First Committee Approves 27 Texts, Including 2 Proposing New Groups to Develop Rules for States on Responsible Cyberspace Conduct

GA/DIS/3619
8 November 2018
Seventy-third Session, 30th & 31st Meetings (AM & PM)

First Committee Approves 27 Texts, Including 2 Proposing New Groups to Develop Rules for States on Responsible Cyberspace Conduct

Concluding its programme of work, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today approved 27 draft resolutions and decisions, including two separate proposals to create working groups within the disarmament machinery to develop rules for States on responsible behaviour in cyberspace.

“Disarmament and international security are in your hands and your actions as Member States result in consequences which we must all face,” said Ion Jinga (Romania), Chair of the Committee, in his closing remarks.  “The manner in which you approach the Committee is the way in which it can help us all reach our common goals.”

Citing the session’s achievements, he said the Committee sent a total of 68 draft resolutions and decisions to the General Assembly, many approved by recorded votes.  Of these, 26 were approved without a vote, accounting for a lower percentage compared with the 48 per cent approved by consensus during the Committee’s seventy-second session.

Some delegates elaborated on this trend in explaining their delegations’ position after casting their votes, pointing out that many drafts that have traditionally been approved by consensus had faced voting during the current session.  Indeed, some representatives regretted to note that recorded votes were requested for the two similar draft resolutions aimed at shaping norm-setting guidelines for States to ensure responsible conduct in cyberspace.

Taking action on one of them, the Committee approved, by a vote of 109 in favour to 45 against, with 16 abstentions, the draft resolution “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/73/L.27.Rev.1), tabled by the Russian Federation.  By the text, the Assembly would decide to convene in 2019 an open-ended working group acting on a consensus basis to further develop the rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States.

Also by a recorded vote, members approved the draft resolution “Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/73/L.37), tabled by the United States, with 139 in favour to 11 against, with 18 abstentions.  By this text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be established in 2019, to continue to study possible cooperative measures to address existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security, including norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States.

Several speakers pointed out that language in “L.27/Rev.1” departed from previous year’s versions and included excerpts from the Group of Governmental Experts reports in a manner that distorted their meaning and transformed the draft resolution.  Meanwhile, some delegates said “L.37” called for the establishment of a new group of governmental experts, with the same mandate as the previous ones and the same selectivity in terms of its composition.

More broadly, while some delegates regretted to note that two separate, yet similar draft resolutions were tabled, others highlighted a need for bold, swift action to prevent cyberattacks and malicious online behaviour.  Indeed, there is an urgent need to address cybersecurity, said Indonesia’s representative, whose delegation supported both drafts, adding that the two proposed mechanisms can complement each other.  Agreeing, Singapore’s delegate, who voted similarly, said the two processes to be established by both drafts are not incompatible to each other.  In addition, he said, both drafts were amended during the negotiation process to embrace different views.

The representative of Bangladesh, whose delegation voted in favour of both “L.27/Rev.1” and “L.37”, pointed out that the failure to have a single resolution is an exception, not a precedent, he stressed.  Meanwhile, China’s representative, whose delegation voted against “L.37”, wondered if some countries that voted against “L.27/Rev.1” would get “tickets” to participate in the proposed working group.  Egypt’s representative, whose delegation voted in favour of “L.27/Rev.1” and against “L.37”, said real progress is needed within the United Nations to address serious threats in cyberspace.  “We must avoid going around in circles when we already know where the real threats are,” he said.

The United States delegate said “L.27/Rev.1” imposes a list of unacceptable norms and language that is broadly unacceptable to many States, while “L.37” mirrors previous consensus draft resolutions.  His counterpart from the Russian Federation said “L.37” would take the international community backwards and result in a complete waste of resources, also being the product of extremely narrow interests of Western countries, especially the United States.  However, “L.27/Rev.1” proposes to taking the negotiating process to a higher level that is more inclusive, open and democratic.

Calling for depoliticizing processes, the representative of the Philippines, whose delegation supported both drafts, urged the United States and the Russian Federation to work together on these parallel processes to avoid redundancy.

The Committee also tackled a range of issues across several thematic clusters.  In the area of regional security, the Committee took action on the draft resolution “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” (A/C.1/73/L.30), approving it by a vote of 171 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States).  After several votes were taken on separate provisions of the draft, Algeria’s delegate expressed regret that “L.30” was approved by a vote as the draft resolution used to enjoy consensus.

With a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries, the Committee approved the draft resolution “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/73/L.11) without a vote.

Also without a vote, it approved the draft resolution “Women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control” (document A/C.1/73/L.21), as a whole, by which the Assembly would urge Member States to strengthen the participation of women in the field of disarmament at the local, national, subregional and regional levels.

Nevertheless, the Committee held a recorded vote to retain preambular paragraph 10, which would have the Assembly recall the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and encourage States parties to fully implement all the provisions of the Treaty.  That provision was retained by a vote of 149 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions.

