Pursuant to the established practice, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has initiated the 2015 United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament by a note verbale, as follows:
The United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament was launched by the General Assembly at its first special session devoted to disarmament in 1978.
The Programme aims at the training and specialization of national officials in more Member States, particularly in the developing countries, and to enable them to participate more effectively in international deliberating and negotiating fora.
Implemented by the Geneva Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the Programme has trained over 900 public officials from over 160 Member States, a large number of whom are now in positions of responsibility in the field of disarmament within their own Governments. Originally conducted for a six-month period, the Programme was reduced after 1988 to a ten-to-twelve week duration due to budgetary restrictions. Some 25 fellowships are awarded every year.
Participants in the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament are selected on the basis of nominations invited from all Member States of the United Nations (one nomination per Member State per year). The selection of candidates is the responsibility of the substantive office (ODA) on the basis of the greater needs of developing countries in terms of training their young diplomats in the field of disarmament and security, and the overall geographical balance.
The programme of studies of the Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament is structured in three segments:
- The first segment of the Programme is carried out in Geneva and is aimed primarily at exposing the Fellows to multilateral negotiations on disarmament undertaken by the Conference on Disarmament or under different disarmament treaty regimes. The segment includes a cycle of lectures by senior representatives of States members of the Conference on Disarmament on issues under negotiation in the Conference, and attendance in its meetings. While in Geneva, the Fellows are also given the opportunity to attend any other intergovernmental meetings on disarmament that might be in session.
- The second segment of the Programme comprises study visits to intergovernmental organizations of relevance in the field of disarmament, as well as to Member States, at their invitation. In recent years, a number of Member States of the United Nations also hosted study programmes for the Fellows on different occasions: Bulgaria, the former Czechoslovakia, China, Finland, France, the former German Democratic Republic, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Sweden, the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United States of America. At present, both Germany and Japan continue to host study visits for the Fellows. These study visits have provided the Fellows with an invaluable opportunity to get more closely acquainted with the national policies and work in the field of arms limitation and disarmament of the respective Governments.
- The third segment of the Programme, which is held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, consists of a second cycle of lectures by members of delegations to the First Committee and United Nations officials, on items on the agenda of the Committee, and regular attendance in meetings of the Committee.
In helping to develop greater expertise in disarmament and a better understanding of the concerns of the international community in the field of disarmament and security, the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament makes a concrete contribution to the process of deliberations and negotiations on disarmament. Indeed, the Programme has enabled former Fellows to participate more effectively in regional and global efforts in the field of disarmament and, by creating an informal network spanning the various regions of the world, to work cooperatively and constructively in the pursuance of disarmament and arms limitation goals.