In 1980, a UN Group of Governmental Experts on regional disarmament concluded that there was a vast and somewhat unexplored potential for progress in disarmament at the regional level. The Group found that progress in regional disarmament, equitable solution of problems, just settlement of disputes and with confidence-building measures at the regional level, could create conditions that would promote disarmament and relax tension at the global level.
In 1993, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) adopted guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament. The UNDC found that regional and global approaches to disarmament and arms limitation complemented each other and should be pursued simultaneously, in order to promote regional and international peace and security.
Each year, the General Assembly adopts several resolutions concerning regional disarmament, including on the three Regional Centres on Peace and Disarmament. The Secretary-General also presents an annual report on each of the three Regional Centres. The latest resolutions and reports can be found here.
More information on regional approaches to disarmament can be found here.
Regional Disarmament Branch Structure
The Regional Disarmament Branch (RDB) is the operational arm of UNODA at the regional, subregional and national levels.
The branch serves over 135 countries and comprises a New York-based office as well as three UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament:
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC, located in Lima, Peru),
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD, located in Kathmandu, Nepal), and
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC, located in Lomé, Togo).
At the request of Member States, RDB provides substantive expertise regarding disarmament and confidence-building measures in the conflict-prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding efforts of the UN system, including supporting the development and implementation of practical disarmament measures. RDB thereby actively contributes to the vision of ONE UN in arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation at country, sub-regional and regional levels.
RDB assists in the coordination of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation policies and activities at the nexus between the global, regional, subregional and national levels.
RDB further contributes to UN-wide policy discussions and joint programming on cross-cutting issues such as: security sector reform, armed violence prevention and reduction, and gender mainstreaming.
UNODA’s mandate on regional disarmament
- To promote and enhance international efforts towards global disarmament and international peace and security through the support and promotion of regional disarmament efforts and initiatives using approaches freely arrived at among the States of the region and taking into account the legitimate requirements of States for self-defence and the specific characteristics of each region (A/66/6(Sect.4))
- To promote regional disarmament, taking into account the specific characteristics of each region and in accordance with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments, in order to enhance the security of all States and to thus contribute to international peace and security by reducing the risk of regional conflicts (PP 9 of A/RES/65/45).