Casting a spotlight on the potential effects of depleted uranium weapons, the Committee also approved, by a recorded vote of 140 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 26 abstentions, the draft resolution “Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium” (document A/C.1/73/L.12).  By the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary‑General to appeal to relevant international organizations to complete their research on the health and environmental effects of the use of armaments containing the substance.

Among those who voted against “L.12”, the United Kingdom’s delegate said that while the effects of depleted uranium have been previously investigated by several organizations, none had tied them to long-term health effects.  Meanwhile, the representative of the Netherlands said her delegation voted in favour of the draft as her country recognizes the need for additional research on this topic and appreciates the issue being discussed at the United Nations.

The Committee also considered the draft resolution “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.16), by which the Assembly would welcome the adoption of the recommendations on the objectives and agenda of the special session by the Open-ended Working Group on this matter.  This text was approved by a vote of 174 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (France, Israel, United States).

By recorded vote, the Committee approved the following draft resolutions:  “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (document A/C.1/73/L.15); “Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures” (document A/C.1/73/L.35); “Disarmament and non-proliferation education” (document A/C.1/73/L.49); “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels” (document A/C.1/73/L.6); “Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, 2020” (document A/C.1/73/L.66);

The Committee approved, without a vote, the following draft resolutions:  “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/73/L.13); “United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services” document A/C.1/73/L.41/Rev.1); “United Nations Disarmament Information Programme” (document A/C.1/73/L.45); “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.65/Rev.1); “Regional disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.5); “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context” (document A/C.1/73/L.7); and “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/73/L.53/Rev.1).

Also without a vote the Committee approved the following draft resolutions:  “United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.18); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa” (document A/C.1/73/L.34); “Report of the Disarmament Commission” (document A/C.1/73/L.36); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/73/L.38); “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.40); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (document A/C.1/73/L.56); and “Regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa” (document A/C.1/73/L.69/Rev.1).  Without a vote, it also approved the draft decision “Maintenance of international security — good-neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe” (document A/C.1/73/L.47).

The Committee also approved a draft provisional programme of work and timetable for 2019 as contained in document A/C.1/73/CRP.5/Rev.1.

Speaking in explanation of position were the representatives of Brazil, Pakistan, Iran, Switzerland, Armenia, France, Israel, India, Syria, Peru, Cuba, Nepal, Austria, Australia, Morocco, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Libya, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Germany, Singapore, Nigeria, Canada, Venezuela, Japan, Malaysia and Belarus, as well as the European Union.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3597 of 8 October.

Point of Order

The representative of the Russian Federation said the United States is blocking access to the United Nations by some representatives of delegations whose views do not agree with those of the host country.  It is up to Member States to select who represents their countries at this intergovernmental forum and they should be given unfettered access.  A director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation responsible for the work of the First Committee has not been issued a visa by the host country.  This is a surprising state of affairs.

Action on Drafts

The Committee considered draft texts under its cluster on other disarmament measures and international security, first taking up the draft resolution “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/73/L.11).  By the draft, the Assembly would urge 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, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium” (document A/C.1/73/L.12), which would have the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to request relevant international organizations to update and complete their research on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing this metal on human health and the environment.  It would also invite Member States that have used in armed conflicts such armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium to provide affected States with information about the location of the areas of use and the amounts used to facilitate the assessment and clearance of these areas.

The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 140 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 26 abstentions.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/73/L.13), by which the Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

It subsequently took up the draft resolution “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (document A/C.1/73/L.15), by which the Assembly would urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner.

The Committee then approved the draft, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 51 abstentions.

Next, the Committee considered the draft resolution “Women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control” (document A/C.1/73/L.21), by which the Assembly would urge Member States to support and strengthen the effective participation of women in organizations in the field of disarmament at local, national, subregional and regional levels.

Prior to taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote to retain preambular paragraph 10, which would have the Assembly recall the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and encourage States parties to fully implement all its provisions, including those on serious acts of gender-based violence and on violence against children.

By a recorded vote of 149 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of preambular paragraph 10

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures” (document A/C.1/73/L.35), which would have the Assembly welcome ongoing efforts of United Nations-mandated peacekeeping missions to include practical measures aimed at addressing the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  These would include training, weapons collection, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and enhancing physical security and stockpile management practices with a view to promoting and implementing an integrated comprehensive and effective weapons management strategy that would contribute to a sustainable peacebuilding process and, in so doing, strive to achieve the goals set out in Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security.

Prior to taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote to retain preambular paragraph 9, which would have the Assembly welcome the report of the third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  The report underlined the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (International Tracing Instrument) for attaining Goal 16 and target 16.4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Assembly would also call for the further strengthening of international cooperation and assistance for the implementation of these two instruments.

By a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 8 abstentions (Bolivia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela), the Committee approved the retention of preambular paragraph 9.

