United Nations First Committee

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly debates disarmament, nonproliferation, arms control, and international security issues, recommending resolutions and decisions for adoption by the plenary session of the UNGA.

Several of the resolutions recur in the First Committee year after year with minimal or no change in the text. Below is a summary of developments in the First Committee since 1997, highlighting the new resolutions in each issue area and those that continue to be of major significance. Voting results represent the final vote in the General Assembly. Statements by member states in the First Committee can be found at Reaching Critical Will.

Recent Developments:

2015: On 8 October, the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee opened with Ambassador Karel van Oosterom of The Netherlands as Chair.  Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-Soo, opened the General Debate. The General Debate closed on 16 October as the Committee moved onto Thematic Debates. The Thematic Debates included nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, disarmament machinery and other WMD issues.

2014: On 7 October 2014, the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee opened under the leadership of Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations. The General Debate took place from 7- 15 October. On 16 October, the Committee turned to thematic debate on disarmament machinery, conventional arms control, global and regional disarmament, weapons of mass destruction, as well as nuclear threats and security. The Committee finished the thematic debate on 28 October with a focus on cyber warfare.

During the two panel discussions on 16 October, high-ranking representatives of various organizations discussed their organizations’ roles and progress. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane observed that the lack of progress in disarmament was due to “the lack of harmony between domestic policies and international responsibilities.” The Representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the United Nations Geoffrey Shaw made a statement emphasizing the increasingly complex verification challenges and safeguards implementation. On 21 October, Russia gave a statement highlighting the consensus 2010 NPT Action Plan.

Ending on 4 November, the Committee approved 63 drafts on a broad range of issues, including 57 resolutions and 6 decisions, which was the largest number during the past 10 years.

2013: On 26 September, the High-Level Meeting took place in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. A large number of delegations attended, including the P5 members. Many countries expressed their frustration in the lack of progress. H.E. Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, gave a statement on behalf of the NAM to the High Level Meeting, stressing that nonproliferation and disarmament are mutually reinforcing and that the possession of nuclear weapons is intolerable. He proposed a roadmap from the NAM, urging the early commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on the prohibition of nuclear weapons; the designation of the 26 of September every year as an international day to renew the resolve to completely eliminate nuclear weapons; and the convention of a High-level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in five years.  

A number of states stressed the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons during the High-Level Meeting. Three members of the P5, namely France, United Kingdom and the United States, expressed regret that some states highlighted the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and emphasized the importance of the step-by-step process.

On 7 October 2013, the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee opened under the chairmanship of Ambassador Ibrahim O.A. Dabbashi of Libya. General Debate was held from 7- 16 October. Thematic debate started on 17 October with nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and outer space, followed by conventional weapons, other disarmament measures and international security, regional disarmament and security, concluding with presentations from civil society.

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane made a statement to the Committee highlighting the new initiatives and achievements in the past year as well as the work of the Office of Disarmament Affairs. She also underscored the Security Council’s adoption in September of its first-ever resolution devoted to the question of small arms and light weapons. Furthermore, she cited the conclusion of the work of three groups of governmental experts on cyber security, outer space and the arms register. On 21 October, New Zealand gave a joint statement on humanitarian consequences in conjunction with 125 countries. The statement outlined the past work in Oslo and took note of the next round of conferences to be hosted by Mexico in 13-14 February 2014. On the same day, Australia also presented a joint statement on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use. Like the New Zealand statement, the Australian statement encouraged all states to participate actively in all relevant fora to reinforce the goals of disarmament and nonproliferation.

It was noted that while Russia and the United States cooperated to establish an agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, neither country has met the deadline for the destruction for its own chemical arsenal.

In total, 53 resolutions were adopted. Thirty-one of these resolutions were adopted without a vote. Of the Resolutions that required a vote, 21 required a recorded vote.  

2012: On 4 September, the General Assembly’s First Committee elected, by acclamation, Desra Percaya (Indonesia) as Chair of the 67th session. The Committee also elected Dovydas Špokauskas (Lithuania) and Alexis Aquino (Peru) as Vice-Chairs, and Knut Langeland (Norway) as its Rapporteur.

On 8 October, the 67th session of the UNGA First Committee commenced with a message from Angela Kane, the High Representative for disarmament affairs. In her statement, she urged the First Committee not to become another arena for competitive advancement of one state’s interests over another. In addition, she also expressed concern over the slow rate of progress in nuclear disarmament, the persistence of proliferation in three regions, and the delay in the conclusion of an Arms Trade Treaty. On a positive note, High Representative Kane reminded delegations that 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the Secretary-General’s first report on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.

General debate commenced 8 October followed by thematic debate on nuclear weapons, other WMD, outer space, conventional weapons, regional disarmament and security, other disarmament measures and international security, and disarmament machinery.

The New Agenda Coalition, Non-Aligned Movement, and CELAC all expressed concern at the lack of progress in the disarmament machinery, while countries such as Russia argued that the stagnation was caused by political factors.

China announced that it hosted the first experts’ meeting on a Glossary of Definitions for Key Nuclear Terms that took place in Beijing in September 2012.   

The Norwegian representative gave a statement regarding the convening of a conference in Oslo in March 2013 on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The conference will be devoted to discussions of the immediate humanitarian effects, longer-term impact and consequences and the state of preparedness to provide humanitarian response in the case of a nuclear detonation. On 22 October, Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland made a joint statement on behalf of 34 countries on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. He also emphasized the horrific consequences of these weapons while stressing the role of civil society in raising awareness.

On 5 November, persistent divisions in the First Committee locked the voting machine in a familiar pattern as 26 texts, 16 recorded by vote, were forwarded to the General Assembly. The resolutions addressed nuclear proliferation’s risk in the Middle East, decreasing operational readiness on nuclear weapons, fissile material ban and negative security assurances.

On 6 November, diplomatic frustration over the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament sparked urgent calls for fresh approaches and tangible results in the First Committee drafts. Sixteen draft texts were forwarded to the General Assembly addressing nuclear-weapon-free zones in the southern hemisphere, developments in information security, and confidence building in the conventional weapons field.

On 7 November, the First Committee concluded its 67th session, sending 59 draft texts to the General Assembly. The Committee approved 53 resolutions and six decisions, of those, 29 required a recorded vote, while another 30, were approved without a vote. The Committee Chair stated that this session was marked by both positive and negative developments.  

2011: On 16 September, the 66th session of the UNGA First Committee filled vacant positions on its Bureau. It elected the following Vice-Chairs by acclamation:  Amb Aljowaily (Egypt) from the Group of African States; Mohammad Almutairi (Kuwait) from the Group of Asian States; and Ayesha Borland (Bolivia) from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. Archil Gheghechkori (Georgia), from the Group of Western European and Other States, was elected as Rapporteur. Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, will serve as Chair of the First Committee.

From 3 October to 1 November, the 66th Session of the UNGA First Committee was held. The stalemate in the Committee continued. After a month of discussions, no resolutions were adopted. Austria, Mexico, and Norway tabled a draft resolution on revitalizing multilateral disarmament negotiations, but withdrew it near the end of the Session.

The following is a summary of the resolutions related to disarmament tabled during the session:

·         A/C.1/66/L.21/Rev.1: Taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.

·         A/C.1/66/L.39 - Adopted by consensus. Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.

·         A/C.1/66/L.40- Adopted with a vote of 151-2-23- Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices 

On 27 October, the UNGA approved 22 draft texts. The texts approved included consolidating the African nuclear-weapon-free zone, banning the development of new types of weapons of mass destruction, and enhancing transparency in armaments. A draft resolution submitted by Myanmar called upon the General Assembly to urge nuclear weapon States to immediately stop the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and to immediately de-alert and deactivate those weapons. An American resolution called upon States parties that are not in compliance with their obligations to make the decision to come back into compliance.

On 31 October, the First Committee reiterated its concern about the status of the disarmament machinery. Due to the lack of progress, several states submitted a draft resolution aimed to adopt and implement a program of work to help the Conference on Disarmament to resume substantive work on its agenda by early 2012. Near the end of the session, it became clear that the draft resolution would not pass without amendments and it was removed.

2010: The 65th session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 30 September - 29 October. Ambassador Miloš Koterec (Slovakia) served as Chairperson, while Hossam Eldeen Aly (Egypt), Enrique Ochoa (Mexico), and Herman Schaper (Netherlands) served as Vice-Chairpersons. Mr. Carlos Sorreta (Philippines) served as the Rapporteur. The Committee adopted 55 draft resolutions and 3 decisions. Of them, 20 resolutions were adopted by a vote, while the remaining resolutions and decisions were approved by consensus.

One of the central issues of the general debate of the First Committee was the status of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). There was a general agreement that the stalemate in the CD should end, but states disagreed over whether negotiations should take place in an alternate venue if the Conference remains deadlocked. Another recurring issue was proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Some states, the African Group in particular, called for an increased focus on the needs of developing countries for technological and financial empowerment to enable them to adequately address the problem of illicit SALW. During the general debate, most states spoke positively about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), including those that had not yet ratified the agreement. The majority of states present commented on recent events centering on nonproliferation and disarmament, including the 2010 NPT Review Conference (RevCon), the U.S. hosted Nuclear Security Summit, the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the conclusion of negotiations on the New Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START).

During the First Committee debates, the consensus rule in the CD proved to be a contentious subject. No resolutions addressing this issue received consensus support. Delegations from multiple nations, including Pakistan, Cuba, and Brazil, reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of consensus at the CD, dismissing any proposals to move negotiations outside of the CD.

Among the most controversial resolutions was L.32, “Illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.” This resolution was criticized by the Mexican delegation and the representatives of 15 States in the Caribbean region, who believed that their suggestions had not been sufficiently incorporated into L.32. The Mexican delegation introduced L.61, which amended L.32 by adjusting the wording of two paragraphs to contain language previously adopted at the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action and to recommend that “the 2012 review conference assess and, as necessary, strengthen the follow-up mechanism of the Programme of Action.” However, Mexico was unable to gain the required support for their resolution and during the vote on L.61 in the First Committee, only 19 States voted in favor of the amendment while 70 voted against it.

Once again, the five nuclear-weapon States co-sponsored a resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The resolution was adopted with 161 votes in favor, one against (DPRK) and three abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).

A resolution on renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, traditionally tabled by Japan and co-sponsored by a large group of states, this year was renamed to “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” Separate votes had to be taken on three paragraphs of the resolution: on NPT universality, entry into force of the CTBT, and the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty along with declaring and maintaining moratoriums on fissile material production.

