On Recommendation of First Committee, General Assembly Adopts More than 50 Drafts, Including New One on ‘Ethical Imperatives’ for Nuclear Disarmament

GA/11735
7 December 2015
Seventieth Session, 67th Meeting (AM)

On Recommendation of First Committee, General Assembly Adopts More than 50 Drafts, Including New One on ‘Ethical Imperatives’ for Nuclear Disarmament

The General Assembly today, closely following the recommendation of its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), where delegates increased their participation in debates by 40 per cent from last year, adopted 57 draft resolutions and decisions — 23 on nuclear weapons — requiring 41 recorded votes in all, including on separate provisions.

Loyal to the Committee’s voting pattern, the General Assembly adopted an array of texts on such topics as the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Arms Trade Treaty, and no first placement of weapons in outer space, among others.

A new resolution was tabled during the session, containing a universal declaration on the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world (L.52/Rev.1).  Adopted by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 23 against, with 28 abstentions, the text reiterated the General Assembly’s deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and called on all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.  It called on all nuclear-weapon-possessing States to eliminate all types of those weapons and in the meantime diminish their role in security policies.

By the terms of another new draft, adopted by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 36 against, with 16 abstentions, the Assembly acknowledged the ethical imperatives for nuclear disarmament and the urgency of achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapon-free world, which was a “global public good of the highest order”, serving both national and collective security interests (L.40).

Concerning the Middle East, the Assembly, in a resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in that region, called for immediate steps towards the full implementation of the resolution on the region adopted by the 1995 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  It was  adopted today by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Panama, United States), with 20 abstentions (L.2).  

Prior to passage on that text as a whole, the Assembly considered a separate provision, preambular paragraph 5, concerning the immediate need for all nuclear facilities in the Middle East to be placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.  The Assembly retained that paragraph by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Honduras, Pakistan, Panama).

A separate vote was also taken on preambular paragraph 6, which recalled the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 Review Conference of the Non-Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Among them was the call for universal adherence to the NPT as an urgent priority. That provision was retained by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Honduras, Pakistan, Panama).

According to a related text, adopted without a vote (L.1), the Assembly urged all parties directly concerned to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and, as a means of promoting that objective, invited countries concerned to adhere to the NPT. 

Urging all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by a recorded vote of 181 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).  By so doing, the Assembly urged States to maintain their moratoriums and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty.  It called on all States, in particular those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force, to sign and ratify as soon as possible.

Prior to action on the text as a whole, the Assembly retained preambular paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (India, Israel, Pakistan, Syria).  It recalled the adoption by consensus of the outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, in which the vital importance of the Treaty’s entry into force was reaffirmed as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  That provision also included specific actions to be taken in support of operationalizing the Treaty.

The following texts also took recorded votes in the nuclear weapons cluster:  2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT and its Preparatory Committee (L.4/Rev.1); taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations [L.13/Rev.1]; follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (L.15); reducing nuclear danger (L.20); a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons (L.21); follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences (L.23); a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices (L.25); united action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (L.26), deferring consideration of an amendment to the text; conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (L.32); nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (L.35); humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons (L.37); humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons (L.38); towards a nuclear-weapon-free world and accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (L.41/Rev.1); nuclear disarmament (L.44); and follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (L.51).

 

Acting without a vote, drafts in that cluster were adopted on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (L.55); the prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes (L.56); and the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (L.58).

Concerning other weapons of mass destruction, the Assembly urged all States parties to meet in full and on time their obligations and to support the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its implementation activities, when it adopted a resolution on the Chemical Weapons Convention (L.27/Rev.1) by a recorded vote of 174 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (China, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria).

Before adopting the text as a whole, the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria), with 17 abstentions), retained preambular paragraph 5, which reaffirmed the broad support for the decision of the Director-General of the OPCW to send a mission to establish the facts surrounding the allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in Syria

By a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria), with 20 abstentions, the Assembly also retained operative paragraph 10, which underscored the substantial unresolved issues, including the gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies identified by the OPCW Technical Secretariat in its report, stressing the importance of verifying that the Syrian declaration and related submissions were accurate and complete.