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “United Nations Disarmament Information Programme” (document A/C.1/73/L.45), which would have the Assembly recommend that the programme continue to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action and support for it, including action by the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament, in the field of arms control and disarmament, in a factual, balanced and objective manner.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on “Disarmament and non-proliferation education” (document A/C.1/73/L.49), which would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to prepare a report reviewing the results of the implementation of recommendations and possible new opportunities for promoting disarmament and non-proliferation education and to submit it to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session.

Prior to taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote to retain operative paragraph 3, which would have the Assembly express its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his disarmament agenda, “Securing Our Common Future:  An Agenda for Disarmament”, and note the proposed actions therein to further advance disarmament and non-proliferation education.

By a recorded vote of 166 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Armenia, Israel, Russian Federation, Syria), the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 3.

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.65/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly call upon Member States to remain vigilant in understanding new and emerging developments in science and technology that could imperil international security.  Also by the text, the Assembly would underline the importance of Member States engaging with experts from industry, the research community and civil society in addressing this challenge.

The Committee then approved the draft, as orally revised, without a vote.

The representative of Brazil, explaining his delegation’s position, said voting in favour of “L.65/Rev.1” came after actively participating in related discussions on the role of science and technology.  However, some improvements to the language of the text are still needed, particularly in preambular paragraph 5, which refers to States’ rights to use technologies for peaceful purposes in line with international instruments.  These rights are recognized in provisions of instruments including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.

The representative of Pakistan said preambular paragraph 5 of “L.65/Rev.1” mentions States’ rights regarding the development, transfer and use of technologies in relation to relevant international instruments.  Proliferation concerns should not be a pretext to deny States their inherent right to develop such technology for socio-economic development purposes and countries should be assured on a non-discriminatory basis.

The representative of the United Kingdom explained his delegation’s vote against “L.12”, saying the effects of depleted uranium have been investigated by many organizations that have not found long-term health effects tied to weapons containing such metal.  He expressed regret that the sponsors failed to fully quote United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) findings in 2010.  Given the lack of tangible evidence, his Government does not recognize the risk of depleted uranium to health and the environment.

The representative of the Netherlands said her delegation voted in favour of “L.12”, as it recognizes the need for additional research and appreciates the issue being discussed at the United Nations.  However, she noted that the effects to human health and the environment have not been substantiated by relevant health organizations.  The most important development is the disagreement among different studies carried out, she said, adding that the health and well-being of her country’s military forces is under her Government’s continuous scrutiny.

The representative of Iran said his delegation joined consensus on “L.21”, but the draft is acceptable only to the degree that it is in line with his country’s Constitution.  On “L.65/Rev.1”, Iran shares concerns of developing countries over ad hoc exclusive restrictions by exporting countries on the transfer of science and technology.  Military applications of technology can lead to the development of weapons of mass destruction, but the peaceful use of technology can contribute to socio-economic development.  Regulating the transfer of dual-use technology must be based on reasonable grounds and consider the legitimate defence needs of States.

The representative of the United States, commenting on “L.11”, said that disarmament and development are two district issues.  As for “L.13”, there is no direct link between the use of ammunition and environmental destruction.  On “L.21”, her delegation does not support the language on the 2030 Agenda because it is a non-binding agreement that does not create any legal and financial obligations.  Implementing the 2030 Agenda must respect the independent mandates of other institutions and will not alter agreements under the World Trade Organization (WTO).  As for “L.35”, the United States voted against preambular paragraph 9 because of his country’s opposition to the inclusion of ammunition in the outcome document of the third Review Conference on the Programme of Action on Small Arms.  Adding ammunition to the scope of this instrument will jeopardize its implementation.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation voted in favour of “L.12”.

The representative of Armenia said his delegation joined consensus on “L.11”, but disassociated itself from preambular paragraph 4, which made a reference to document adopted at the Non-Aligned Movement’s ministerial conference, held in Baku, which included the language on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that did not adhere to language in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group mediations.

The representative of Egypt, supporting comments made by Iran and Pakistan on “L.65/Rev.1”, said science and technology are enablers for socio-economic development and the rights to access this technology should be recognized on a non-discriminatory basis.

The Committee then turned to draft texts under its cluster on regional disarmament and security, hearing general statements from delegates.

The representative of the European Union, referring to the draft resolution “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” (document A/C.1/73/L.30), said language in operative paragraph 5 does not change the bloc’s long-standing support for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  The European Union reiterates its call on all States to sign and ratify the instrument without preconditions and without delay, particularly Annex II States.  The absence of the Treaty’s entry into force prevents the use of on-site inspections.  Meanwhile, States must refrain from any actions that would undermine the instrument.  In this vein, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to maintain its declared suspension and sign the Treaty without delay.

The representative of France said his delegation disassociates itself from any draft provisions that reference the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, including “L.30”.

