The Office for Disarmament Affairs provides substantive and organizational support to Member States in the area of disarmament through the work of the General Assembly and its First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament, and other bodies. It fosters preventive disarmament measures, such as dialogue, transparency, and confidence-building on military matters, and encourages regional disarmament efforts. It also provides information on UN disarmament efforts. The ODA supports the development and implementation of practical disarmament measures after a conflict, such as disarming and demobilizing former combatants and helping them to reintegrate into civil society.
The ODA promotes the goals of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and the strengthening of disarmament regimes with respect to other WMD. It also promotes disarmament efforts in the area of conventional weapons, especially landmines and small arms, the weapons of choice in contemporary conflicts.
The ODA was originally established as the Department for Disarmament Affairs (DDA) in 1982—upon the recommendation of the General Assembly’s second special session on disarmament (SSOD II)—and continued until 1992. It was re-established in January 1998 by General Assembly Resolution 52/12.
In early 2007, newly elected Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, proposed a reorganization of the DDA from an independent department to an office under the Department of Political Affairs. He reasoned that this would allow greater proximity and involvement of the Secretary General in disarmament matters, which he aimed to make a high priority of his tenure. This proposal, however, was met with swift and strong opposition from many in the disarmament community in both government and civil society who viewed such an adjustment as a US effort to significantly downgrade the importance of disarmament within the UN. In the end, a compromise was reached: the Department for Disarmament Affairs was renamed the Office for Disarmament Affairs while its staff, organizational structure, and mandate remained intact. The position of Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs was renamed High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Angela Kane of Germany was appointed as High Representative in March 2012.
The ODA works on a budget of just over $10 million per year, which covers operations and offices in New York, Geneva, Lome, Lima, and Kathmandu. At the beginning of 2009, 108 staff members were assigned as follows: New York – 57 (plus 10 working for the 1540 Committee); Geneva – 14; Lome – 10; Lima – 14; Kathmandu – 3.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch (New York)
The WMD Branch provides substantive support for the WMD disarmament activities of the UN. It follows closely all developments and trends with regard to all aspects of WMD in order to keep the secretary-general fully informed and to provide information to Member States and the international community. It supports and participates in multilateral efforts to strengthen the nonproliferation of WMD and cooperates with the relevant intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies of the UN system, in particular the IAEA, the OPCW, and the CTBTO PrepCom. It also provides substantive and secretariat support to the States Parties to the NPT.
Conventional Arms Branch (New York)
The Conventional Arms Branch provides substantive support for UN efforts to prevent the proliferation of conventional weapons. This branch monitors trends, identifies emerging issues and challenges, analyzes their implications, and makes recommendations on possible strategies for the UN to maintain conventional weapons control and practical disarmament. It also serves as a focal point within the Department and the Secretariat for the implementation of mandates pertaining to the disarmament components of peace operations undertaken by, or in conjunction with the UN. Additionally, the branch is the lead agency of the Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) mechanism, which was established by the secretary-general in 1998 to harmonize policy and coordinate action by the various UN agencies working in this field.
To enhance the level of transparency in military matters, and contribute to confidence-building and security among States, the branch operates two transparency measures—the UN Register of Conventional Weapons and the Standard Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures. It also provides secretariat services to the Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, which was established by the General Assembly to promote arms restraint, disarmament, and confidence-building measures in the central African sub-region. The branch supports the implementation of practical disarmament measures after a conflict, such as disarmament and demobilization of former combatants and helping them to reintegrate into civil society.
Regional Disarmament Branch (New York)
The Regional Disarmament Branch carries out the DDA’s responsibilities on the regional level and from a regional perspective. Its field of expertise comprises arms control and disarmament initiatives at regional and sub-regional levels, cross-fertilization of disarmament ideas and initiatives across regions, consolidation and cooperation with regional groupings, landmines and explosive remnants of war, as well as gender-related aspects of disarmament.