Without a vote in that cluster, the Assembly adopted texts on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (L.12) and measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (L.19).

A recorded vote was taken as well on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (L.3) and no first placement of weapons in that domain (L.47). Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a related text on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (L.48).

For the cluster on conventional weapons, the Assembly adopted, by recorded votes, texts on implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (L.49/Rev.1), the Mine-Ban Treaty (L.50) and the Arms Trade Treaty (L.54).

Acting without a vote in that group, drafts were passed on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (L.6), problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (L.16), the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (L.24), countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (L.36) and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (L.39).

On other disarmament measures and international security, the Assembly took recorded votes on a draft promoting multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (L.9).  Without a vote in that cluster, it adopted drafts on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (L.7); the relationship between disarmament and development (L.10); objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures (L.17); and the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (L.22). 

Action on a draft on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (L.45) was deferred pending consideration by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

The Assembly, also acting without a vote, adopted texts on regional disarmament and security, strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (L.5); confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (L.31); and regional disarmament (L.33).  It adopted, by recorded votes, texts on the implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (L.18), and conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (L.34).

Turning to the disarmament machinery, the Assembly adopted, without votes, drafts on the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (L.8); the reports of the Conference on Disarmament (L.14) and of the Disarmament Commission (L.29); the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) (L.30); the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (L.42); regional confidence-building measures and activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (L.43/Rev.2); the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (L.53); and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (L.57).

Finally, the Assembly adopted a draft decision on its proposed programme of work for 2016 without a vote and took note of the report of the First Committee, specifically, items on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and General Assembly.  It agreed to consider an item on programme planning.

In other matters, the General Assembly decided to postpone consideration of a number of items, including on global health and foreign policy to its plenary meeting, to be held on 14 December; the dates of its recess to 24 December; and extend the work of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) to 14 December and of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to 23 December.

Speaking during the course of the meeting were representatives of Iran, Italy, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Netherlands.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8 December, to take up issues of oceans and the law of the sea.

Action on First Committee Drafts

Committee Rapporteur TASHA YOUNG (Belize) introduced the reports of the First Committee containing 57 draft texts, saying Member States had worked hard on negotiations during the session, increasing their participation in the thematic debates by 40 per cent over last year. 

Prior to action, South Africa’s representative said that as the Rapporteur had been “totally absent” during the session, he was astounded that she had provided the Assembly with an interpretation of proceedings.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft on objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures (document A/70/451, L.17), by which it set out guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters to all Member States for implementation.

By a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 45 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a draft on implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/70/452, L.18).  In so doing, it reiterated its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean was important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue in the region.  It requested the Ad Hoc Committee Chair to continue his informal consultations with Committee members and to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (document A/70/453, L.55), by which, considering that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, especially in the Middle East, would enhance the security of Africa and the viability of its zone, called on African States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify that Treaty as soon as possible.  It also called on the African States parties to the NPT that had not yet done so to conclude comprehensive IAEA safeguards agreements pursuant to the Treaty’s relevant requirements.

The Assembly then took note of the report on the review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security (document A/70/454).

The Assembly then deferred action on a draft on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/70/455, L.45), by which it would have called on Member States to be guided in their use of those technologies by the 2015 report of the Group of Governmental Experts.  It would also have called on them to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible strategies to address them.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/70/456, L.1), by which it urged all parties directly concerned to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and, as a means of promoting that objective, would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the NPT.

The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 127 in favour to none against, with 55 abstentions, a draft resolution on concluding effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (document A/70/457, L.32).  By so doing, it appealed to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character.  It recommended that the Conference on Disarmament actively continue intensive negotiations with a view to reaching early agreement and concluding effective international agreements to assure the non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The Assembly then took up a report on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/70/458), which contained two drafts.  It first adopted, by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States), draft I on prevention of an arms race in outer space (L.3), by which it called on all States, in particular those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and of the prevention of an arms race there.