The representative of Israel, referring to “L.30”, said his delegation requested a vote on operative paragraphs 2 and 5 because they do not reflect the reality in the Middle East.  Operative paragraph 2 makes no mention of chemical weapon use by [President Bashar Al-] Assad [of Syria], missile proliferation by the Iranian regime or the radical Islamic groups terrorizing the region.  Indeed, “L.30” legitimizes the atrocities perpetrated in the region.  Concerning operative paragraph 5, he said joining arms control treaties is not a goal unto itself, he said, adding that the right security conditions must first exist.  It is time to face the reality as it is.

The representative of Iran said his delegation will vote in favour of operative paragraph 2 of “L.30” based on ensuring respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the rights of people to self-determination.  Iran will also vote in favour of operative paragraph 5 in line with its repeated calls on Israel to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  However, his delegation cannot support the draft as a whole as it does not reflect the realities of the region, including in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Regional disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.5), by which the Assembly would call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at regional and subregional levels.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels” (document A/C.1/73/L.6), by which the Assembly would decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at regional and subregional levels.

Prior to taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote to retain operative paragraph 2, which would have the Assembly request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control, and looks forward to a report of the Conference on this subject.

By a recorded vote of 127 in favour to 2 against (India, Russian Federation), with 45 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 2.

The Committee then approved the draft, as a whole, by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (India), with 2 abstentions (Russian Federation, Rwanda).

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context” (document A/C.1/73/L.7), by which the Assembly would call upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and would reaffirm the ways and means regarding confidence- and security-building measures set out in the report of the Disarmament Commission at its 1993 session.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” (document A/C.1/73/L.30), by which the Assembly would reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security and to international peace and security.

Prior to taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee held separate recorded votes to retain operative paragraphs 2 and 5.

By a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Fiji), the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 2, which would have the Assembly express its satisfaction at the continuing efforts by Mediterranean countries to contribute actively to the elimination of all causes of tension in the region and to promote just and lasting solutions to the persistent problems of the region through peaceful means, thus ensuring the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation and respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries of the Mediterranean and the right of peoples to self-determination.

By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, Fiji), the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly call upon all States of the Mediterranean region that have not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments in force related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, thus creating the conditions necessary for strengthening peace and cooperation in the region.

The Committee approved “L.30”, as a whole, by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States).

The Committee then took up the draft decision “Maintenance of international security — good-neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe” (document A/C.1/73/L.47), by which the Assembly would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its seventy-fifth session.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The representative of India, in explanation of his delegation’s position after the vote, said she voted against “L.6” and operative paragraph 2, as the texts are unrealistic and unacceptable to her country.

The representative of Syria said his delegation voted in favour of operative paragraphs 2 and 5 of “L.30” and the draft as a whole.  But, through the vote, it has become clear to all that the United States and Israel support terrorism and illegal occupations by force in the Middle East.

The representative of Algeria said his delegation regrets that “L.30” was approved by a vote.  The draft resolution used to enjoy consensus, he said, pointing out that operative paragraph 2 reaffirms the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and operative paragraph 5 calls for States in the region to accede to international and regional agreements.

The representative of Iran said, in a point of order, that the Chair used his subjective judgement to interrupt the delivery of the Syrian delegate’s explanation of vote.

The Committee then turned to draft texts under its cluster on the disarmament machinery, first hearing the introduction of draft resolutions and general statements by delegates.

The representative of Peru, presenting the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (A/C.1/73/L.56), underscored its important role in undertaking related initiatives and those focused on economic and social development.  He thanked Member States and other partners for their cash and in-kind contributions, encouraging the continuation of their generous support.  In this context, he expressed hope that the draft would, as in previous sessions, be approved by consensus.

The representative of Cuba, making a general statement, reiterated a call for the Conference on Disarmament to undertake a broad and balanced work programme to overcome its stalemate, which is caused by some States’ desire to maintain the status quo on nuclear disarmament.  However, she welcomed the recent decision of the Conference on Disarmament to establish five subsidiary bodies and the adoption of substantive reports.  Cuba is also pleased to see the establishment of a working group in the Disarmament Commission on outer space and on transparency and confidence-building measures.  She underscored the importance of consultations to discuss the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, which would help to overcome the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament.  Cuba supports all drafts in the disarmament machinery cluster because her country supports multilateralism in the negotiation of non-proliferation agreements.  In this regard, she raised concerns about unilateral measures taken by some States due to security considerations, as it jeopardizes the disarmament machinery’s credibility.

The representative of Nepal, introducing the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (A/C.1/73/L.38), expressed appreciation, as the host country, for its work.  As in previous years, Nepal is confident the draft will be approved by consensus.