Outer space security issues received a lot of attention during the First Committee. The U.S. delegation continued to abstain on resolutions regarding outer space.

The following is a summary of the major resolutions in each issue area:

Nuclear Weapons

·         Sixteen resolutions were adopted in the nuclear weapons category. The four consensus resolutions included: Establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East (L.1), Bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear arms and the new framework for strategic relations (L.28/Rev1), Preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive sources (L.46),  and African nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty (L.54). 

·         The remaining resolutions, adopted by a recorded vote, included: The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (L.3), Conclusion of the effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapons States against the use or threat of nuclear weapons (A/C.1/65/L.5), Treaty on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia (L.10), Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (A/C.1/65/L.15), Nuclear disarmament (A/C.1/65/L.22), Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (A/C.1/65/L.24), Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (A/C.1/65/L.25), Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (A/C.1/65/L.33), Decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems (A/C.1/65/L.42), United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (A/C.1/65/L.43), Comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty (A/C.1/65/L.48), Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (A/C.1/65/L.50), 

·         Two draft resolutions containing amendments to other tabled resolutions on nuclear weapons were withdrawn. Both of these resolutions had been sponsored by the Iranian delegation and addressed arms reduction agreements between the United States and the Russian Federation as well as the NPT Review Conference. The Iranian delegation withdrew these resolutions after it became clear they would not be able to gain the needed support. The two  resolutions were: Amendment to draft resolution A/C.1/65/L.28/Rev.1, Bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear arms and the new framework for strategic relations (A/C.1/65/L.59) and Amendment to draft resolution A/C.1/65/L.28/Rev.1, Bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear arms and the new framework for strategic relations (A/C.1/65/L.60).

Other weapons of mass destruction

·         Three of the four resolutions grouped under  “Other weapons of mass destruction” were adopted without a vote. These addressed: Convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction (A/C.1/65/L.20), Implementation of the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction (A/C.1/65/L.23), and Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (A/C.1/65/L.29),

·         The remaining draft resolution, “Measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol” (A/C.1/65/L.12), was adopted by a recorded vote.

Outer space (disarmament aspects)

·         Both draft resolutions addressing this topic required a recorded vote to be adopted. The first, Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (A/C.1/65/L.38), was adopted by a vote of 167-0-1, with the United States casting the only abstention vote. As in past years, the second resolution,  Prevention of an arms race in outer space (A/C.1/65/L.2), was adopted with all States voting in favor and the United States and Israel abstaining.

Conventional weapons

·         Five of the nine resolutions in the conventional weapons category were adopted by consensus: Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (A/C.1/65/L.11), Information on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms (A/C.1/65/L.31), Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (A/C.1/65/L.36), Women, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation (A/C.1/65/L.39), and 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 (A/C.1/65/L.44).

·         The remaining resolutions were adopted by a recorded vote. These included: Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (A/C.1/65/L.6), Implementation of the convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction (A/C.1/65/L.8), Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (A/C.1/65/L.19), and The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (A/C.1/65/L.32).

·         The only draft that was not adopted by the First Committee was the amendment to draft resolution A/C.1/65/L.32, The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

Missile Proliferation

·         Two resolutions addressed missile proliferation. The fist, titled “Missiles” (A/C.1/65/L.18), was adopted without a vote. The second, on the Hague code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation (A/C.1/65/L.45), was adopted by a vote.

Regional disarmament and security

·         Under the regional disarmament and security grouping the Committee adopted nine of twelve draft resolutions by consensus. These resolutions were: Establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East (A/C.1/65/L.1), Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (A/C.1/65/L.7), United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (A/C.1/65/L.16), Maintenance of international security — good-neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe (A/C.1/65/L.17), Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (A/C.1/65/L.30), Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status (A/C.1/65/L.41) Consolidation of the regime established by the treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) (A/C.1/65/L.51), United Nations regional centre for peace and disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (A/C.1/65/L.56), and Regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations standing advisory committee on security questions in Central Africa (A/C.1/65/L.58).

·         The other three draft resolutions that were adopted after a recorded vote included: The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (A/C.1/65/L.3), Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (A/C.1/65/L.6), Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (A/C.1/65/L.24),

Other disarmament measures and international security

·         The Assembly adopted four resolutions on other disarmament measures and international security without a vote, including: Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (A/C.1/65/L.37), Follow-up to the high-level meeting held on 24 September 2010: revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations (A/C.1/65/L.34), Relationship between disarmament and development (A/C.1/65/L.13),  and Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (A/C.1/65/L.14).

·         Recorded votes were also taken on one draft resolution: Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (A/C.1/65/L.15).

Disarmament machinery

·         The First Committee adopted six resolutions and one decision relating to disarmament machinery, all without a vote. These include: United Nations regional centre for peace and disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (A/C.1/65/L.56), United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (A/C.1/65/L.16), United Nations regional centre for peace, disarmament and development in Latin America and the Caribbean (A/C.1/65/L.21), Regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations standing advisory committee on security questions in Central Africa (A/C.1/65/L.58), Report of the Conference on Disarmament (A/C.1/65/L.57), and Report of the disarmament commission (A/C.1/65/L.9).

2009: The 64th session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 5 October – 3 November and was chaired by José Luis Cancela of Uruguay. On 2 December, the First Committee approved 50 resolutions and four decisions. Of the 54 texts that were sent to the UNGA, over half (33) were adopted by consensus.

During the general debate of the First Committee, the primary issues that emerged were the use of small arms and light weapons and continued support for the creation of an Arms Trade Treaty. In addition, the promotion of the NPT’s credibility and universality continued to be a prominent issue. According to the Russian Federation, for the first time in decades the concept of a non-nuclear-weapon world had near-unanimous support from the leaders of all major industrialized countries. Numerous countries voiced their support for the efforts of the United States and Russia in their work toward a comprehensive, legally binding agreement to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and reiterated the necessity of nuclear weapon States to honor their disarmament obligations. Many States also called upon Israel to join the NPT and place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. For the first time in years, a positive climate toward nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation had emerged.

The issue regarding the use of conventional weapons, their linkage to organized crime and terrorism, the serious threat they pose to humanitarian issues, and their undermining effect on long-term sustainable development garnered much attention from Member States. Many delegates stated that the uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons was a significant social and security threat. The delegates also discussed the possibility of including small arms and light weapons as an eighth category in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

The First Committee also addressed concerns over the possible development of nuclear weapons by Iran and recent events on the Korean peninsula and their threat of undermining the NPT regime.

For the first year since 2005, the United States switched its no vote to an abstention for resolution (64/27) regarding binding security assurances. This alteration in voting pattern by the United States allowed the resolution to pass without any country having voted no. The United States also joined Japan in co-sponsoring resolution (64/47) on a renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. However, France changed its vote from a yes to an abstention. This leaves the DPRK and India as the only remaining countries voting against the resolution. Although the United States maintained its no vote on resolution (64/57) “towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments,” the Russian Federation changed its abstention vote from previous years to a yes. Maintaining its voting stance from past years, New Zealand continued to vote yes on (64/53), the NAM’s nuclear disarmament resolution.

The following is an updated summary of the major resolutions in each issue area.

Nuclear Weapons

·         Fifteen resolutions and one decision were adopted in the nuclear weapons category, four by consensus: African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (64/24); establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (64/26); prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes (64/45); and preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive materials and sources (decision).

·         The remaining resolutions, requiring recorded votes, addressed: a conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (64/27); follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (64/31); reducing nuclear danger (64/37); treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) (64/39); nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (64/44), which required a recorded vote on operative paragraph 7; renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (64/47); Second Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia (64/52); nuclear disarmament (64/53); follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (64/55); towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (64/57), which required a separate vote on operative paragraph four; Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons (64/59); and the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (64/66).

Other weapons of mass destruction

·         All three resolutions grouped under other weapons of mass destruction were adopted without a vote. These addressed: measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (64/38); implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (64/46); and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (64/70).

Outer space (disarmament aspects)

·         As in past years, a “no vote” resolution concerning transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (64/49) was adopted, while a recorded vote was needed to adopt the resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (64/28). However, unlike previous years, the resolution passed unopposed by a vote of 176 in favor to none against, with the United States and Israel abstaining.

Conventional weapons

·         Four of the seven resolutions in the conventional weapons category were adopted by consensus: assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (64/30); Convention on Cluster Munitions (64/36); problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (64/51); and 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 (64/67).

·         The remaining resolutions were adopted after a recorded vote was taken. Resolution 64/48 established the Member States intention to convene a four-week United Nations conference in 2012 to elaborate a legally binding arms trade treaty. The text was adopted by a recorded vote of 151 in favor, with only one against (Zimbabwe) and 20 abstentions. For the first year, the United States changed from a no-vote to a yes-vote. After voting on operative paragraphs 4 and 15, the resolution on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (64/50) was unanimously adopted. The implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (64/56) was adopted by a vote of 158 in favor, 0 against and 18 abstentions.

Regional disarmament and security

·         Under the regional disarmament and security grouping the Assembly adopted four of six resolutions by consensus which covered: Regional disarmament (64/41); Confidence-building measures in the regional and sub-regional context (64/43); Regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (64/61); and strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (64/68).

·         The other two resolutions that were adopted after a recorded vote included: implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (64/23); and conventional arms control at the regional and sub-regional levels (64/42).

Other disarmament measures and international security

·         The Assembly adopted five resolutions and three decisions on other disarmament measures and international security without a vote, including: verification (decision); declaration on the Strengthening of International Security (decision); role of science and technology in international security and disarmament (decision); objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures (64/22); developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (64/25); relationship between disarmament and development (64/32); observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (64/33); and national legislation on transfer of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods and technology (64/40).

·         Recorded votes were also taken on two draft resolutions related to other disarmament measures and international security. They included: promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation (64/34); and transparency in armaments (64/54). The resolution on transparency in armaments required six separate recorded votes on operative paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6(d), 6 as a whole and 8.

Disarmament machinery

·         Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted six resolutions and one decision relating to disarmament machinery. These include: convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (decision); United Nations regional centers for peace and disarmament (64/58); United Nations Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (64/60); United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (64/62); United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (64/63); Report of the Conference on Disarmament (64/64); and Report of the Disarmament Commission (64/65).

In the nuclear weapons area, the Assembly adopted a new resolution by consensus that named 29 August as the international day against nuclear tests (64/35). Of particular significance was a consensus resolution for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices (64/29). The Assembly urged the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on this topic in early 2010.