The Assembly next adopted draft II on no first placement of weapons in outer space (L.47), urging an early commencement on a draft treaty to prevent the placement of weapons in outer space, and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects, as submitted by China and the Russian Federation to the Conference on Disarmament.  That text was adopted by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 4 against (Georgia, Israel, Ukraine, United States), with 46 abstentions.

It next adopted, without a vote, a draft decision on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/70/459, L.22).

The Assembly then took up a report on general and complete disarmament (document A/70/460) which contained 33 draft texts.

The representative of Iran said his delegation would vote in favour of “L.37”, on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and “L.38”, on the humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.  In many previously adopted texts, the Assembly had declared that the use of nuclear weapons violated the United Nations Charter, humanitarian law and was a crime against humanity.  Those and other issues were missing in the above- mentioned texts and should be included in subsequent versions.  Commenting on a number of concerns, he said the phrase “lowering of the technical threshold”, referred to in preambular paragraph 4 of “L.38” should not be interpreted as the right to develop and use nuclear technology.  Likewise, with regard to the NPT Review Conferences, he hoped that any inconsistencies would be corrected, with a view to supporting nuclear disarmament.

The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (India, Israel, Pakistan), draft I (L.4/Rev.1) on the 2020 NPT Review Conference and its Preparatory Committee.  By its terms, the Assembly, recalling that the 2015 NPT Review Conference had been unable to reach agreement, requested that the Secretary-General render the necessary assistance for the 2020 Review Conference.

The Assembly then turned to draft II on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (L.6), adopting it without a vote.  In so doing, it called on the international community to provide technical and financial support to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to help combat that illicit trade.

Acting without a vote, it adopted draft III on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (L.7), by which it reaffirmed that international disarmament forums should take into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating agreements on disarmament and arms limitation.

By a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 50 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft IV on promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (L.9), thereby urging all interested States to take part in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft V on the relationship between disarmament and development (L.10), by which it stressed the central role of the United Nations in the relationship between disarmament and development, and urged the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development.

Next, the Assembly took action on draft VI on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations (L.13/Rev.1).  Adopting it by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 12 against, with 34 abstentions, it expressed deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirmed the urgency of securing substantive progress in multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.  It decided to convene an open-ended working group to address concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that would need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.

By a recorded vote of 140 in favour to 26 against, with 17 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft VII on follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (L.15).  Convinced that nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use, it recalled its decision to convene, no later than 2018, a United Nations high-level international conference on nuclear disarmament.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft VIII on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (L.16), by which it appealed to all interested States to determine the size and nature of their surplus stockpiles of conventional ammunition and whether those represented a security risk, as well as their means of destruction and possible need for assistance.

Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft IX on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (L.19), by which it urged all Member States to take and strengthen national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, the materials and technologies related to their manufacture, and their means of delivery.

It next adopted draft X on reducing nuclear danger (L.20), thereby calling for a review of nuclear doctrines as well as the taking of immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting.  The recorded vote was 127 in favour to 48 against, with 10 abstentions (Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, China, Georgia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Uzbekistan).

The Assembly then adopted draft XI resolution on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (L.23).  By the text, the Assembly urged NPT States parties to follow up implementation of the nuclear disarmament obligations agreed at the Treaty’s 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences.

Prior to action on that text as a whole, the Assembly voted to retain preambular paragraph 6, by which it recalled that, on 11 May 1995, the 1995 NPT Review Conference had adopted three decisions on strengthening the review process for the Treaty, principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and extension of the Treaty.  It retained that provision by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with 49 abstentions.

The draft as a whole was adopted by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 48 against, with 12 abstentions.

The Assembly next adopted draft XII on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (L.25), by which it urged the Conference on Disarmament to agree on and implement a balanced and comprehensive programme of work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

That resolution was passed by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (Pakistan), with 5 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Syria).