The representative of France said it is with regret that his delegation would withdraw the draft decision “Thirty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)” (document A/C.1/73/L.61) from consideration.  UNIDIR plays a particular role within the disarmament machinery and France attaches special importance to it as one of its founders.  Previous resolutions endeavoured to help UNIDIR during a dark period in which it faced financial and institutional challenges.  While “L.61” was of a procedural nature, it was nonetheless subject to the threat of a recorded vote.  It is inconceivable that such a draft could not be approved by consensus.  While his delegation made the decision to withdraw the draft, he expressed hope that the future of UNIDIR would be taken up during the Committee’s 2019 session and that a consensus would be achieved.

The representative of Austria, speaking for a group of countries, said his delegation supports “L.61” even though it was withdrawn.  UNIDIR requires stable and predictable funding because maintaining its credibility and independence is vital, he said, expressing support for a modest regular budget increase.

The representative of Australia expressed his delegation’s disappointment at the withdrawal of “L.61” at the last moment.  Australia supports recommendations on adequate resource mobilization in the Secretary-General’s report on the matter.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.16), by which the Assembly would welcome the adoption by consensus of the recommendations on the objectives and agenda of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament by the Open-ended Working Group on this matter.  The draft would have the Assembly also encourage Member States to continue consultations on the next steps for convening of such a session.

The Committee approved the draft, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 174 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (France, Israel, United States).

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution “United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.18), by which the Assembly would commend the three regional centres for their sustained support to Member States over the past 30 years in implementing disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation activities through seminars, conferences, capacity-building, training, policy and technical expertise, and information and advocacy at global, regional and national levels.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee considered the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa” (document A/C.1/73/L.34), which would have the Assembly urge all States and international, governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to enable it to carry out its programmes and activities and meet the needs of African States.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then had before it the draft resolution “Report of the Disarmament Commission” (document A/C.1/73/L.36), by which the Assembly would request the Disarmament Commission to meet for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2019, namely from 8 to 29 April, and to submit a substantive report to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/73/L.38), which would have the Assembly express its satisfaction at the activities carried out over the past year by the Centre and invite all States of the region to continue to support its activities.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/73/L.40), by which the Assembly would call upon the Conference on Disarmament to further intensify consultations and to explore possibilities for overcoming its ongoing deadlock of two decades by adopting and implementing a balanced and comprehensive programme of work at the earliest possible date during its 2019 session.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (document A/C.1/73/L.56), by which the Assembly would welcome the activities carried out in the past year by the Centre and request it to continue to consider proposals to be submitted by countries of the region for the implementation of the mandate of the Centre in the areas of peace, disarmament and development and for the promotion of, inter alia, nuclear disarmament, prevention, combating and eradication of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, ammunition and explosives, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, confidence-building measures, arms control and limitation, transparency and the reduction and prevention of armed violence at regional and subregional levels.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee took up the draft resolution “Regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa” (document A/C.1/73/L.69/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would reaffirm its support for efforts aimed at promoting confidence-building measures at regional and subregional levels in order to ease tensions and conflicts in Central Africa and to further sustainable peace, stability and development in the subregion.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The representative of Syria said his delegation associates itself with the consensus on “L.36” because it believes in sincere multilateralism, including in the framework of disarmament.  During its chairmanship of the Disarmament Commission, Syria presented a programme of work, but its politicization by certain States, including the United States, made it impossible to arrive at an agreement.  Therefore, a procedural report and not a substantive one was adopted.  Noting that France had circulated an annex to the document, which included allegations against his country, he said the document is not in line with the procedural report.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution under its cluster on nuclear weapons, first hearing explanations before the vote.

The representative of Morocco said her delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolution “Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, 2020” (document A/C.1/73/L.66) with the understanding that the meeting is only open to the parties specified in operative paragraph 2.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, 2020” (document A/C.1/73/L.66), by which the Assembly would decide to convene the one-day conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 24 April 2020.

The Committee then approved the draft, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to none against, with 6 abstentions (France, Israel, Russian Federation, Rwanda, United Kingdom, United States).

The representative of Algeria, explaining his country’s position, said his delegation voted in favour of “L.66”, as it remains convinced of the importance of such zones and their contribution to nuclear disarmament efforts.  However, like previous similar conferences, it should ensure the participation of all stakeholders.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation voted in favour of “L.66” in line with its position on the role of nuclear-weapon-free zones in achieving a world free of these armaments.  However, Egypt strongly disagrees that any conference can only be convened with the approval of all involved States.  As such, he urged Member States taking this position to reconsider the matter.

The representative of the United Kingdom, also speaking on behalf of France and the United States on “L.66”, underscored the importance of recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones, which can be vital to international security, given that they are set up according to the 1999 United Nations Disarmament Commission guidelines.  Nevertheless, he cannot endorse preambular paragraph 4 because it contains contradictory language.

The representative of New Zealand said his delegation voted in favour of “L.66”, but opposes operative paragraph 2 on participation rights.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation voted in favour of “L.66”, but did not co-sponsor it because of amendments that weakened some resolutions approved in past sessions.  Invitations should be made on an equal footing.

The Committee then turned to its cluster on conventional weapons.