Finally, the five nuclear-weapon States co-sponsored a resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. This marks the first time that the draft for the CTBT gained the support and co-sponsorship of all five nuclear-weapon States. The resolution was adopted with 175 in favor with only one against (DPRK) and three abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria). Before the adoption of the resolution, a vote was held on operative paragraph five, which urged the DPRK to re-engage in the six-party talks. This paragraph was adopted by a vote of 169 in favor, one against (DPRK), and six abstentions (Cuba, Iran, Namibia, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela).

2008: The 63rd session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 6-31 October and was chaired by Mr. Marco Antonio Suazo of Honduras. On 2 December, the General Assembly adopted 53 resolutions and four decisions on the recommendation of its First Committee.

In a voting pattern familiar to disarmament and security-related drafts—on nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, outer space, conventional weapons, regional disarmament and security, and disarmament machinery—recorded votes were sought for 30 drafts, with several requiring separate votes on contentious provisions in the bodies of the texts themselves. 

Nuclear weapons

·         Sixteen resolutions and one decision were adopted in the nuclear weapons category, with the only two by consensus concerning nuclear-weapon-free zones:  in the region of the Middle East (63/38); and Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon free status (63/56).

·         The rest in that cluster, requiring recorded votes, addressed:  the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (63/84); decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons (63/41); conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (63/39); nuclear disarmament (63/46); convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons (63/75); reducing nuclear danger (63/47); advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (63/49); missiles (63/55); towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (63/58), for which a vote to retain operative paragraph 4 was also taken; establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia (63/63); the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (63/64); nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere (63/65), for which a separate vote on operative paragraph 6 was taken; United Nations conference to identify appropriate ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament (decision); Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (63/87);  and renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (63/73).

Other weapons of mass destruction

·         Three of the five resolutions grouped under other weapons of mass destruction were adopted without a vote. These addressed: biological weapons (63/88), the Chemical Weapons Convention (63/48), and measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring mass destruction weapons (63/60).  The resolution on the prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons:  report of the Conference on Disarmament (63/36) was adopted by a vote of 175 in favor to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Israel).  The draft on measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (63/53) was adopted by a vote of 174 in favor to none against, with 4 abstentions (Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States).

Outer space (disarmament aspects)

·         As in years past, a recorded vote was needed to adopt the resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (63/40), which passed by 177 in favor to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Israel).  A recorded vote was also taken in adopting the resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (63/68) by 180 in favor to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Israel).

Conventional weapons

·         Acting without a vote, the Assembly recognized the need for Member States to prevent and combat illicit brokering activities (63/67), and expressed concern that if proper measures were not taken, illicit arms brokering would adversely affect the maintenance of international peace and security and prolong conflicts, thereby impeding sustainable economic and social development, and result in the illicit transfers of conventional arms and the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.

The Assembly thus called on Member States to establish appropriate national laws to prevent and combat illicit brokering of conventional arms, and materials, equipment and technology that could contribute to the proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery means consistent with international law.

·         By a resolution on cluster munitions (63/71), the Assembly recalled the conclusion of negotiations at Dublin on 30 May on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and asked the secretary-general to render the necessary assistance and to provide the necessary services to fulfill the tasks entrusted to him by the Convention.

·         Approaching that issue via the traditional text on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (63/85), the Assembly welcomed States parties’ commitment to address the humanitarian problems caused by specific munitions, including cluster munitions, with a view to minimizing their humanitarian impact.  The Assembly expressed support for the work of the Group of Governmental Experts to negotiate a proposal to urgently address the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions, while striking a balance between military and humanitarian considerations, and to make every effort to negotiate that proposal as rapidly as possible.

·         Maintaining that an enhanced level of transparency in armaments contributed greatly to confidence-building and security among States and that the establishment of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms constituted an important step forward in promoting transparency in military matters, the Assembly reaffirmed its determination to ensure that Register’s effective operation (63/69).

Six separate recorded votes were required to retain operative paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5 (b), 5 and 7, which called upon Member States, with a view to achieving universal participation, to provide the secretary-general, by 31 May annually, with the requested data and information for the Register, including inviting those in a position to do so to provide additional information on procurement through national production and military holdings and on transfers of small arms and light weapons.  Further by those paragraphs, the Assembly asked the secretary-general, with the assistance of a governmental expert group to be convened in 2009, to prepare a report on the Register’s continuing operation and further development.

The resolution as a whole was adopted by a recorded vote of 160 in favor to none against with 22 abstentions.

·         Action was postponed on a resolution concerning a possible arms trade treaty, pending review of its program budget implications by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  Approved in the First Committee, the text would establish an open-ended working group to meet in 2009 to further consider those elements in the report of the Group of Governmental Experts where consensus could be developed for inclusion in an eventual legally binding arms trade treaty.

·         By a related text on the illicit small arms and light weapons trade, the Assembly underlined that the uncontrolled spread of those weapons in many regions of the world had wide ranging humanitarian and socio-economic consequences and seriously threatened peace, reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable development at individual, local, national, regional and international levels.  It encouraged national capacity-building for the implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, including those highlighted in the Third Biennial Meeting of States’ report.  The Assembly also called upon all States to implement the International Tracing Instrument.

Two separate recorded votes were taken before adoption of the whole text.  The first was on operative paragraph 4, which endorses the measures highlighted in the Third Biennial Meeting of States to consider implementation of the small arms Program of Action.  The second was on operative paragraph 13, by which the Assembly decided to convene an open-ended meeting of governmental experts for one week, no later than in 2011, to address key implementation challenges and opportunities relating to particular issues, including international cooperation and assistance.

It adopted the resolution (63/72) as a whole on the illicit small arms and light weapons by a vote of 181 in favor to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions.

·         Also adopted by recorded vote was a resolution in the conventional weapons sphere on the Mine Ban Convention (63/42).

·         Three additional drafts related to conventional arms were adopted by consensus, including information on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms (63/57); problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (63/61); and assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (63/66).

Regional disarmament and security

·         The Assembly adopted four of five draft resolutions, and one draft decision, by consensus.  They addressed:  maintenance of international security –- good neighborliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe (decision); regional disarmament (63/43); confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (63/45); strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (63/86); and regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (63/78).

·         The fifth draft resolution relating to regional disarmament—on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (63/44)—was adopted 175 in favor to 1 against (India), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation). 

Other disarmament measures and international security

·         The Assembly also took recorded votes on five draft resolutions related to other disarmament measures and international security.  They included:  promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (63/50); effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (63/54); compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments (63/59); consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (63/62), on which a separate vote was taken to retain preambular paragraph 10 as written; and developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (63/37).

·         The Assembly adopted five other resolutions on other disarmament measures and international security without a vote.  They were:  observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (63/51); relationship between disarmament and development (63/52); role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (63/70); and United Nations Disarmament Information Program (63/81).

Disarmament machinery

·         Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted seven resolutions and one decision related to disarmament machinery on:  United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (63/74); convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (decision); United Nations regional centers for peace and disarmament (63/76); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (63/77); Report of the Conference on Disarmament; Report of the Disarmament Commission (63/83); United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services (63/79); and United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (63/80).

On 24 December, the Assembly adopted the resolution on a possible arms trade treaty (63/240) by a recorded vote of 133 in favor to 1 against (United States), with 19 abstentions. This followed three separate recorded votes to retain operative paragraphs 3,4, and 5.

2007: The 62nd session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 4 October to 2 November and was chaired by Mr. Paul Badji of Senegal.

·         The resolution “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East" (A/C.1/62/L.1) was adopted without a vote. 

·         Another resolution related to the region, “"The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East" (A/C.1/62/L.2) was adopted by 164 votes in favor. The US was among only three states to cast a “no” vote.

·         "Report of the Disarmament Commission" (A/C.1/62/L.3) adopted without a vote.

·         "Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them" (A/C.1/62/L.5) adopted without a vote.

·         The draft decision "United Nations conference to identify appropriate ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament" (A/C.1/62/L.6) was adopted by 123 in favor, 3 opposed and 44 abstentions.

·         "Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (A/C.1/62/L.7)

·         Iran’s proposed resolution, "Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" (A/C.1/62/L.8).

·         The NAC proposed "Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments" (A/C.1/62/L.9) which was adopted by a vote of 151 in favor, 5 against, and 13 abstentions.

2006:  The 61st session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 2 to 31 October and chaired by Ms. Mona Juul of Norway, the first woman to chair the First Committee since the creation of the UN.

During the general debate at the First Committee, the two major emerging developments seemed to be the support for the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) and an arms trade treaty (ATT). Constructive discussions that took place at the 2006 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) appeared to have opened an opportunity to break the deadlock, with the FMCT as the central issue. Mexico, Switzerland, Japan, Belarus, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and other delegations voiced their support for the start of negotiations on an FMCT without conditions, while New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia, and especially Pakistan stressed that the future treaty must be verifiable.

A proposal to negotiate a new legally binding instrument on international conventional arms trade, promoted by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica, received wide support. Other major recurring topics and issues addressed by the delegations included the reaffirmation of the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, a diplomatic solution of the Iranian and North Korean crises, and the need for negative security assurances to be provided by nuclear-weapon states (NWS) to non-nuclear-weapons states (NNWS). When addressing the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, several states qualified that such a right should be exercised along with compliance with treaty obligations, and highlighted the importance of the IAEA safeguards in this regard.

In view of the heightened tensions surrounding the North Korean nuclear program and the 10th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a number of delegations addressed the importance of the treaty’s entry into force and called on the nuclear weapon states to observe a moratorium on nuclear testing in the meantime. A large group of states called for the implementation of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT. However, while many emphasized the need to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, very few states mentioned the next NPT review cycle, which will begin with the May 2007 Preparatory Committee meeting in Vienna.

The First Committee recommended 52 resolutions and two decisions for adoption by the General Assembly. Of these, the draft resolution on an arms trade treaty was the biggest breakthrough of the committee’s session, though not without difficulties and certain reservations. Some progress was also possible in the pursuit of adopting fewer resolutions and making those that are tabled more focused and action-oriented. However, disagreements over key substantive issues such as nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances, prohibition of the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, and control over the transfer of conventional weapons persisted. Developments, successes and setbacks on key resolutions are discussed in greater detail below.

The draft resolutions adopted by the committee were divided into the following clusters: nuclear weapons (including disarmament, testing and nuclear-weapon-free-zones); other weapons of mass destruction (including missiles); outer space (disarmament aspects); conventional weapons; regional disarmament and security; other disarmament measures and international security, and disarmament machinery.