This branch also oversees and coordinates the activities of the three Regional Centers for Peace and Disarmament located in Asia (Kathmandu, Nepal), Africa (Lomé, Togo), and Latin America (Lima, Peru). The centers were established to promote regional cooperation in order to contribute to the implementation and coordination of regional activities under the UN Disarmament Information Program, and to facilitate the development of effective measures of confidence-building, arms limitation, and disarmament.
Information and Outreach Branch (New York)
IOB organizes a wide variety of special events and programs in the field of disarmament, produces UNODA publications (such as the Disarmament Yearbook and ODA Occasional Papers), updates content and design of the UNODA website, and maintains databases for specialized areas (Status and Texts of Disarmament Treaties, General Assembly Resolutions and Decisions and UNODA Documents Library).
Conference on Disarmament Secretariat & Conference Support Branch (Geneva)
The main activities of the Geneva Branch of the ODA include providing secretariat, administrative, and substantive support to the Conference on Disarmament; maintaining a reference library of documentation relating to disarmament and international security; providing secretariat, administrative, and substantive support to conferences and meetings on multilateral disarmament agreements held in Europe; and overseeing the implementation of the UN disarmament fellowship, training, and advisory services program.
On 27 April, the UNODA highlighted the importance of official launch of EU Council Decision 2016/51/CFSP in support of the BWC during the 8th BWC Review Conference. The EU Council Decision will provide 2.34 million EUR to six BWC projects over the next three years.
On 20 January, the Conference on Disarmament opened its 2015 session. Michael Møller, Acting Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, delivered Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s message to the Conference on Disarmament. In the message, Secretary-General stressed the great need of multilateral disarmament. Mexico, Germany, the United States, France, and other countries delivered statements at the meeting.
On January 28, the 63rd session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matterswas held in Geneva. High Representative Angela Kane delivered a statement. She stressed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the development of humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament, and the commencement of the destruction of remaining chemical weapons production facilities in Syria. She also expressed the importance of three topics the Board has chosen for 2015: the role of arms control in managing conflicts, new challenges to disarmament and the increasing role of non-state actors, and the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
On 2 March, High Representative Angela Kane delivered a statement on the Annual NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation in Doha, Qatar. She addressed the importance of nuclear disarmament and urged NATO to play an important role.
On 26 March, the UN Secretary-General made a statement on the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention. He emphasized the important role of the BWC and called on the holdout countries to join the Convention.
On 20 April, High Representative Angela Kane delivered a speech on the Informal Meeting for the First Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty in Vienna.
On 6-24 April, the United Nations Disarmament Commission session for 2015 was held in New York.
On 6 April, High Representative Angela Kane delivered an opening statement, addressing the issue of nuclear and conventional weapons. Despite three weeks of debate and exchange of views, no consensus documents were reached.
During the 2015 NPT Review Conference (27 April--22 May 2015), High Representative Angela Kane participated in several side events and delivered speeches: “Promoting a Successful Outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference”, and “Challenging the Status Quo: A Generation Rising for Peace, Justice, and Nuclear Abolition”. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson delivered Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message at the opening session.
On 29 May, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies jointly organized a meeting with the aim of benefiting the 1540 Committee’s 2016 Comprehensive Review of resolution 1540 (2004). Former members of 1540 Group of Experts attended the meeting.
On 1-5 June, the Second Meeting of Government Experts (MGE2) on small arms and light weapons was held in New York. Participants discussed recent developments, technology transfer, and other relevant issues. The meeting adopted the draft report and the Chair provided a summary.
On 2-3 June, UNODA and the government of Jordan cooperatively organized a regional workshop on the implementation of UNSC resolution 1540 (2004) for member States of the League of Arab States in Amman.
On 17 June, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific and the Government of Bangladesh jointly held a workshop on confidence building for small arms control. The workshop aimed at improving Bangladesh’s capacity to implement the Arms Trade Treaty and the Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
On 29 June, Acting High Representative Kim Won-soo delivered an opening statement to the 64th session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs, addressing the outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the nonproliferation of conventional arms, and the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.