The representative of Afghanistan introduced the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/73/L.53/Rev.1), noting that the draft reflects a strong commitment of the General Assembly to this issue.

The representative of Egypt, explaining his country’s position before the vote, said his delegation will continue to abstain on “L.53/Rev.1” because the Ottawa Convention was adopted outside the United Nations.  His country maintains a moratorium on the production of anti-personnel mines.  It is impossible for a State to remove such devices on its own, he said, noting that Egypt is still dealing with 22 million landmines placed on its territory during the Second World War.

The representative of Libya said his delegation will not support “L.53/Rev.1” because it is not a party to the Ottawa Convention, which fails to address the issue of compensation for damage made by former colonial powers that placed anti-personnel mines in colonized territories during the Second World War.  The Convention should be revised as such, he said.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/73/L.53/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly invite all States that have not signed the Convention to accede to it without delay and urge the one remaining State that has signed but has not ratified the Convention to ratify it without delay.

The Committee approved the draft text, as a whole, by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions.

The representative of Cuba, explaining her delegation’s position in abstaining on “L.53/Rev.1”, said that while her country fully shares the humanitarian concerns associated with the use of anti-personnel mines, it has been subject to hostilities from a military power and is not able to renounce the use of such weapons because it must defend its sovereign territory.  Nevertheless, she called on all States to provide the financial technical and humanitarian assistance needed for mine clearance operations and the economic and social rehabilitation of victims.

The representative of India said that her delegation abstained on “L.53/Rev.1”.  While India is committed to the eventual elimination of landmines, the availability of cost-effective alternatives would facilitate that goal.  She underscored the legitimate requirements of States, especially those with long borders.  Furthermore, India is observing a moratorium on their export and has taken measures to address humanitarian concerns about their use.

The representative of Iran, highlighting that anti-personnel mines have been used irresponsibly by same States and claimed many lives, welcomed every effort to stop this trend.  However, the Ottawa Convention focuses on humanitarian aspects without considering countries’ legitimate security concerns, especially those with long borders.  Anti-personnel mines are effective to ensure the minimum security requirements of their borders.  Thus, Iran abstained on “L.53/Rev.1”.

The representative of Myanmar said her Government supports in principle the provisions of the Ottawa Convention and is trying to bring peace in her country with armed groups.  Disarmament matters are part of this process.  While capacity constraints are preventing Myanmar from acceding to the Ottawa Convention, her country aims to join the instrument in the future.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said his country is not a party to the Ottawa Convention and abstained on “L.53/Rev.1” because of the current national security situation.  However, his Government maintains tight control over stockpiles and observes a moratorium on landmines.

The representative of Germany said that while his delegation voted in favour of “L.53/Rev.1”, its support should not be construed as recognizing the State of Palestine.

The representative of Singapore said his delegation voted in favour of “L.53/Rev.1” and will continue to support efforts to implement the Ottawa Convention.  However, the legitimate right of States to self-defence should not be disregarded.

The representative of Pakistan said his delegation abstained on “L.53/Rev.1” because anti-personnel mines play an integral part of his country’s defence needs and border protection.  However, Pakistan protects civilians from the effect of these devices and is a party to 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.

The Committee then turned to its cluster on other disarmament measures and international security, hearing general statements and taking action on three draft texts before it.

The representative of the Russian Federation, referring to the draft resolution “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/73/L.27/Rev.1), said the negotiation process on international information security was launched by the United Nations two decades ago.  Today, his delegation is proposing to take that to a higher level to make it more inclusive, open and democratic.  The practice of some “club agreements” should be sent into the annals of history.  All States have the right to participate in negotiations on international information security within the United Nations and thus influence decision making.  Each voice is important and should be taken into consideration.  The Russian Federation proposes setting up an open working group on international information security, mandated to consider a wide range of issues, with particular attention paid to standards for responsible conduct in the sphere, the application of international law and building the capacity of developing countries.  Any other format that excludes some Member States is an effort by certain Western States to give the illusion of inclusivity and get rid of all opinions they disagree with.  During his delegation’s work on the draft text, it sought flexibility and consensus and in doing so, deleted some wording.  As such, the current draft contains language and standards already agreed upon within the United Nations.  Yet, his Western partners showed no flexibility, even after language had been amended.

The representative of the United States, speaking on a point of order, questioned whether his counterpart from the Russian Federation was actually making a general statement or advocating for his delegation’s draft resolution.

The representative of the Russian Federation, also speaking on a point of order, said he was simply presenting the draft resolution tabled by his delegation, whether his counterpart from the United States liked it or not.

The representative of Bangladesh said cyberspace has no borders and pragmatic measures are needed to make this sphere safer.  Developing countries should have access to technology for peaceful purposes, he said, adding that efforts should be built upon the work of the Group of Governmental Experts.

