|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament
in Asia and Pacific relocates to Kathmandu, Nepal
NEW YORK, 15 August (Office for Disarmament Affairs) -- Established by General Assembly resolution A/42/39D in 1987, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific is mandated to provide, on request, substantive support for initiatives and other activities mutually agreed upon by Member States of the Asia-Pacific region for the implementation of measures for peace and disarmament. The Centre undertakes disarmament- and security-related projects and plays an important role to encourage regional and subregional dialogue and cooperation among States in the region.
The Regional Centre functions as the operational arm of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in Asia and the Pacific, together with the Regional Centres in Africa ( Lomé, Togo) and Latin America and the Caribbean ( Lima, Peru). Serving 43 States in Asia and the Pacific, the Centre is a useful instrument for fostering a climate of cooperation for peace and disarmament in this vast region.
Having operated from United Nations Headquarters for the past 20 years, the Regional Centre has now relocated to Kathmandu in accordance with the Host Country Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed by the United Nations and the Government of Nepal on 20 July 2007, a development unanimously welcomed by the General Assembly at its sixty-second session (document A/RES/62/52). With the opening of the office in Kathmandu scheduled for 18 August 2008, the Centre’s physical operation from the region will enable it to create closer partnerships and assist Member States, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as academic institutions as they deal with new security concerns and disarmament issues emerging in Asia and the Pacific.
The Regional Centre’s main programmatic areas are: promoting global disarmament and non-proliferation norms; enhancing regional dialogue on disarmament, non-proliferation and security matters; and outreach and advocacy activities.
To this end, the Centre’s assistance and capacity-building activities comprise the convening and provision of substantive support to high-level regional conferences; round-table meetings of experts; and technical workshops, as well as assisting in capacity-building for Government officials, parliamentarians and civil society. The Centre also responds to requests from a Member State, a group of States, and/or a regional arrangement, regarding the review and/or drafting of disarmament-related legislation.
The Regional Centre is uniquely placed to serve as a hub for information exchange and sharing of experience among the countries in the region. As part of the United Nations Regional Disarmament Branch which guides and coordinates the activities of three Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament, the Centre will play an important role in fostering information and knowledge sharing among regions.
Annual Disarmament Conferences and Other Meetings in Region
To promote international and regional dialogue on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, the Centre organizes two annual United Nations conferences on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, held respectively in Japan and the Republic of Korea. At the conferences, representatives of Governments, international and regional organizations, academic and research institutions, as well as civil society address key disarmament and non-proliferation challenges, from both global and regional perspectives.
This year, the twentieth annual United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Japan with the theme “Nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy: trends and challenges”, will take place in Saitama City from 27 to 29 August. The Seventh United Nations-Republic of Korea Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues under the theme “Nuclear Renaissance and the NPT: How to Strike a Balance among the Three Pillars of the NPT”, will take place in Jeju, Republic of Korea, from 24 to 26 November.
In cooperation with the European Union, the Centre is also organizing two subregional seminars to promote the universality of the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocols. One such seminar, for States from Central Asia, will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 24 to 25 September 2008, and the one for States from South, South-East Asia and the Pacific will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 16 to 17 December 2008.
The Centre has developed several projects for the implementation of disarmament measures in the Asia-Pacific region. One such project, entitled “Enhancing international and regional cooperation to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons in Asia and the Pacific”, envisages the convening of three subregional workshops aimed at providing countries and other relevant stakeholders in the region with an opportunity to discuss effective ways to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons, including promulgating or strengthening national legislation, assisting in building national capacities, and promoting regional and international cooperation.
Another project, entitled “Promoting increased participation in and improved reporting to, the UN transparency instruments in armaments in Asia and the Pacific”, aims to promote increased participation in, and improved reporting to, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations standardized instrument on reporting military expenditures. Under this project, three subregional workshops are planned to build capacity of Government officials to assist their national reporting to these United Nations instruments.
* *** *