The following is an updated summary of the major resolutions in each issue area.

Nuclear weapons:

  • The following resolutions remained practically the same with similar voting patterns of previous years:  “Reducing Nuclear Danger” (61/85) adopted with 105 yes votes, 50 against, and 13 abstentions; “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (61/97) received 108 votes in favor, 50 against, and 10 abstentions; and finally, “Nuclear disarmament” (61/78) passed with 105 in favor, 45 against, and 78 abstentions.
  • “Renewed Determination towards the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” (61/74). This resolution was first tabled by Japan in 2005. In 2006, the draft resolution was not introduced by any state, but issued with 10 co-sponsors and 26 additional sponsors – surprisingly, Japan not being one of them. The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 169 in favor, 3 against (DPRK, India, and the United States) and 8 abstentions (Bhutan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, Pakistan).

Of the changes made in the text compared to 2005, the most notable is a paragraph that condemns the nuclear test announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The resolution was again the most popular among the three on nuclear disarmament, especially among the nuclear-weapons States (NWS); however, the United States voted against it because of the reference to the CTBT.

  • “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (61/83) was introduced by Malaysia. The text of this resolution has not changed substantially from past years. A separate vote was requested on operational paragraph 1, which underlines the conclusion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the obligation to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament. France joined Israel, Russia, and the United States in voting against the paragraph. The resolution as a whole was adopted by a vote of 117 in favor, 27 against, and 26 abstentions.
  • The first draft of the New Agenda Coalition’s resolution, “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: Accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament,” (61/65) did not differ significantly from the previous year.  It featured slightly stronger language on the NPT and a new paragraph condemning all tests by states not yet party to the NPT and all further tests by any state.  The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 148 in favor, seven against (DPRK, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and 12 abstentions.
  • Australia, along with 44 other co-sponsoring states, introduced a draft resolution entitled "Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty" (61/104). The updated draft demanded that the DPRK not conduct any further tests, while urging other states to refrain from such actions. The sponsors have also deleted the text urging for confidence-building measures among all states, focusing on ratification, particularly by the Annex II states. Many states and organizations offered their support for the implementation of the CTBT, the development of its verification regime, the International Monitoring System (IMS), and stressed a moratorium on nuclear testing. It was adopted with 175 votes in favor, four abstentions (Colombia, India, Mauritius, and the Syria Arab Republic), and two votes against the resolution: the DPRK and the United States). The United States explained its negative vote by the opposition to the treaty, but supported the paragraph that condemned the test carried out by the DPRK.
  • “Prohibition of the production of fissile material for weapons purposes” (A/C.1/61/L.23) was introduced by Canada in view of the debate that had taken place at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) during the 2006 session and the US proposal on an FMCT submitted to the CD in summer. This new draft resolution urged the CD to commence the negotiations on an FMCT, regardless of whether there was progress on other issues (the three other major points of contention at the CD are PAROS, NSAs, and nuclear disarmament). Introduction of the resolution seemed to reflect the trend observed during the FC general debate. However, Canada’s draft did not call on the negotiation of a verifiable treaty. Such text, emphasizing FMCT over other issues of concern and ignoring the verifiability, ran contrary to the expectations of several states. Canada had to withdraw the resolution, citing the divergence of opinions on the issue and lack of time to bridge the differences.
  • "2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its Preparatory Committee" (61/70) was introduced by Brazil, as the chair of the 2005 NPT Review Conference. The text of the draft resolution is basically the same as the previous resolution, 56/24, on the first Preparatory Committee for 2005 NPT Review Conference, but the major change is in the location of the first PrepCom.  PrepComs are normally held in New York and Geneva, but the 2007 PrepCom will take place in Vienna in April. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 163 in favor, none against, and three abstentions (India, Israel, and Pakistan). The DPRK did not vote on the resolution.
  • Following the signing of the Central Asian Nuclear–Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty in September 2006, Uzbekistan introduced an updated resolution, “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia,” (61/88) co-sponsored by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.  The resolution notes the readiness of the Central Asian states to continue consultations with NWS on a number of provisions of the treaty.  It also recognizes the establishment of the CANWFZ as an effective contribution to combating international terrorism and preventing non-state actors from acquiring nuclear materials and technologies. While the resolution reaffirms the role of the United Nations in the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, it does not give UNDDA any mandate related to the CANWFZ.  The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 128 in favor, three against (France, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 36 abstentions, including Australia and Canada.
  • "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East" (61/56) sponsored by Egypt, advocates, pending the establishment of the zone, for all states to place all nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. As in previous years, the resolution was adopted without a vote.
  • “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (61/103), which calls for Israel to join the NPT as a NNWS was passed with 156 votes for, six abstentions, and four against the resolution. As in previous years, the United States and Israel voted against; however, this year, several states expressed their concern that while Israel was called by name, Iran was not.
  • “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Brazil, 61/69) was passed with 168 votes in favor, seven abstentions, and three against. The text of the draft resolution remained essentially the same, with a separate vote on the operative paragraph five and its last three words. The paragraph welcomes the steps taken to conclude further NWFZ treaties in the Middle East and South Asia. It was retained as a whole. India said that such language contradicted the principles of the establishment of NWFZ on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned and abstained on the resolution. As in previous years, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States voted against because, in their view, the ambiguity regarding the zone’s coverage of the high seas had not been sufficiently addressed in the draft.

Disarmament Machinery

  • “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (Indonesia, 60/61), as in previous years, received overwhelming support of the committee. However, this time it was adopted by a vote, rather than without a vote. The US position on this issue deteriorated further compared to previous years, and it was the only country to vote against, while there were no abstentions and 166 votes in favor. The United States did not explain its vote.

·         “Report of the Conference on Disarmament,” (61/99) sponsored by Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, and Slovakia, as in previous years was adopted without a vote.  The resolution on the Conference on Disarmament (CD) reaffirms the importance of the CD as the only international disarmament negotiation forum.

Other weapons of mass destruction:

  • This year's resolutions on the “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Poland, (61/68) and the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction” (Hungary, (61/102) were, as in previous years, both adopted without a vote.
  • “Missiles” (61/59) was adopted with 105 states in favor, 55 abstentions, and six opposed. This year, Albania, France, Micronesia, and the United Kingdom joined Israel and the United States in voting against the resolution. The resolution called for a third Panel of Governmental Experts, which will report to the General Assembly in 2008,to be convened in 2007.

Outer Space (PAROS):

  • The “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Egypt, 61/58), as in years past, continued to express the hope that an ad hoc committee would be established within the Conference on Disarmament to reinvigorate the debate on the adoption of a legally binding document relating to the weaponization of outer space. The United States, however, was the only delegation to vote against and continues to oppose attempts to create such a document, arguing that the existing multilateral arms control regime is sufficient and that there is no need to address a “non-existent threat. ”
  • “Transparency and confidence-building in outer space activities” (Russia, 61/75) was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 167 yes votes, with only the United States voting against and Israel abstaining.  The United States re-stated its usual position that there was no arms race in outer space or intent to weaponize outer space and, consequently, no need to for a new instrument on the issue.

Conventional weapons:

  • “Transparency in armaments” (61/77) encourages participation in the UN Conventional Arms Register (UNCAR), which confronts compliance and verification through a major multilateral weapons transparency mechanism; it builds confidence toward legally binding agreements and voluntary transparency. As in previous years, it proved to be a controversial resolution, and a separate vote was taken on seven operative paragraphs (OPs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7b and 9). The draft resolution was adopted as a whole by vote of 143 in favor and 23 abstentions; no delegation voted against.

 

  • “Toward an arms trade treaty:  establishing common international standards for the conventional arms” (61/89). This new resolution was introduced by the United Kingdom and co-sponsored by a large number of states. The resolution seeks to pave the way to negotiating a legally binding international instrument that would establish standards for the trade and transfer in conventional arms. It requests the UN secretary-general to submit a report containing the views of member states on the feasibility, scope and draft parameters of the future treaty, and to establish a group of governmental experts who would also examine the feasibility, scope, and draft parameters of the future legal instrument on arms trade. The decision to include the latter request in the draft was criticized by a number of states. Cuba, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation and others expressed their disagreement with the establishment of a GGE before member states have submitted their views on the matter. Because of this divergence of views, there was a separate vote on OP 2 and 3, and both were retained (133-1-26 and 133-1-24, respectively). Explaining its abstention on the resolution as a whole, Russia stated that it did not see the need for a new international instrument regulating arms trade. China also abstained, arguing that draft did not reflect the need for a different approach to arms exporting states. The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 139 in favor, 24 abstentions, and one against. The United States was again the only state to cast a negative vote. It did not provide an explanation.

Confidence-building measures:

  • The text of the draft resolution, “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons,” (Pakistan, 61/57) remained essentially the same as in previous years. References to special GA sessions on disarmament and the latest Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-aligned Movement were added in the preamble. The voting pattern remained the same for most states, and China was again the only NWS voting in support. A significant development, however, was that for the first time, the United States voted against, and it was the only state to do so. In its explanation of vote, the United States said that it opposed a treaty on negative security assurances (NSAs) or any other legally binding instrument on security assurances. The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 108 in favor, one against and 57 abstentions.

Other Disarmament issues:

·         The text of the resolution, “Promotion of Multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation," (61/62) did not change substantially, and neither did the voting pattern. The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 117 in favor, four against (Israel, Micronesia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 50 abstentions.

2005:  The 60th session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 3 October – 4 November and chaired by Y.J. Choi, permanent representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations. During their opening statements, many states explicitly referred to the developments regarding Iran and North Korea and identified the major trends of the year's session, which included effectiveness of the global disarmament machinery, multilateralism, nuclear disarmament, the CTBT, terrorism, NWFZs, and conventional weapons. These major trends were reflected in the more than 60 resolutions recommended by the First Committee to the General Assembly.  In addition, member states almost universally addressed the outcomes of the NPT Review Conference and UN Summit in their statements.  Most states deplored the lack of a substantive outcome of the 2005 Review Conference and the absence of language in the World Summit Outcome Document dealing with disarmament and nonproliferation. Delegations agreed that these failures demonstrate the serious challenges multilateral fora and instruments currently face in establishing and implementing nonproliferation and disarmament measures. Many resolutions linked disarmament directly to nonproliferation and pointed to the lack of balance between these two issues.  The resolutions adopted by the committee were divided into the following issues: nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; nuclear testing; nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ); disarmament machinery; other weapons of mass destruction; outer space (disarmament aspects); conventional weapons; confidence-building measures, including transparency in armaments; other disarmament matters; and terrorism.

