The Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters was established in 1978 pursuant to paragraph 124 of the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly, and received its current mandate pursuant to section III of General Assembly resolution 37/99K of 13 December 1982. The Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters1 has the following functions:

(a) To advise the Secretary-General on various aspects of studies and research in the area of arms limitation and disarmament carried out under the auspices of the United Nations or institutions with in the United Nations system, in particular on the integration of a programme of such studies with a comprehensive programme of disarmament, once this had been established; 

(b) To serve as the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva; 

(c) To advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the United Nation Disarmament Information Programme2 ;

(d) At the specific invitation of the Secretary-General, to provide him with advice on other matters within the area of disarmament and arms limitation. 

Currently, there are twenty-three members, from all regions of the world, selected by the Secretary-General for their knowledge and experience in the field. The Director of UNIDIR is an ex officio member. 

In 1997, the Board held one session at New York from 10 to 13 June. It considered four agenda items:  

(a) Reorganization of the United Nations disarmament sector, in connection with the reform package prepared by the Secretary-General;  

(b) New security and disarmament challenges for the twenty-first century and the role of the United Nations;

(c ) Conventional arms, focused on the Register of Conventional Arms, small arms, good governance and peace-building in West Africa and anti-personnel land mines;  

(d) Norm-making and implementation of agreements relating to weapons of mass destruction.

The Secretary-General issued a report on the activities of the Board (A/52/282 ) highlighting the recommendations the Board made to him during its last session.  

In its role as Board of Trustees of UNIDIR, the Advisory Board also reviewed the work of the Institute, including completed and on going projects, personnel and financial matters, and future plans. The Secretary-General transmitted the report of the Deputy Director of the Institute to the General Assembly on the activities of the Institute from July 1995 to June 1997, as well as the report of the Board of Trustees on the Deputy Director`s report ( A/52/272 ). Also in its capacity as Board of Trustees for UNIDIR, the Board examined the qualifications of the candidates for the position of Director of the Institute3 and put forward a recommendation to the Secretary-General. Subsequently, the Secretary-General appointed Dr. Patricia Lewis ( United Kingdom ) as the new Director of the Institute, effective 13 October 1997 ( for a biography see press release SG/A/641 or DC/2587 of 2 July 1997 ). 

The Board`s responsibilities include advising the Secretary-General on the implementation of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme( UNDIP ).A report on UNDIP is submitted every other year to the General Assembly. The latest report was published in 1996 ( A/51/219 and Add. 1 ).In connection with the Information Programme, the Board, at its June meeting, met with representatives of the NGO Committee on Disarmament ( New York ). The following topics were discussed: the next steps in nuclear disarmament, reducing conventional arms and armed conflict, access of NGOS to the First Committee and Disarmament Commission under the new structure for servicing those meetings and reform of the disarmament sector of the Organization.


1 In 1989, the Secretary-General decided to make a number of changes in the functioning of the Board so as to facilitate a broader interpretation of the Board`s existing mandate. The title of the Board was also modified from Advisory Board on Disarmament Studies to Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.

2 From 1982 to 1992, the Programme was named the World Disarmament Campaign.

3 The former Director, Mr. Sverre Lodgaard, resigned effective 31 December 1996