, are promised access to and assistance in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Nuclear-weapon states pledge to carry out negotiations relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and not to assist in any way in the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states.
- 1971 Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons on the Sea-bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof (Sea-bed Treaty): bans the emplacement of nuclear weapons, or any weapon of mass destruction, on the sea-bed or ocean floor.
- 1972 Convention on Bacteriological (Biological) Weapons (BWC): bans the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin agents, and provides for the destruction of such weapons and their means of delivery.
- 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Having Indiscriminate Effects (CCWC): prohibits certain conventional weapons deemed excessively injurious or having indiscriminate effects. Protocol I bans weapons which explode fragments that are undetectable by X-ray within the human body. Amended Protocol II (1995) limits the use of certain types of mines, booby-traps and other devices. Protocol III bans incendiary weapons. Protocol IV bans the use of blinding laser weapons.
- 1985 South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga): bans the stationing, acquisition or testing of nuclear explosive devices and the dumping of nuclear waste within the zone.
- 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty): limits the numbers of various conventional armaments in a zone stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Urals.
- 1992 Open Skies Treaty: enables states parties to overfly and observe the territory of one another, based on principles of cooperation and openness. Has been used for the verification of several arms control agreements and for other monitoring mechanisms.
- 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.
- 1995 Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Bangkok): bans the development or stationing of nuclear weapons on the territories of the states party to the treaty.
- 1996 African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba): bans the development or stationing of nuclear weapons on the African continent.
- 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): places a worldwide ban on nuclear test explosions of any kind and in any environment.
- 1997 Mine-Ban Convention: prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines and provides for their destruction. (See also its secretariat.)
- 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Nuclear Terrorism Convention): outlines specific acts of nuclear terrorism, aims to protect a broad range of possible targets, bring perpetrators to justice and promote cooperation among countries.
- 2006 Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Semipalatinsk): comprising the five central Asian states — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
- Status of ratification of agreements
The 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) limited the number of anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Soviet Union to one each. A 1997 “demarcation” agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation distinguished between “strategic”, or long-range ABMs, which were prohibited, and “non-strategic”, or shorter-range ABMs, which were not. The Treaty ceased to be in effect as of 13 June 2002, when the United States withdrew from it.
The 1987 United States-Soviet Union Intermediate- and Shorter-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons, which includes all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km. By the end of 1996, all the weapons slated for destruction under the provisions of the Treaty had been eliminated. The 1991 United States-Soviet Union Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty (START I) placed a ceiling of 6,000 warheads on 1,600 deployed long-range nuclear missiles for each side by 2001, thereby reducing the 1991 stockpile levels by about 30 per cent.
The 1992 Lisbon Protocol to START I committed the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, as successor states to the Soviet Union, to abide by the START I Treaty; Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were to adhere to the NPT as non nuclear-weapon states. By 1996, these three states had removed all nuclear weapons from their territories.
The 1993 Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty II (START II) committed both parties to reduce the number of warheads on long-range nuclear missiles to 3,500 on each side by 2003, and eliminated ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) equipped with MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles). A 1997 agreement extended the deadline for destruction of the launching systems — missile silos, bombers and submarines — to the end of 2007.
On 24 May 2002, the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), also known as the Moscow Treaty, agreeing to limit the level of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200.
On 5 February 2011, the New START Treaty between the US and the Russian Federation on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, entered into force. New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. New START sets limits on the number of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery systems.