Next, the Assembly adopted draft XIII on united action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (L.26), by which it renewed the determination of all States to take united action towards the total elimination of those weapons, with a view to achieving a safer, peaceful and secure world.

Prior to action on that draft as a whole, the Assembly voted to retain operative paragraph 5, by which it called on all States not party to the NPT to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States without any conditions.  The vote was 173 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe).

It then decided to retain operative paragraph 15, by which it urged all States concerned to immediately commence negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.  The vote was 171 in favour to 2 against (China, Pakistan), with 7 abstentions (Israel, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe).

According to operative paragraph 19, retained by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 9 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Israel, Mauritius, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe), the Assembly stressed the fundamental role of the IAEA safeguards and the importance of universalizing them.

The resolution as a whole was adopted by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Russian Federation), with 16 abstentions.

It next took up draft XIV on the Chemical Weapons Convention (L.27/Rev.1), by which it would urge all States parties to meet in full and on time their obligations and to support the Organisation for the OPCW in its implementation activities.

Prior to action on the resolution as a whole, the Assembly voted to retain preambular paragraph 5 by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria), with 17 abstentions, thus reaffirming the broad support for the decision of the Director-General of the OPCW to send a mission to establish the facts surrounding the allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in Syria.  It re-emphasized its unequivocal support for the decision of the Director-General to continue the mission, while stressing that the safety and security of mission personnel remained the top priority.

The Assembly retained operative paragraph 10 by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria), with 20 abstentions, thereby underscoring the substantial unresolved issues, including the gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies identified by the OPCW Technical Secretariat in its report, stressing the importance of verifying that the Syrian declaration and related submissions were accurate and complete.  It noted that the Executive Council had requested the Technical Secretariat and Syria to expedite their efforts to resolve those gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies and further requested the Director-General to provide a report to the Council at its eighty-first session, detailing all unresolved issues, specifying those on which no further progress had been possible.

The text as a whole was then adopted by a recorded vote of 174 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (China, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria).

Acting without a vote, it adopted draft XV on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (L.31), thereby urging States to comply with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they were party.  It encouraged promotion of bilateral and regional confidence-building measures to avoid conflict and prevent the unintended and accidental outbreak of hostilities.

Also adopted without a vote was draft XVI on regional disarmament (L.33), by which the Assembly called on States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels.  It also encouraged efforts aimed at promoting confidence-building measures to ease regional tensions and to further disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

The Assembly next took up draft XVII on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (L.34), by which it would urgently consider issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels, and request the Conference on Disarmament to formulate principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and to report on this subject.

Prior to action on that draft as a whole, the Assembly retained operative paragraph 2, by which it would request the Conference on Disarmament for formulate such principles, by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 1 against (India), with 35 abstentions.

The draft as a whole was then adopted by a recorded vote of 182 in favour to 1 against (India), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation).

Next, by a recorded vote of 178 in favour to 4 against (France, United Kingdom, United States, Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (Israel), the Assembly adopted draft XVIII on nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (L.35), thus reaffirming the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and in extending the areas of the world that are nuclear-weapon-free.  It called on all States concerned to continue to work together in order to facilitate adherence to the protocols to nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, and encouraged efforts to reinforce coordination among nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft XIX on countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices, introduced by Afghanistan, Australia and France (L.36).  In so doing, it urged States to develop and implement all necessary national measures to exercise vigilance over the production, sale, supply, purchase, transfer and storage of precursor components and materials that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.  It also encouraged States to develop and adopt their own policies to counter those devices, including civilian-military cooperation, strengthening their counter-measure capabilities to combat illegal armed groups, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients’ use of such devices.  Finally, it encouraged States to voluntarily share information on the illicit trade and transfers of commercial-grade explosives and commercially available detonators to illegal armed groups, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients.

By a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 18 against, with 22 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft XX on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons (L.37), by which it emphasized that the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons would never be used again was their total elimination.  It called on all States, in their shared responsibility, to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and their vertical and horizontal proliferation.