On 30 June, UNODA and the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) jointly hosted a seminar on “Voluntary National Implementation Action Plans for United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).” Participating countries discussed national practices to implement the plans and cooperation with international and regional organizations.
On 5 August, Mr. Kim Won-Soo, Acting High Representative, delivered a message to all A- and H-bomb survivors gathered at the meeting of Ninon Hidankyo in Hiroshima.
From 10-14 August the Biological Weapons Convention meeting of Experts was held in Geneva.
On 26 August, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered a message to the 25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament issues.
On 22 September, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, in which he stated that the only absolute guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is their complete elimination.On 12 October, the UNODA published a study on armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with assistance from the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Human Rights Institute at the Columbia University School of Law.
From 13-17 January, Niger hosted a visit by the UN Security Council’s 1540 Committee. Participants discussed future steps in Niger’s implementation of UN resolution 1540.
From 12-14 February, the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and Mali’s National Commission for the Fight against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons held a workshop in Bamako to validate the country’s 2014-2018 National Action Plan to restrict the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons. This Plan is increasingly important given the current security situation in Mali, and calls upon MINUSMA and international partners to help combat the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
From 25-26 February, various civil society representatives, including non-governmental organizations, industry officials, and academics, met in New Delhi, India, to discuss effective measures in implementing UN resolution 1540.
From 6-7 March, Colombia, in partnership with United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons (BTWC) Implementation Support Unit, held a workshop on a national authority to implement the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). UNLIREC is a regional branch of UNODA.
On 7 March the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in cooperation with UNODA, hosted a Roundtable meeting to discuss “10 years of UNSC resolution 1540: Global and Regional efforts in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.”
From 24-25 March the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands.
From 7-11 April, UNODA organized a series meetings with the Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretariat concerning the international and regional implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).From 28-29 April the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), another UNODA regional branch, held a workshop in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia concerning the implementation of the BWC and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
On 28 April-9 May, the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT held its third session at the UN Office in New York. The PrepCom discussed matters of nuclear disarmament, security assurances, implementing treaty provisions, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and regional issues, particularly concerning the Middle East.
On 21 May, High Representative Angela Kane addressed the OSCE’s Joint Meeting of the Forum for Security Cooperation and the Permanent Council, recognizing the growing influence of the “humanitarian dimension of disarmament” and urging nuclear-weapon states to act in eliminating their arsenals.
On 5-6 June, UNODA held a workshop to assist Portuguese-speaking States to prepare reports pursuant to Security Council resolution1540 (2004) in Lomé, Togo.
On 16 June, High Representative Angela Kane made a speech on the 42th Session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), addressing the cooperation between CTBTO and the UNODA.
On 23 June, the UN Secretary-General made a statement welcoming the destruction and removal of Syria’s chemical weapons material and congratulating the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.
On 2 July, High Representative Angela Kane made a statement on the 62th session of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, emphasizing two issues: verification with a special focus on new technologies, and the disarmament security implications of emerging technologies.
On 11 July, High representative Angela Kane delivered a speech at the Organization of the American States (OAS) Headquarters, addressing the UN’s contributions in implementing Resolution 1540.
On 6 August, High Representative Angela Kane delivered a message from the Secretary-General to the 2014 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. The Secretary-General congratulated all participants’ contributions and urged states to continue efforts to build a nuclear-weapons-free world. The High Representative also made a statement at the conference.
On 25 August, the Secretary-General called for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in a message to the International Day against nuclear tests.
On 8-9 September, the First Round of Informal Consultations to Prepare for the First Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty was held in Mexico City. High Representative Angela Kane addressed the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
On 25 September, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) reached 50 ratifications. Pursuant to its article 22, the treaty will enter into force on 24 December. The Secretary-General remarked that “The need for the [Arms Trade Treaty] remains abundantly clear… we must work for its efficient implementation and seek its universalization.”
From 8-10 October, to help prepare states in Latin America and the Caribbean for the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) developed a training course on the ATT in San Jose, Costa Rica.