The following is an updated summary of the major resolutions in each issue area.

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         Several resolutions were adopted without significant change in support from last year. These include “Reducing Nuclear Danger” (India, 60/79), “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (India, 60/88), and “Renewed Determination towards the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” (Japan, 60/65).  However, the Japanese-sponsored resolution was supported by more states, including two NWS (France and United Kingdom).

·         The resolution “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (60/76) was again controversial. It was adopted with 126 votes in favor, 29 against (including France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and 24 abstentions. The divided vote came as a result of the call in operational paragraph 2 for the early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention. A separate vote was taken on operational paragraph 1, which states, "the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspect under strict and effective international control." This paragraph received 165 yes votes (including India and Pakistan), 3 votes against (Israel, Russia, and the United States) and 4 abstentions.

·         The resolution, “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: Accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament” (60/56), sponsored by the NAC, was adopted by a vote of 153 in favor, 5 against (India, Israel, Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States), and 20 abstentions. The resolution reaffirms the outcome of the 2000 NPT Review Conference as "the framework of systematic and progressive efforts towards nuclear disarmament." While it does not list the 13 Practical Steps of 2000, it calls on the NWS to fully comply with their disarmament commitments.

·         As in previous years, “Nuclear Disarmament” (Myanmar, 60/70) received less support than other nuclear disarmament related resolutions. It was adopted by a vote of 94 in favor, 42 against, with 17 abstentions.

·         “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (60/62) was reaffirmed with 151 yes votes and one abstention.  It is a follow-up resolution from previous sessions and seeks to prevent the proliferation of missiles, encouraging states not party to the Hague Code of Conduct to join it.

·         The resolution, “Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” (Iran 60/72) represented one of the most controversial developments at this year's First Committee. In an attempt to avoid political isolation in the aftermath of the IAEA resolution that found Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement, Iran presented the draft resolution, which closely follows the language of the 13 Practical Steps used in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Its adoption took place only after Iran revised the text several times and gained last-minute support from Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states. The revised resolution does not include an earlier reference to an ad-hoc committee of the General Assembly to review the implementation of disarmament obligations under the NPT. The resolution was adopted with a very narrow margin (87 states voted in favor, 56 against, and 26 abstained).

·         The U.S sponsored resolution “Compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements” (United States, 60/55) was adopted with a vote of 163 in favor, 0 against, and 10 abstentions.

 Nuclear testing:

·         Through statements and sponsorship of the draft resolution "Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty" (Australia, 60/95), many states and organizations offered their support for the implementation of the CTBT, the development of its verification regime, the International Monitoring System (IMS), and the current moratorium on nuclear testing. All but five states voted in favor of adopting the resolution. “Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,” with similar content to last year, received wide support with 172 yes votes, 1 against (United States), and 4 abstentions (India, Colombia, Syria and Mauritius). The resolution was revised to omit the preambular paragraph that stated "the importance of the Treaty for the continued systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ):

·         Five resolutions regarding regional NWFZ were adopted, four of which without a vote. These include "Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) (60/50)," “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Uzbekistan, 60)  "African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty," (60/49), and "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East" (Egypt, 60/52), which also reaffirms the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

·         “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Mexico, 60/58) was passed with 144 yes votes, 3 abstentions, and 6 no votes.  It was met with resistance from nuclear-weapons states as well as India and Pakistan. 

·         "The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East" (60/92) was adopted with 164 yes votes, 5 against (including Israel and the United States), and 5 abstentions (including Australia, Ethiopia, India, Cameroon). The resolution calls on Israel to join the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state.

Disarmament Machinery:

·         “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (60/518), sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of NAM, and “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (60/90), sponsored by Peru, were adopted without a vote. Many states called in their opening statements to the committee for the convening of the fourth special session. The resolution on the Conference on Disarmament (CD) reaffirms the importance of the CD as the only international disarmament negotiation forum.

Other weapons of mass destruction:

·         This year's resolutions on the “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Poland, 60/67) and the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction” (Hungary, 60/96) were, as in previous years, both adopted without a vote. There were no major changes to the text of either of the resolutions; however, minor changes include greater emphasis on implementation of national legislation under the CWC and calls for financial support from the secretary-general for the 2006 BWC review conference to be held in Geneva in 2006.

Outer space (PAROS):

·         The “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (60/54) continued to express the hope that an ad hoc committee would be established within the Conference on Disarmament to reinvigorate the debate on the adoption of a legally binding document relating to the weaponization of outer space. The United States, however, was the only delegation to vote against and continues to oppose attempts to create such a document, arguing that the existing multilateral arms control regime is sufficient and that there is no need to address a "non-existent threat."

·         “Measures to promote transparency and confidence-building in outer space” (Russia, 60/66) was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 158 yes votes, with only the United States voting against it and Israel abstaining. As Sri Lanka noted last year in the First Committee, "the annual presentation of the PAROS resolution in the First Committee and the almost universal endorsement of its principles...has had the salutary effect of according to these objectives the status of customary law."

Conventional weapons:

·         Resolutions in 2005 regarding conventional weapons were rather routine, and no new resolutions or changes in attitude fueled any debate. Five resolutions were adopted including:  “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” (60/74) and “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels” (60/75).

Confidence-building measures:

·         “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (60/53) received 120 votes in favor, 0 against, and 59 abstentions, including France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. For the second year in a row, China voted in favor of the resolution and remains the only NWS in support of legally binding security assurances.

·         “Transparency in armaments” (60/226) proved once again to be controversial and a highly politicized resolution.  The resolution encourages participation in the UN Conventional Arms Register (UNCAR), which confronts compliance and verification through a major multilateral weapons transparency mechanism; it builds confidence toward legally binding agreements and voluntary transparency.

Other Disarmament issues:

·         “Promotion of Multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation" (60/59) introduced by Indonesia on behalf of NAM was adopted with 122 votes in favor, 8 against (including Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States), and 50 abstaining (including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Sweden). The resolution affirms the importance of multilateralism both in negotiating norms and in resolving disarmament and nonproliferation concerns.

Terrorism:

·         Three resolutions relating to terrorism were adopted.  "Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” (60/78) urges states to cooperate to avoid terrorists acquiring WMD. It was adopted without a vote. The new French draft resolution "Preventing the risk of radiological terrorism” (60/73) aims at better control over radiological materials and their means of production, to prevent their use by terrorists to make a "dirty bomb." Because of last-minute revisions of the resolution to ensure consensus, France read a handful of "stylistic" oral amendments to the text on 28 October, to reflect previously consensus-adopted texts verbatim. A vote was taken on this resolution by mistake, as no delegation actually called for a registered vote. The resolution was therefore adopted with 162 votes in favor, none against, and none abstaining. "Prevention of the illicit transfer and unauthorized access to and use of man-portable air defense systems" (60/77) focuses in particular on control over man-portable devices. The resolution introduced by Australia was adopted without a vote.

2004: The 59th session of the UNGA First Committee was held from 30 September to 5 November. Chaired by Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, the committee adopted 55 draft resolutions. Two of these were new resolutions: “Prevention of the illicit transfer and unauthorized access to and use of man-portable air defense systems” (59/90) and “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (59/91). The resolutions were divided into the following issues: nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, nuclear testing, nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs), disarmament machinery, other weapons of mass destruction, outer space (disarmament aspects), conventional weapons, confidence-building measures including transparency in armaments, and other disarmament matters.

The following is an updated summary of the major resolutions in each issue area.

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         “Bilateral strategic nuclear arms reductions and the new strategic framework” (Russian Federation and the United States, 59/94) was adopted without a vote. A number of states, including Cuba, Indonesia, and the New Agenda Coalition, raised objections and expressed concerns over the lack of verification of the Moscow Treaty.

·         Several resolutions were adopted without significant change in support from last year. These include “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 59/76), “Reducing Nuclear Danger” (India, 59/79), “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (India, 59/102), “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (59/83).

·         “Nuclear Disarmament” (Myanmar, 59/77) received the least support of all disarmament resolutions with 93 votes in favor, 42 against, and 18 abstentions.

·         “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (59/91) seeks to prevent the proliferation of missiles and encourages states not party to the Hague Code of Conduct to join it.

·         “Missiles” (Egypt, Indonesia, Iran 59/67) for the first time requests the secretary-general to prepare a report, with assistance from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), that identifies areas in which consensus can be reached. The secretary-general will submit the report to the UNGA for its 61st session.

·         “The Conference on Disarmament decision (CD/1547) of 11 August 1998 to establish, under item 1 of its agenda entitled "Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament," an ad hoc committee to negotiate, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein, a non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (Canada, 59/81) was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 147 votes in favor, one against (United States), and two abstentions (Israel, United Kingdom). The resolution urges the Conference on Disarmament to agree on a Program of Work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on a verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile materials.

·         “Accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (Sweden, 59/75)

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)” (Australia, 59/109) welcomes the Joint Ministerial Statement reaffirming support for the CTBT, signed on 23 September 2004, urges all states to maintain their moratoria on nuclear-weapons test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, and underlines the need to maintain momentum toward completion of the verification regime.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones:

·         “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 59/63) calls for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. It also reaffirms the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

·         “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status.” (Mongolia, 59/73)

·         “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Uzbekistan, 59/513) was adopted without vote.

·         “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Mexico, 59/85) was met with resistance from nuclear-weapons states as well as India and Pakistan. 

Other weapons of mass destruction:

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, 59/110) recalls the decision reached at the Fifth Review Conference to discuss and promote common understanding and effective action on enhancing international capabilities for responding to, investigating, and mitigating the effects of alleged use of biological or toxin weapons or suspicious outbreaks of disease and strengthening national and international institutional efforts and existing mechanisms for the surveillance, detection, diagnosis, and combating of infectious diseases affecting humans, animals, and plants.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Poland, 59/72) emphasizes that the universality of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction and its implementation contribute to enhancing international peace and security.

·         The “1925 Geneva Protocol” (Malaysia, 59/70) recalls that the last such resolution was adopted in 2002, welcomes that three more States Parties decided to withdraw their reservations, and urges other parties that continue to maintain reservations to the 1925 Geneva Protocol to withdraw them.

Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS):

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Egypt, 59/65) calls on all states to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective. The CD is invited to establish an ad hoc committee on this issue as early as possible.