It next took up draft XXI on the humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons (L.38).  By a recorded vote of 139 in favour to 29 against, with 17 abstentions, it urged all States parties to the NPT to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of their article VI obligations.  It called on all States to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of such weapons and to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve that goal, and requested all States possessing nuclear weapons, pending the total elimination of their arsenals, to take concrete interim measures to reduce the risk of detonations.  Those included such actions as reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons, moving those weapons away from deployment and into storage, and diminishing the role of those weapons in military doctrines.

It adopted, without a vote, draft XXII on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (L.39), by which it encouraged all relevant initiatives to successfully implement the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, and would call on all Member States to contribute towards its continued implementation at all levels.  It called on all States to implement the International Tracing Instrument by including the necessary information in their national reports.

The Assembly then adopted draft XXIII on ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world (L.40), by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 36 against, with 16 abstentions.  In so doing, it acknowledged the ethical imperatives for nuclear disarmament and the urgency of achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapon-free world, which was a “global public good of the highest order”, serving both national and collective security interests.  It stressed that all States shared an ethical responsibility to act with urgency and determination, with the support of all relevant stakeholders, to take the effective measures, including legally binding measures, necessary to eliminate and prohibit all nuclear weapons, given their catastrophic humanitarian consequences and associated risks.

It next considered draft XXIV — towards a nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (L.41/Rev.1), by which it would acknowledge the evidence presented at the Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, and call on Member States, in their relevant decisions and actions, to give due prominence to the humanitarian imperatives which underpin nuclear disarmament and to the urgency of achieving that goal.  It would also urge all States possessing nuclear weapons to decrease their operational readiness in a verifiable and transparent manner.

Prior to taking action on the text as a whole, the Assembly retained operative paragraph 13, by a recorded vote of 172 in favour to 6 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, United Kingdom, United States, Pakistan), with 3 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Turkey).  That provision stressed the fundamental role of the NPT in achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and called on all States parties to spare no effort to achieve its universality.  It urged India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions, and to place all nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

The text as a whole was then adopted by a recorded vote of 142 in favour to 7 against (France, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States), with 36 abstentions.

The Assembly then took up draft XXV on nuclear disarmament (L.44), by which it would urge all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures to achieve the total elimination of those weapons as soon as possible and to immediately stop the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems.  Pending the achievement of the total elimination, the Assembly would call on States to agree on an internationally and legally binding instrument as a joint undertaking to not to be the first to use those weapons.

Prior to action on that draft as a whole, the Assembly voted to retain operative paragraph 16 by 177 in favour to 2 against (United Kingdom, Pakistan), with 3 abstentions (France, Israel, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), which called for the immediate commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, in the context of an agreed, comprehensive and balanced programme of work, and on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices on the basis of the Special Coordinator’s report and mandate.

The resolution as a whole was adopted by a recorded vote of 127 in favour to 43 against, with 15 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft XXVI on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (L.48), by which it encouraged Member States to continue to review and implement the proposed transparency and confidence-building measures contained in the report of the Group of Governmental Experts.

Next, action was taken on draft XXVII on implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions (L.49/Rev.1).  By a recorded vote of 139 in favour to 2 against (Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), with 40 abstentions, the Assembly urged all States outside the Convention to join as soon as possible, and expressed strong concern regarding recent allegations and evidence of the use of cluster munitions in different parts of the world.

By a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft XXVIII on implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (L.50), noting with regret that anti-personnel mines continued to be used in some conflicts around the world, causing human suffering and impeding post-conflict development.

Then, by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 24 against, with 25 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft XXIX on follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (L.51), thereby underlining the unanimous conclusion of the court to conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.  It called on all States to immediately commence multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention.

Draft XXX on a universal declaration on the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world (L.52/Rev.1) was then adopted by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 23 against, with 28 abstentions.  A 19-paragraph declaration in its annex reiterates Member States’ deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and in that context, calls on all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.