The representative of Nigeria introduced the draft resolution “United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services” (document A/C.1/73/L.41/Rev.1).  By the text, the Assembly would note with satisfaction that the programme has trained a large number of officials from Member States throughout its 40 years of existence, many of whom hold positions of responsibility in the field of disarmament within their own Governments.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation supports “L.27/Rev.1”, which provides the only adequate multilateral negotiating process to adopt an international legally binding cybersecurity instrument.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said they are not in a position to support “L.27/Rev.1”, tabled by the Russian Federation, for various reasons, including that the draft places undue prominence on the sovereignty of States with the inevitable risk of weakening the protection of online freedoms by increasing the ability of States to control access to and content of domestic Internet use.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation will vote in favour of “L.27/Rev.1” and against the draft resolution “Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/73/L.37), based on its conviction that real progress is needed within the United Nations to address serious threats in cyberspace.  “We must avoid going around in circles when we already know where the real threats are,” he said.  Member States must take stock of the recommendations of the Group of Governmental Experts.  Yet, efforts toward their codification continue to be strongly resisted.  Such behaviour is displayed by certain States in other domains.  Highlighting the resource-intensive requirements of a new group of governmental experts on cyberspace — estimated at $1.3 million — he criticized States, including the United Kingdom, that said the cost of a conference on creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East would be a poor use of the Organization’s funds.  This is an illustration of inverted priorities, he said.

The representative of the United States said his delegation would vote against “L.27/Rev.1”.  For weeks, the United States called for a return to a consensus resolution that would build upon the success of previous drafts.  However, the Russian Federation has chosen to advance a draft resolution that contains a number of flaws, including language that is broadly unacceptable to many States.  “L.27/Rev.1” imposes a list of norms that is unacceptable and cherry-picks from previous Group of Governmental Experts reports.  Indeed, “L.27/Rev.1” threatens to duplicate the cyberwork within the United Nations system.  In contrast, the United States draft resolution, “L.37”, mirrors previous consensus resolutions, with a few small changes that his delegation hopes will enable a new group of governmental experts to reach consensus.  To his Egyptian counterpart, he said the proposal contained in “L.37”, presented by the United States, is far lower in cost than the Egyptian resolution to hold a conference on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The representative of Armenia said that while it would have been preferable to have a consensus resolution, his delegation would vote in favour of “L.27/Rev.1”, recognizing the critical role of information technology in promoting peace and sustainable development while enhancing communication between nations.  At the same time, Armenia attaches importance to human rights and believes everyone should have right to freedom of expression.  His delegation will also vote in favour of draft “L.37” because the draft supports efforts aimed at reinforcing cybersecurity and underscores the importance of freedom of expression, regardless of frontiers.

The representative of Iran said “L.37”, tabled by the United States, does not take into account the current reality of cyberspace security.  The malicious use of information and communications technology has been increasing at an alarming rate and there is a tangible lack of norms for responsible behaviour in cyberspace.  The draft resolutions would have the Assembly establish a new group of governmental experts with the same mandate as previous ones and the same selectivity in its composition.  The United States and Israel have carried out cyberattacks on Iran’s critical infrastructure and “L.37” is a cover for their irresponsible behaviour.

The representative of Algeria said that two draft resolutions would create two separate mechanisms to tackle a single issue of cybersecurity.  His delegation will support “L.27/Rev.1” because it prefers the creation of an open-ended mechanism that allows all States to participate.  His delegation will abstain on “L.37”.

The representative of Cuba said “L.37” would create a group of governmental experts that would duplicate previous efforts and increase the regular budget of the United Nations.  Cuba rejects the militarization of cyberspace, she said, calling for the development of international norms to put an end to the illegitimate of use of information and communications technology.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation will vote against “L.37”, which in essence would take the international community backwards and result in a complete waste of resources.  “L.37” is the product of extremely narrow interests of Western countries, especially the United States.  All States should express their positions freely without succumbing to pressure from the United States.

The representative of Australia said his delegation will reject “L.27/Rev.1” because the draft distorts past consensus results.  Australia attaches importance to the norms and rules agreed in cumulative reports of the Group of Governmental Experts.  Efforts should be built upon the previous consensus reports.  His delegation will support “L.37” as the establishment of a new group of governmental experts with a broader participation of parties will do an effective job.

The representative of Syria said “L.37” calls for the establishment of a group of governmental experts that will end up with exactly the same results as previous ones with the same mandate.  The draft aims to preserve the status quo.  Meanwhile, a certain State is known to be the most violating State in cyberspace, while some others have threatened to launch cyberattacks against other States.  Syria will vote against “L.37”, while voting in favour of “L.27/Rev.1” because the sponsor of the latter draft resolution considered delegations’ concerns about the establishment of an open-ended working group based on consensus.  It is high time to approve a transparent process on this important topic.