Conventional weapons:

·         Several resolutions were adopted without vote: “Prevention of  the illicit transfer and unauthorized access to and use of man-portable air defense systems” (Australia, 59/90), “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (Colombia, Japan, and South Africa, 59/86), “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” (Bulgaria, 59/515), “Information on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms” (Argentina, 59/92), “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” (Sweden, 59/107), “Assistance to States for Curbing the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Collecting Them” (Mali, 59/74), “Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures” (Germany, 59/82).

·         “Conventional Arms Control at the Regional and Subregional Levels” (Pakistan, 59/88) was the only conventional weapons resolution that did not enjoy consensus. It was adopted with 165 votes in favor, one against (India), and one abstention (Bhutan).

Confidence-building measures:

·         “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context” (Pakistan, 59/87) emphasizes that the objective of confidence-building measures should be to help strengthen international peace and security and be consistent with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armament.

Other disarmament issues:

·         “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” (India, 59/80) urges all member states to undertake and strengthen international and national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD and related materials and requests the secretary-general to compile a report to present at the 60th UNGA session on measures for tackling the global threat posed by terrorists acquiring WMD.

2003: During its 2003 (58th) session, the UNGA adopted 52 texts recommended by the First Committee. Two of these were new resolutions, “Enhancing the contribution of the First Committee to the maintenance of international peace and security” (58/41) and “Promotion at a regional level in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe of the United Nations programme of action on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (58/55). The resolutions were divided into the following issues: nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; nuclear testing; nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ); disarmament machinery; other weapons of mass destruction; outer space (disarmament aspects); conventional weapons; confidence-building measures, including transparency in armaments; and other disarmament matters. Two resolutions were withdrawn: “Conference of States parties and signatories to treaties by which nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established” (Mexico, L19), which would have decided to hold such a conference before the 2005 NPT Review Conference and “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (Malaysia, L.25).

The clusters for action on draft resolutions and decisions were the following: nuclear weapons; other weapons of mass destruction; outer space (disarmament aspects); conventional weapons; regional disarmament and security; confidence-building measures, including transparency in armaments; and other disarmament matters.

Nuclear weapons:

·         “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: a new agenda” (New Agenda, 58/51) expresses deep concern at the limited progress on the implementation of the 13 practical steps towards disarmament agreed to in the NPT Review Conference Final Document in 2000. The resolution reaffirms and updates the 13 steps: called upon states to refrain from action that could lead to a new nuclear arms race; expresses urgency for early entry into force of the CTBT, and in the meantime to maintain the moratorium on nuclear test explosions; acknowledges that while the SORT Treaty is a positive step, its lack of verifiability and irreversibility disqualifies the treaty as a disarmament measure; agrees that the reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons is a high priority and should be carried out comprehensively; calls upon the CD to resume negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons; agrees that the CD should establish ad hoc committees on nuclear disarmament and on the prevention of an arms race in outer space; calls upon NWS to integrate their nuclear disarmament efforts; notes the importance of regular reporting to the NPT; calls upon NWS to respect their commitments to security assurances until multilaterally negotiated, legally binding security assurances are concluded; reaffirms the importance of NWFZs; calls on states to conclude full-scope safeguards agreements, additional protocols with the IAEA; calls on the DPRK to comply with the NPT and supports diplomatic efforts for a peaceful resolution on the Korean peninsula; stresses the important role of the IAEA as the body to verify compliance with the NPT; calls on Russia and the United States to approach the IAEA to implement the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement; and calls upon NWS to dispose fissile material no longer required for military purposes under the IAEA’s verification; and reinforces the importance of multilateralism in these efforts.

·         “Reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons” (New Agenda, 58/50) elaborates the comprehensive manner in which these reductions of high priority should be carried out. Reductions should be based on unilateral initiatives; undertaken in a transparent, verifiable, and irreversible way. The resolution calls on the United States and Russia to formalize their presidential nuclear initiatives into legally binding instruments; to enhance security surrounding these weapons; to adopt further confidence-building and transparency measures; not to rationalize the use of these weapons; to take concrete agreed measures. It also calls for the prohibition of non-strategic nuclear weapons that have been removed from NWS arsenals.

·         “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 58/59) reiterates the 13 practical steps unanimously agreed to in the NPT 2000 Review Conference Final Document, including universality of the NPT, immediate commencement of fissile material cut-off negotiations in the CD; and calls for efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by confirming and strengthening export control.

·         “Various resolutions on nuclear disarmament were sponsored by various combinations of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries: “Reducing nuclear danger” (58/47), “Nuclear disarmament” (58/56), “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (58/46), “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (58/35), and “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (58/64).

·         “The Conference on Disarmament decision (CD/1547) of 11 August 1998 to establish, under item 1 of its agenda entitled ‘Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament’, an ad hoc committee to negotiate, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator” (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein, a non-discriminatory, multilateral, internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (Japan, 58/57) urge the CD to agree on a program of work, including the immediate commencement of negotiations on an ban on fissile material.

·         “Missiles” (Iran, 58/37) establishes a Panel of Governmental Experts in 2004 to explore further the issue of missiles in all its aspects, and to submit a report to the 59th session of the GA.

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)” (Australia, 58/71) stresses the importance of signature, ratification, and achievement of the earliest entry into force of the CTBT and urged States to maintain moratoria on nuclear testing.

Nuclear-weapons-free zones:

·         Resolutions calling for the strengthening of NWFZs: “Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)” (Brazil, 58/31) and “African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba)” (Nigeria, 58/30).

·         Resolutions calling for the controversial establishment of NWFZs included: “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 58/34) and “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Brazil, 58/49). “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Uzbekistan, 58/518) was a draft decision to include this item on next year’s agenda, rather than a resolution as in the previous year’s session.

Other weapons of mass destruction:

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, 58/72) recalls the decision reached at the Fifth Review Conference of the States Parties to the BTWC in November 2002, and calls for State Parties to implement the decision.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Poland, 58/52) notes the First Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Convention in The Hague from 28 April to 9 May 2003, and the Political Declaration, in which the States Parties reaffirmed their commitment to the object and purpose of the CWC.

Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS):

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Sri Lanka, 58/36) calls on all States to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective. The CD is invited to establish an ad hoc committee on this issue as early as possible.

Conventional weapons:

·         “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (Colombia, Japan, and South Africa) was put to a vote, with one country, the United States, voting against the resolution due to the funding requirements. The resolution decides to convene a conference no later than 2006 to review the progress made in the implementation of the Program of Action, as well as a second biennial meeting of states in 2005 (the first was held in July 2003). In addition, it calls for the development of an international instrument to trace SALW, and to establish an open-ended working group to pursue this matter, beginning with a meeting on 3-4 February 2004.

·         A new resolution, “Promotion at the regional level in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of the United Nations programme of action on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects,” (Several co-sponsors, 58/55) emphasizes the need for regional and subregional measures to combat SALW and highlights the OSCE’s “best practices” guide.

·         “National legislation on transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology” (Netherlands, 58/42) invites Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations, and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment, and dual-use goods and technology, while ensuring that these are consistent with States Parties’ obligations under international treaties. Member States are encouraged to provide, on a voluntary basis, information on the above to the UN secretary-general who will make it available to other Member States.

·         “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” (Several co-sponsors, 58/69) calls on all countries to join the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocols; notes the decision of the Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW held on 12 and 13 December 2002 that the Working Group on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)  would continue its work in 2003 with the mandate to negotiate an instrument on post-conflict remedial measures to reduce the risks of ERW as well as to continue to consider the implementation of relevant existing principles of international humanitarian law. It also notes the decision of the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention that the Working Group on Mines other than Anti-Personnel Mines would continue its work in 2003 with the mandate to consider the possibility of concluding a negotiating mandate for a new instrument and other appropriate measures; and encourages the Group to submit a possible proposal for an instrument on ERW to States Parties for consideration at their meeting on 27 and 28 November 2003.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (Thailand, 58/53) invites States to join and comply with the Anti-personnel Landmine Ban Convention; calls for rehabilitation and reintegration of mine victims, mine risk education programs and the removal of anti-personnel mines;  and requests the Secretary-General to convene the Convention’s First Review Conference in Nairobi from 29 November to 3 December 2004.

Confidence-building measures (CBM), including transparency in armaments:

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Co-sponsors, 58/54) endorses the report of the Secretary-General on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development and the recommendations from the consensus report of the 2003 group of governmental experts; decides to modify the scope of the Register according to the recommendations of the 2003 group of governmental experts; and calls upon Member States to provide the Secretary-General annually with requested data for the Register, and to provide additional information on procurement from national production and military holdings.

·         “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context” (Pakistan, 58/43) calls on Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force in the settlement of disputes, such as promoting bilateral and regional confidence-building measures.

Other disarmament matters:

·         “Improving the effectiveness of the methods of work of the First Committee” (United States, 58/41) requests the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the issue of improving the effectiveness of the methods of work of the First Committee, and to prepare a report compiling these views to be submitted at the 59th session of the GA.

·         “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” (India, 58/48) urges all Member States to undertake and strengthen international and national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD and related materials; and requests the Secretary-General to compile a report to present at the 59th session of the GA on measures for tackling the global threat posed by terrorists acquiring WMD.

·         “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (South Africa on behalf the Non-Aligned Movement, 57/63) reaffirms multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation; requests that States cooperate in resolving their concerns with regard to cases of non-compliance, and refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another.

2002: During its 2002 (57th) session, the UNGA adopted 50 resolutions and two decisions recommended by the First Committee. Four of these were new resolutions. The resolutions were divided into the following issues: nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; nuclear testing; nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ); other weapons of mass destruction; outer space (disarmament aspects); conventional weapons; confidence-building measures, including transparency in armaments; and other disarmament matters. Two resolutions were not adopted. Due to disagreement on the text, the resolution introduced by the Chairman, “Multilateral cooperation in disarmament and non-proliferation,” was not further pursued. The resolution introduced by Iraq on “Effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments,” as in the 56th session, was not adopted. The following is a summary of the major resolutions in each issue area from the 57th session (the lead sponsor is indicated by parentheses).

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         “Reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons” (New Agenda Coalition, 57/58) agreed that further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons should be carried out as an essential component in the disarmament process; and for the development of further confidence-building measures and a reduction in their operational status (newly introduced).