The declaration reaffirms that nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing processes.  It stresses the need for effective measures of nuclear disarmament, which had the highest priority, and calls on all nuclear-weapon-possessing States to eliminate all types of their nuclear weapons and in the meantime diminish their role in security policies, as well as avoid activities that hamper the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The text also reaffirms that disarmament measures concerning nuclear weapons should satisfy multilaterally agreed criteria of strict verification, irreversibility, transparency and be undertaken through legally binding commitments to achieve the total elimination of those weapons.

Turning to draft XXXI on the Arms Trade Treaty (L.54), the Assembly first decided to retain operative paragraph 3 of the text, by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to none against, with 25 abstentions.

It then adopted, by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to none against, with 26 abstentions, the draft as a whole.  By that text, the Assembly called on all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty, and stress the full and effective implementation of and compliance with all its provisions.  Underlining the need to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion to the illicit market, including for terrorist acts, the Assembly encouraged States parties to strengthen their cooperation with civil society, industry and relevant international organizations to ensuring the Treaty’s effective implementation.

Acting without a vote, it then adopted draft XXXII on the prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes (L.56), thereby calling on all States to take appropriate measures to prevent any dumping of nuclear or radioactive wastes, and appealing to all that had not yet done so to take the necessary steps to become party to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management as soon as possible.

It next adopted, also without a vote, draft XXXIII on the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (L.58), thereby reaffirming the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  With particular reference to the responsibilities of the nuclear-weapon States, it called on all States to seek a safer world for all and to achieve peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons in a way that promotes international stability.  It welcomed the commitment and efforts of the Commission for the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone to strengthen the Treaty’s implementation through a plan of action for the period 2013-2017.

The representative of Iran expressed his delegation’s concern, with regard to “L.36”, about the use of improvised explosive devices by armed groups.  Preventing and combatting the use of those weapons by terrorists and armed groups should be the sole focus of that text.

A speaker from the Secretariat then reminded Member States that consideration of the amendment contained in “L.26”, on united actions towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and the draft decision recommended in paragraph 95 of the Committee’s report would occur after the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) considered the relevant programme budget implications of the amendment. 

The Assembly then turned to a report on Review and implementation of the Concluding Document of the Twelfth Special Session of the General Assembly (document A/70/461) containing six draft texts.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft I (L.8), which reaffirmed that, in order to achieve positive results, it would be useful for the three regional centres to carry out dissemination and educational programmes to promote regional peace and security, aimed at changing basic attitudes about peace, security and disarmament.  The Assembly appealed to Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to make voluntary contributions to the Regional Centres in order to strengthen their activities. 

Next, the Assembly adopted draft II on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons (L.21).  Convinced that the use of nuclear weapons posed the most serious threat to the survival of mankind, it reiterated its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.  The recorded vote was 130 in favour to 48 against, with 8 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan).

Also adopted without a vote was draft III on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (L.42), by which the Assembly recognized the Centre’s important role in promoting and developing regional and subregional initiatives on weapons of mass destruction, in particular, nuclear and conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons.  It encouraged the Centre to further develop activities in the areas of peace, disarmament and development and to provide support in the national implementation of such relevant instruments as the Arms Trade Treaty, among others.

According to draft IV on the activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (L.43/Rev.2), adopted without a vote, the Assembly, considering the urgent need to prevent the possible movement of illicit weapons, mercenaries and combatants involved in conflicts in the Sahel and neighbouring countries, encouraged States to assist those States members of the Advisory Committee that had ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, and encourage those that had not to do so.

Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft V on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (L.53), by which it requested the Secretary-General to make arrangements for the early resumption of the Centre’s operations in Kathmandu.

It then adopted, also without a vote, draft VI on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (L.57), urging all States as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to enable the Centre to carry out its programmes and meet the needs of African States.

The Assembly then took up a report on the review of the implementation of the recommendations and decisions adopted by the general Assembly at its tenth special session (document A/70/462) containing three draft texts.