The representative of Canada said his delegation cannot support “L.27/Rev.1”, even though his country previously supported the draft and adhered to the consensus recommendations of previous Group of Governmental Experts and the agreed upon voluntary norms.  Unfortunately, “L.27/Rev.1” has been completely transformed and includes selected excerpts from the Group of Governmental Experts reports that distort their meaning.  This is profoundly disappointing, he said.  Nonetheless, there is merit to a group of governmental experts that is more representative.  While Canada had hoped for a single resolution, it has been impossible to agree on one.  Thus, there are now two resolutions and two processes, to the detriment of global norms in cyberspace.  As such, his Government has little choice but to oppose “L.27/Rev.1”.

The Committee then took action on the draft resolution “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/73/L.27/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would decide to convene, beginning in 2019, with a view to making the United Nations negotiation process on security in the use of information and communications technologies more democratic, inclusive and transparent, an open-ended working group acting on a consensus basis, to continue, as a priority, to further develop the rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States.

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 45 against, with 16 abstentions.

It then took action on the draft resolution “Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/73/L.37), which would have the Assembly call upon Member States to be guided in their use of information and communications technologies by the 2010, 2013 and 2015 reports of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security.  Also by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary‑General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts, to be established in 2019 on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, proceeding from the assessments and recommendations contained in the above-mentioned reports, to continue to study, with a view to promoting common understandings and effective implementation, possible cooperative measures to address existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security, including norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States.

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a vote of 139 in favour to 11 against, with 18 abstentions.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on “United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services” document A/C.1/73/L.41/Rev.1).

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation voted for “L.37” because the international community must build on the previous consensus results and progress made by the Group of Governmental Experts, and abstained on “L.27/Rev.1”, as it refers to progress made selectively.  His delegation regrets that two separate draft resolutions were tabled.

The representative of Venezuela said his delegation recognizes benefits of information and communications technology and therefore voted against “L.37”, which his country views as restrictive, including the limited format for discussions.  His delegation prefers an open-ended working group.

The representative of China said his delegation voted against “L.37”, wondering if some countries that voted against “L.27/Rev.1” would get “tickets” to participate in the working group.

The representative of Bangladesh said his delegation voted in favour of “L.27/Rev.1” and “L.37”, as the processes to be created by the two drafts are complementary.  Failure to have a single resolution is an exception, not a precedent.

The representative of Japan said his delegation supported “L.37” because it builds on past progress made by the Group of Governmental Experts.  While “L.27/Rev.1” has a problem as to how it refers to past consensus outcomes, Japan supports the proposed inclusive and open process.

The representative of Singapore said his delegation voted in favour of both “L.27/Rev.1” and “L.37”, as they were amended during the negotiation process to embrace different views.  The two processes to be established by both drafts are not incompatible to each other.

The representative of India said her delegation voted in favour of “L.27/Rev.1”, as it supports an open-ended working group.  However, India has reservations about some of the language in the draft.

The representative of Indonesia said his delegation supported both drafts because it believes there is an urgent need to address cybersecurity.  Member States received benefits from the past Group of Governmental Experts.  His delegation is a strong promoter of multilateralism, and therefore supports the opened-ended working group.  The two mechanisms can complement each other.

The representative of Malaysia said his delegation supported both drafts although it hoped for a single resolution, as in previous years.  Both drafts carry value for the future global discourse.  Both the group of governmental experts and an open-ended working group complement each other.

The representative of the Philippines supported both drafts, urging the United States and the Russian Federation to work together on these parallel processes to avoid redundancy.  His delegation calls for de-politicized processes.

The representative of Belarus said the development of modern technologies can create potential security threats.  Indeed, the world is seeing cases where information and communications technologies have been used for harmful purposes.  These pernicious effects know no bounds and are large-scale in nature.  The joint action of Member States should be just as large-scale.  However, the approach provided for in “L.37” by setting up a narrow, closed group of governmental experts is not the right approach.  Indeed, a broad approach would enable all Member States to address such threats in a comprehensive manner.  As such, his delegation supported “L.27/Rev.1” while abstaining from “L.37”, which was tabled by the United States.

The Committee then approved a draft provisional programme of work and timetable for 2019 as contained in document A/C.1/73/CRP.5/Rev.1.

ION JINGA (Romania), Chair of the Committee, said, in his closing remarks, that a wide range of crucial issues were addressed during the Committee’s session.  “Disarmament and international security are in your hands and your actions as Member States result in consequences which we must all face,” he said.  “The manner in which you approach the Committee is the way in which it can help us all reach our common goals.”  He thanked the Vice-Chairs and the Secretariat for their support before reminding delegates that there is life after the session.

He went on to note that the Committee finished its work in four weeks and three days.  A total of 135 delegations made statements within the general debate segment, while 354 interventions were made during the thematic discussion segment.  During the action phase, the Committee approved 68 draft resolutions and decisions, 42 of which were approved by recorded votes, with 53 separate votes requested.  A total of 26 draft proposals were approved without a vote, a lower percentage compared with the 48 per cent approved without a vote during the seventy-second session.

For information media. Not an official record.