From 7 October to 4 November, the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee was held.
On 1 December, High Representative Angela Kane delivered Secretary-General’s message to the 19th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, in which Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the use of chemical weapons and emphasized the significance of Convention.
On 8-10 January, the first Civil Society Forum in support of Security Council Resolution 1540 met in Vienna. More than 50 organizations from nongovernmental, academic, think tank, and industrial sectors met to discuss opportunities for the civil society sector to contribute on the implementation of the key requirements of Res. 1540.
On 30 January-1 February, the 24th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues met in Shizouka, Japan with the theme of “Creating a Peaceful and Safe Future: Pressing Issues and Potential Solutions.” The conference addressed a variety of issues including the humanitarian dimensions of nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapon-free zones, challenges to the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation regime, nuclear safety and security, small arms and light weapons control, the role of civil society in promoting disarmament, and disarmament and nonproliferation education.
On 12 February, the Secretary-General condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear test.
On March 15, the final United Nations Conference on an Arms Trade Treaty began.
On 1-5 April the Group of Governmental Experts on Outer Space Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures held its second session. Particular regard was given to the nature and substance of transparency and confidence building measures (TCBMs) discussed at the first meeting.
On 2 April, an overwhelming majority of states in the General Assembly voted to create an Arms Trade Treaty regulating the international sale of weapons.
From 22 April-3 May, the Second NPT Preparatory Conference was held in Geneva.
On 29 April, the Secretary-General stated that a team of chemical weapons experts was ready to deploy to Syria within 24-48 hours.
On 23 May, High Representative Angela Kane addressed the OSCE’s inaugural Conference on Tracing Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.
On 30 May, High Representative Angela Kane delivered a speech to the NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation. The speech, titled “The Strategic Concept of Disarmament,” encouraged NATO members to recognize the similar stances taken by both the UN and NATO regarding nonproliferation. Kane also recommended that NATO draft and adopt a Strategic Concept paper on the subject of nuclear disarmament.
On 3 June, the Arms Trade Treaty was opened for signature. Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Representative Angela Kane gave statements applauding the international community for its efforts in passing the ATT.
On 2 July, High Representative Angela Kane addressed the IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts. She highlighted recent UN nonproliferation activity, the importance of nuclear security, and the work of the 1540 Committee.
On 6 August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, praising continued disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.
On 10 August, the Secretary-General released a report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Information Security.
On 14 August, the Secretary-General released a statement regarding Investigations on the use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. The statement declared that the Government of Syria had accepted the conditions for cooperation to ensure the destruction of its chemical weapon stockpile.
On 22 August, the Secretary-General issued a report on the activities of UNIDIR.
On 23 August, the Secretary-General issued a report on the work of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.
On 16 September, the Secretary-General released a report on the alleged use of chemical weapons regarding the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.
On 18 September, the Secretary-General issued a message to the IAEA making clear the continuing concerns regarding proliferation.
On 20 September, the Russian Federation and the United States communicated a framework to the OPCW for the elimination of chemical weapons by Syria.
On 26 September, Heads of State, Governments and Foreign Ministers met for the High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament.
On 8 October, the High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, provided an opening statement to the First Committee on Disarmament and Security of the General Assembly.
On 6 February, Indonesia deposited its instrument of ratification of the CTBT to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Indonesia is the 157th country to submit its ratification, leaving eight states to ratify the treaty before it takes effect.
On 14 February, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Sergio Duarte, delivered the opening statement at an international seminar entitled “The Experience of the NWFZ in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Perspective Towards 2015 and Beyond” in Mexico City. His remarks commemorated the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
On 8 March, Sergio Duarte of Brazil stepped down as High Representative and Angela Kane of Germany was named the new High Representative.
On 26-27 March, the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit took place. On the agenda were three key issues; combating the threat of nuclear terrorism, protection of nuclear materials and facilities, and the prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
President Obama reiterated his concern about non-state actors pursuing nuclear material. Though no binding resolutions were reached, participating states did agree to take steps to reduce their use of highly enriched uranium.