·         “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda” (New Agenda Coalition, 57/59) expressed concern for the lack of progress on the 13 practical steps towards disarmament agreed to in the NPT Review Conference Final Document in 2000. The 13 steps were reaffirmed and updated: called upon the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to establish an ad hoc committee to deal specifically with nuclear disarmament; wished to see the CTBT enter into force as soon as possible with confirmation of the moratorium on all test explosions; expressed deep concern about the continued retention of the nuclear weapons option by the three States that have not yet acceded to the NPT and called on them to do so and bring into force full-scope IAEA safeguards; called for the resumption of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT); called for the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and called on the CD to re-establish an ad hoc committee to deal with this issue; called on the nuclear-weapon States (NWS) to respect fully their existing commitments with regard to security assurances and for recommendations on this issue to be made to the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

·         “Bilateral strategic nuclear arms reductions and the new strategic framework” (Russian Federation and United States, 57/68) welcomed the commitment of the United States and the Russian Federation to strategic nuclear warhead reductions in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (Moscow Treaty), signed on 24 May 2002, and recognized the importance of the Group of Eight Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, launched by leaders at the Kananaskis Summit, held at Kananaskis, Canada, on 26 and 27 June 2002 (newly introduced).

·         “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 57/78) reaffirmed several aspects of the 13 practical steps unanimously agreed to in the NPT 2000 Review Conference Final Document, including universality of the NPT, immediate commencement of fissile material cut-off negotiations in the CD; and called for efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by confirming and strengthening export control.

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)” (Mexico, 57/100) stressed the importance of signature and ratification and achievement of the earliest entry into force of the CTBT and urged States to maintain moratorium on nuclear testing.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ):

·         “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, 57/69) noted the elaboration by experts of all five Central Asian States at the Samarkand meeting from 25-27 September 2002 of a draft treaty and its protocol for the establishment of a NWFZ in Central Asia and affirms consultations on the protocol, which the NWS are invited to ratify.

·         “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Brazil, 57/73); “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status” (Mongolia, 57/67); “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 57/55).

Other weapons of mass destruction:

·         “Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons” (Belarus, 57/50) reaffirmed the need to prevent new types of weapons that are just as destructive as WMD. The CD was the suggested venue to deal with this issue.

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, Dec. 57/516) requested the Secretary-General to render assistance for the Fifth Review Conference of the States Parties to the BTWC, which reconvened in Geneva from 11- 22 November 2002.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Canada, Poland, 57/82).

Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS):

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Egypt, 57/57) called on all States to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective. The CD was invited to establish an ad hoc committee on this issue as early as possible.

Conventional weapons:

·         “National legislation on transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology” (Netherlands, 57/66) invited Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations, and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment, and dual-use goods and technology, while ensuring that these are consistent with States Parties’ obligations under international treaties. Member States were called on to provide on a voluntary basis information on the above to the UN Secretary-General who will make it available to other Member States (newly introduced).

·         “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (Japan, 57/72) decided to convene the first of the biennial meetings of States as stipulated in the Program of Action 2001 to consider national, regional, and global implementation of the Program of Action in New York in July 2003. Welcomed the convening of the Group of Governmental Experts established to assist the Secretary-General to study the feasibility of developing an international instrument to enable States to identify and trace illicit small arms and light weapons and to submit the study to the GA at its 58th session.

·         “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” (Sweden, 57/98) urged all countries to join the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocols; and noted the mandate of the Second Review Conference for the establishment of a group of governmental experts with two separate coordinators to discuss ways and means to address the issue of explosive remnants of war and to further explore the issue of mines other than anti-personnel mines respectively.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (Belgium, 57/74) called on States to join and comply with the Anti-personnel Landmine Ban Convention; requested the Secretary-General to convene the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention at Bangkok from 15-19 September 2003.

Confidence-building measures (CBM), including transparency in armaments:

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Netherlands, 57/75) called upon Member States to report data to the UN Register of Conventional Arms; recalled its request to Member States to provide the Secretary-General with their views on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development and on transparency measures related to WMD; reminded them of the request to convene of a group of governmental experts in 2003 to report on the Register of Conventional Arms; called upon the CD to consider this issue; and requested Member States to cooperate at the regional and subregional level on this issue.

·         “Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements” (United States, 57/86) urged all States Parties to arms limitation and disarmament and nonproliferation agreements to implement and comply with the entirety of all provisions of such agreements, in light of the threat of international terrorism.

Other disarmament matters:

·         “Missiles” (Iran, 57/71) welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on the issue of missiles in all its aspects; and requested the Secretary-General with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts, to further explore the issue of missiles in all its aspects and prepare a report for the General Assembly’s 59th session (57/71).

·         “United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation” (Mexico, 57/60) took note of the United Nations study on disarmament and nonproliferation education, which contains a series of recommendations for immediate and long-term implementation by Member States, the United Nations and other international organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and the media.

·         “Relationship between disarmament and development” (South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, 57/65) requested the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts in 2003 to present a report to the 59th session of the GA with recommendations for a reappraisal of the relationship between disarmament and development in the current international context, as well as the future role of the organization in this connection.

·         “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” (Intro by India, 57/83) urged all Member States to undertake and strengthen international and national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD and related materials; and requested the Secretary-General to compile a report to present at the 58th session of the GA on measures for tackling the global threat posed by terrorists acquiring WMD.

·         “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (South Africa on behalf the Non-Aligned Movement, 57/63) reaffirmed multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation; requested that States cooperate in resolving their concerns with regard to cases of non-compliance, and refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another, to resolve their concerns.

·         “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (Russian Federation, 57/53) called for a group of governmental experts to be established in 2004, to prepare a study on this issue for the 60th General Assembly session (57/53).

2001: During its 2001 (56th) session, the UNGA adopted 45 resolutions and 6 decisions recommended by the First Committee. Those resolutions and decisions covered nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; nuclear testing; NWFZ; other weapons of mass destruction; PAROS and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; conventional weapons; CBMs, including transparency in armaments; and other disarmament matters. The following is a summary of the major resolutions in each issue area:

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its Preparatory Committee” (Algeria, 56/24O) took note of the decision of the Parties to the NPT to hold the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee in New York from 8-19 April 2002, leading up to the 2005 Review Conference of the NPT.

·         “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 56/24N) reaffirmed several aspects of the 13 practical steps agreed to in the NPT 2000 Review Conference Final Document, including universality of the NPT, immediate commencement of fissile material cut-off negotiations in the CD; and called for efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD by confirming and strengthening export control.

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty” (New Zealand, 56/415) noted the forthcoming Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT which was held in New York from 11 to 13 November 2001.

NWFZs:

·         “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Brazil, 56/24G) welcomed the steps taken to conclude further NWFZ treaties; called upon all States to consider relevant proposals to establish a NWFZ in the Middle East and South Asia; and called upon the States Parties and signatories of the treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok, and Pelindaba to promote the nuclear-weapon-free status of the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas.

·         “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 56/21); “Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)” (Mexico, 56/30).

·         African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty” (Sudan, on behalf of the Group of African States, 56/17) called upon African States to sign and ratify the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) so that it may enter into force.

PAROS and the ABM Treaty:

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Sri Lanka, 56/23) called upon all States to contribute actively to the objectives of the peaceful use of outer space (PAROS) and the prevention of an arms race in outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to those objectives, and invited the CD to establish an ad hoc committee on PAROS as early as possible.

·         “Preservation of and compliance with the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems” (Russian Federation, 56/24A) called on each of the States Parties to preserve and strengthen the ABM Treaty through full and strict compliance so that it remains the cornerstone in maintaining global strategic stability and world peace and in promoting further strategic nuclear arms reductions.

Biological, toxic, and chemical weapons:

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Canada, 56/24K) urged all States Parties to the CWC to meet in full and on time their obligations under the Convention and to support the OPCW in its implementation activities.

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, 56/414) decided to request the Secretary-General to provide services as may be required for the Fifth Review Conference which was held at Geneva from 19 November-7 December 2001.

·         “Prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes” (Sudan, on behalf of the Group of African States, 56/24L) expressed concern about radiological warfare and the dumping of nuclear or radiological wastes; welcomed the entry into force in 2001 of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, and called on States to join the Convention; called on the CD to include, as part of the negotiations of a convention on the prohibition of radiological weapons, the dumping of radioactive wastes.

Conventional weapons and transparency in armaments:

·         “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (Columbia, 56/24V) endorsed the Program of Action adopted at the 2001 UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and welcomed the progress achieved so far in adopting the program; encouraged cooperation among States, international organizations, and civil society in combating illicit traffic in small arms and supporting the process of collecting and destroying such arms. Also called for a UN study on the feasibility of developing an international instrument to trace small arms and light weapons.

·         “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” (Sweden, 56/28) urged all countries to join and comply with the CCW and its Protocols; welcomed the convening, on 10 December 2001, of the Third Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II, in accordance with article 13 thereof, and called upon all States parties to amended Protocol II to address at that meeting the question of holding the fourth annual conference in 2002.

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (Nicaragua, 56/24M) called on States to join and comply with the Convention; requested the Secretary-General to convene the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention at Geneva from 16-20 September 2002.

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Netherlands, 56/24Q) called upon Member States to provide the Secretary-General with the requested data and information for the UN Register of Conventional Arms; recalled its request to Member States to provide the Secretary-General with their views on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development and on transparency measures related to WMD; and invited the CD to consider continuing its work in the field of transparency in armaments.

Other disarmament matters:

·         “Multilateral cooperation in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation and global efforts against terrorism” (Chairman, 56/24 T) emphasized that progress is urgently needed in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation in order to help maintain international peace and security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism; called upon all Member States to renew and fulfill their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation as an important means of pursuing and achieving their common objectives in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation (newly introduced).

·         “Missiles” (Iran, 56/24B) welcomed the establishment of the Panel of Governmental Experts on “the issue of missiles in all its aspects” and requested the Secretary-General to continue seeking views on the issue from Member States to report at the 57th session of the GA.

·         “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (Russian Federation, 56/19) requested the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts in 2004 to conduct a study on the issue.

2000: At its 2000 (55th) session, the UNGA adopted 50 resolutions dealing with disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation recommended by the First Committee. The resolutions dealt with nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; nuclear testing; NWFZs; PAROS and the ABM Treaty; biological, toxic, and chemical weapons; conventional weapons, including transparency in armaments; and other disarmament matters. The following is a summary of the major resolutions in each issue area:

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda” (New Agenda Coalition, 55/33C) took into consideration the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States, in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament. All States Parties to the Treaty are committed under article VI of the Treaty to nuclear disarmament. States must take practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to implement article VI of the NPT and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the “Decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament” of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty.