Acting without a vote on draft I, the Assembly called on the Conference on Disarmament to intensify consultations and explore possibilities for overcoming its deadlock of almost two decades, by adopting and implementing a balanced and comprehensive programme of work at the earliest possible date during its 2016 session (L.14).

Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft II on the Disarmament Commission’s report (L.29), by which it requested that body to continue its work in accordance with its mandate, and to that end, make every effort to achieve specific recommendations on its agenda items.  It also requested it to meet for no more than three weeks during 2016 and to submit a substantive report to the Assembly at its seventy-first session.

The Assembly reiterated its conviction, in draft III, which it adopted without a vote (L.30), that the UNIDIR should continue to conduct independent research on problems relating to disarmament and security and to undertake specialized research requiring a high degree of expertise.

Next, the Assembly took up a report on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/70/463), containing an eponymous draft resolution (L.2).

Prior to taking action on that text as a whole, it retained preambular paragraph 5, mindful of the immediate need to place all nuclear facilities in the Middle East under IAEA safeguards, by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Honduras, Pakistan, Panama).

It retained preambular paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Honduras, Pakistan, Panama).  By that provision, it recalled the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference, which included a call for the universal adherence to the Treaty as an urgent priority.

The resolution as a whole was then adopted by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Panama, United States), with 20 abstentions.  In so doing, the Assembly called for immediate steps towards the full implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference.  It also reaffirmed the importance of Israel’s accession to the NPT, as well as the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.

Italy’s representative said his delegation had voted in favour of that text, as an expression of its support for the NPT process and review conferences.  He regretted to say that no conference had yet been convened to discuss the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  It was important to recognize the need for Israel’s commitment to participate in such a process.

Taking up a report on the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (document A/70/464), the Assembly adopted, also without a vote, a draft resolution contained therein (L.24), thereby  calling for the Convention’s universality, while stressing the importance of transparent and inclusive preparation for the Fifth Review Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, to be held in 2016.

The Assembly then took up a report on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/70/465).  It then adopted, also without a vote, the eponymous draft (L.5), which called on States in that region to adhere to all multilaterally negotiated legal instruments on disarmament and non-proliferation.

Next, the Assembly took up a report on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/70/466) containing a draft resolution (L.46), by which the world body would urge all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.  While stressing that those measures did not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the Treaty’s entry into force, it would urge States to maintain their moratoriums and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty.  It would call on all States that had not yet signed the Treaty, in particular those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force, to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.

It first retained preambular paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (India, Israel, Pakistan, Syria), thereby recalling the adoption by consensus of the outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, in which the vital importance of the entry into force of the Treaty was reaffirmed as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime; it also included specific actions to be taken in support of operationalizing the Treaty.

The resolution as a whole was then adopted by a recorded vote of 181 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).

The Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (L.12) contained in a report of the same name (document A/70/467).  That text encouraged States parties to provide appropriate information on their implementation of article X of the Convention and to offer assistance to ensure compliance with the Convention.

The Assembly then took note of a report on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations (document A/70/468).

Turning to a report on the revitalization of the work on the General Assembly (document A/70/516), it adopted, without a vote, a draft decision contained therein on the First Committee’s provisional programme for 2016.

Finally, the Assembly took note of a report on programme planning (document A/70/517).

Zimbabwe’s representative said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.27/Rev.1” because the ultimate objective of the text was in the interest of international security.  His delegation, however, had abstained from voting on paragraphs within the text and hoped those sections would be revised in 2016.

The speaker from the Netherlands thanked the Rapporteur for her work.

Committee Rapporteur Ms. YOUNG (Belize) said the inaccurate and unfortunate comments by South Africa’s delegate did not reflect the fact that she was present during most of the Committee’s proceedings.

South Africa’s representative said, “I did not see her there at all”.  Raising a number of issues, he said his delegation had erroneously voted in favour of a draft text on nuclear disarmament.  He also said he was astounded that nuclear-weapon States had voted against a range of resolutions that dealt with non-proliferation.  In closing, he said his delegation refused to take instructions from the Secretariat.

For information media. Not an official record.