·         “2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” (Algeria, 55/33D) welcomed the adoption by consensus on 19 May 2000 of the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, including in particular the documents entitled “Review of the operation of the Treaty, taking into account the decisions and the resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference” and “Improving the effectiveness of the strengthened review process for the Treaty.”

·         “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 55/33R) reaffirmed several aspects of the 13 practical steps agreed to in the NPT 2000 Review Conference Final Document, including universality of the NPT, immediate commencement of fissile material cut-off negotiations in the CD; and called for efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD by confirming and strengthening export control.

Recurring GA texts on nuclear nonproliferation:

·         “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (Egypt, on behalf of the League of Arab States, 55/36, 56/27, 57/97); “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (Intro by Pakistan, 55/31, 56/22, 57/56); “The Conference on Disarmament decision (CD/1547) of 11 August 1998 to establish, under item 1 of its agenda entitled ‘Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament,’ an ad hoc committee to negotiate, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein, a non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (Canada, 55/33Y, 56/24J, 57/80); “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (Intro by India, 55/34G, 56/28, 57/98); “Reducing nuclear danger” (Intro by India, 55/34G, 56/24C, 57/84); “Nuclear Disarmament” (Intro by Myanmar, 55/33T, 56/24R, 57/79).

 

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty” (Australia, 55/41) stressed the importance and urgency of signature and ratification to achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT; and urged States to maintain their moratoria on nuclear weapons test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, pending the entry into force of the Treaty.

NWFZs:

·         “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (55/33I, Brazil) welcomed the steps taken to conclude further NWFZ treaties, called upon all States to consider relevant proposals to establish a NWFZ in South Asia, and called upon the States Parties and signatories of the treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok, and Pelindaba to promote the nuclear-weapon-free status of the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas.

·         “Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean” (Mexico, 55/39); “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 55/30); and “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, 55/33W).

PAROS and the ABM Treaty:

·         “Preservation of and compliance with the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems” (Russian Federation, 55/33B) called on each of the States Parties to preserve and strengthen the ABM Treaty through full and strict compliance.

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Egypt, 55/32) called upon all States to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and of the prevention of an arms race in outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective, and invited the CD to establish an ad hoc committee on PAROS as early as possible during the 2001 session.

Biological, toxic and chemical weapons:

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Poland, 55/33H) urged all States Parties to the CWC to meet in full and on time their obligations under the Convention and to support the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its implementation activities.

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, 55/40) welcomed the progress so far in negotiating a protocol to strengthen the BTWC and called upon all States Parties to redouble their efforts in order to complete the protocol; and noted that the Fifth Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention will be held at Geneva from 19 November-7 December 2001, and that, after appropriate consultation, a Preparatory Committee for that Conference, open to all States Parties to the Convention, was established and will meet at Geneva from 25-27 April 2001.

Conventional weapons, including transparency in armaments:

·         “Illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons” (South Africa, 55/33Q) decided to convene the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in July-August 2001, and to convene the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference from 19-30 March 2001 in New York.

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Netherlands, 55/33U) called upon Member States, with a view to achieving universal participation, to provide the Secretary-General by 31 May annually the requested data and information for the UN Register of Conventional Arms; recalled its request to Member States to provide the Secretary-General with their views on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development and on transparency measures related to WMD; requested the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts, to convene a meeting in 2003 to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development, taking into account the work of the CD; and invited the CD to consider continuing its work in the field of transparency in armaments .

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel mines and on Their Destruction” (Norway, 55/33V) urged all countries to sign and ratify the Convention to do so without delay and requested the Secretary-General to convene the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention at Managua, from 18-21 September 2001.

·         “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” (Sweden, 55/37) urged all countries to join and comply with the CCW and its Protocols; decided to convene the second session from 2-6 April 2001 and the third session from 24-28 September 2001.

Other disarmament matters:

·         “Missiles” (Iran, 55/33A) requested the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts to be established in 2001 to prepare a report for the GA at its 57th session on the issue of missiles in all its aspects.

·         “United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education” (Mexico, 55/33E) requested the Secretary-General to prepare, with the assistance of a group of qualified governmental experts, a study on disarmament and nonproliferation, inviting representatives of organizations of the United Nations system, university educators, disarmament and peace-related institutes, and non-governmental organizations.

1997-1999: The 54th session (1999) of the UNGA adopted 48 draft resolutions and four draft decisions submitted by the First Committee. The 53rd session (1998) of the UNGA adopted 48 draft resolutions and one draft decision. In the 52nd session (1997), the First Committee submitted 43 draft resolutions and two draft decisions. The resolutions covered the issue areas of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, nuclear testing, NWFZs, biological and chemical weapons, conventional weapons, and other issues. The following is a summary of the major resolutions in each issue area:

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation:

·         “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (Egypt, on behalf of the League of Arab States, 54/57, 53/80, 52/41) called on Israel to accede to the NPT, not to acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce their possession, and, as a confidence-building measure, to place its nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.

·         “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda” (New Zealand, 54/54G; Ireland, 53/77Y) called for a new agenda for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

·         “Nuclear disarmament” (Myanmar, 54/54P, 53/77X, 52/38L) called for a step-by-step program of deep nuclear weapon reductions within a time-bound framework and a halt in the qualitative improvement, development, production, and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, as well as the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the CD.

·         “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (Pakistan, 54/52, 53/75, 52/36) called for the creation of a negative security assurance instrument.

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (India, 54/55D, 53/78D), 52/39C) requested the CD to begin negotiations to reach agreement on an international convention to prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

·         “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (Malaysia, 54/54Q, 53/77W, 52/38O) called again on NWS to fulfill their obligation to pursue and bring to a conclusion nuclear disarmament negotiations under the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

·         “Bilateral nuclear arms negotiations and nuclear disarmament” (United States and Russian Federation, 53/77Z, 52/38M) urged the Russian Federation and the United States to begin START III negotiations immediately after the ratification of START II by the Russian Federation.

·         “Nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons” (Japan, 54/54D, 53/77U, 52/38K) called for nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, including several specific steps; underlined the vital importance of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT for the preservation and strengthening of the regime, and called upon NWS to intensify their efforts with a view to reaching an agreement on updated objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, based on the review of the achievements since 1995.

Nuclear testing:

·         “Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty” (Mexico, 54/63) endorsed the Final Declaration of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, called on States to sign and/or ratify the CTBT, and to cease nuclear testing until its entry into force.

·         In the 53rd session, a draft resolution on the CTBT calling for signatures and ratifications as well as the establishment of a verification regime by the CTBTO, was withdrawn and replaced by a Decision to include the item in the next session of the GA. The same decision was adopted in the 52nd session.

·         “Nuclear testing” (Canada, 53/77G) condemned the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan and called on States to sign and/or ratify the CTBT.

NWFZs:

·         “Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)” (Mexico, 54/60, 53/83, 52/45); “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (Brazil, 54/54L, 53/77Q, 52/38N); “The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba)” (Group of African States, 54/48, 52/46); and “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (Egypt, 54/51, 53/74, 52/34); “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia” (Uzbekistan, 54/417, 53/77A, 52/38S); “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status” (Mongolia, 53/77D); and “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia” (Pakistan and Bangladesh, 52/35).

Chemical and biological weapons:

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Canada and Poland, 54/54E, 53/77R, 52/38T) stressed the importance of universality, full implementation and compliance with the CWC.

·         “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction” (Hungary, 54/61, 53/84, 52/47) called on all States to sign and/or ratify the BTWC, and on the States Parties to accelerate and conclude the Ad Hoc Committee negotiations on a protocol to strengthen the regime.

Conventional weapons:

·         “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (Mozambique, 54/54B; Canada, 53/77N; 52/38A) invited non-parties to sign or, upon entry into force, accede to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention. “Contributions towards banning anti-personnel landmines” (52/38 H) called on the CD to engage in intensified efforts to address the landmines issue.

·         “Small Arms” called for the convening of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, to be held in June of 2001 (54/54V), called for a study on small arms and light weapons reduction and control (Japan, 53/77E), and endorsed the recommendations of the Panel of Government Experts on Small Arms and called on States to implement them in cooperation with regional and international organizations, the police, intelligence services, customs, and border control (Japan, 52/38J).

·         “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them” (Mali, 54/54J, 52/38C) encouraged cooperation among States, international organizations and civil society in combating illicit traffic in small arms and supporting the process of collecting such arms.

·         “Illicit traffic in small arms” (South Africa, 54/54R, 53/77T) requested the Secretary-General to submit information on the measures to combat illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and the role of the United Nations in collecting, collating, sharing, and disseminating information on illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons; and invited Member States to implement necessary measures related to this class of weapons, bilaterally, regionally and through multilateral channels, such as the UN.

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Egypt, 54/54I, 53/77S, 52/38B) requested the Secretary-General, with the assistance of the group of governmental experts to be convened in the year 2000 to report to the UNGA at its 55th session on the inclusion of weapons of mass destruction in the UN Register on Conventional Arms to promote greater transparency and invited the CD to consider continuing its work undertaken in the field of transparency in armaments.

·         “Transparency in armaments” (Netherlands, 54/54O, 53/77V, 52/38R) requested the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2000, to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development and invited the CD to consider continuing its work undertaken in the field of transparency in armaments.

Other disarmament matters:

·         “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, 54/54U, 53/77AA, 52/38F) decided to convene the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (SSOD IV), provided there emerges a consensus on the objective and agenda for the session.

·         “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (Sri Lanka, 54/53; Egypt, 53/76; Sri Lanka, 52/37) called for the prevention of an arms race in outer space and the establishment of an ad hoc committee on this subject in the CD.

·         “The Conference on Disarmament decision to establish, under item 1 of its agenda entitled ‘Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament’ an ad hoc committee to negotiate, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein, a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (Canada, 53/77I) encouraged the re-establishment of the ad hoc committee in the CD and continued negotiations on a ban on fissile material production for nuclear explosives.

·         “Preservation of and compliance with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty” (Russian Federation, 54/54A) called for the preservation of the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone in maintaining global strategic stability and promoting nuclear arms reductions.

·         “Missiles” (Iran, 54/54F) requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of all Member States on the issue of missiles in all its aspects, and to submit a report to the UNGA’s 55th session.

·         “Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace” (Non-Aligned Movement, 54/47, 52/44) called for the implementation of a Zone of Peace in the Indian Ocean.

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The First Committee of the UNGA debates disarmament, nonproliferation, arms control, and international security issues, recommending resolutions and decisions for adoption by the plenary session of the UNGA.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2016.