The Summit did not include any mention of Iran’s or North Korea’s nuclear programs, but participating states voiced their requests for North Korea to drop its planned test of a long range missile.
On 27 March, through the UNODA, leaders attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul issued a communiqué. The document calls upon the international community to work together to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism and reaffirms the goals of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
Finally, leaders pledged to make every possible effort to achieve further progress in thirteen different areas:
- Promoting universal adherence to multilateral instruments that address nuclear security
- Backing the IAEA proposal to hold an international conference aimed at strengthening nuclear security activities in 2013
- Reaffirming the important role the IAEA plays in disarmament and nonproliferation issues
- Recognizing that plutonium and HEU need to appropriately secured and accounted for
- Encouraging States to minimize the use of HEU
- Understanding that radioactive sources are widely used and can be subject to malicious activities
- Affirming that nuclear security and safety measures should be designed, implemented, and managed in a coherent fashion
- Continuing to enhance the security of nuclear material during domestic and international transport
- Underscoring the need to develop national capabilities to detect, prevent, respond to, and prosecute the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials
- Recognizing that nuclear forensics can be an important tool in determining the origin of nuclear material, and can be used to prosecute illicit trafficking
- Encouraging States to share best practices and build national capabilities
- Preventing non-state actors from acquiring information, technology, or expertise required to obtain nuclear weapons
- Encouraging all states to enhance their physical protection and accounting of nuclear material
On 9 April, Niue signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. It became the 183rd country to do so.
On 27 April, the High Representative delivered a message to the First Preparatory Meeting of the Third Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties Establishing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia.
On 30 April, the High Representative of the UNODA gave a statement to the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. In the statement she urged states parties to continue to work in the spirit of compromise and flexibility that made the 2010 Review Conference so successful, reaffirmed that the NPT remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, and extended her best wishes for a successful session.
On 11 May, the States Parties to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. During their deliberations, the States parties reaffirmed their commitment to the NPT and underlined their resolve to seek a safer world for all and to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. They held focused discussions on implementation of the Treaty and of the commitments contained in the Final Document of the successful 2010 NPT Review Conference.
On 20 May, the High Representative delivered a message to the Parliament of New Zealand in New York regarding New Zealand’s 25th anniversary as part of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone. In her message, she praised New Zealand’s commitment to a nuclear-free world. From 2-27 July, UNODA served as the Secretariat of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. While the conference failed to agree on the text for a Treaty, progress was made in discussing the issues facing the treaty.
From 23-27 July, UNODA served as the Secretariat of the First Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on transparency and confidence building measures in outer space activities.
From 6-10 August, UNODA served as the Secretariat of the First Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the field of Information and Telecommunications in the context of International Security.
From 27 August - 7 September, UNODA served as the Secretariat of the Second Conference to Review the Programme of Action on Illicit Trade in Small Arms. During this review, the International Small Arms Control Standards were launched in order to examine how well States are implementing the Programme of Action.
On 25 September, UNODA launched its publication promoting women as forces of change in the combat against illicit trafficking in small arms in Latin America and Caribbean.
On 10 October, the Secretary-General met with Jaakko Laajava, the facilitator of the conference on the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, to discuss the preparations for convening the conference.
On 11 October, the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs visited the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs presenting a symbolic signature calling for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
On 22 October, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Angela Kane, was presented with a Communique from a delegation of civil society delegates of the Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit. The Communique was issued by 31 signatories, who called for “strong disarmament initiatives driven by humanitarian imperatives” in order to strengthen international law and protect civilians. Over 90 representatives from various non-governmental organizations and coalitions attended the Summit from 20-21 October.
On 2 November, the First Committee concluded its 67th Session, despite losing three days worth of meetings due to Hurricane Sandy. The Session began on 8 October and resulted in the approval of 53 resolutions and six decisions, which will be submitted to the General Assembly.
On 19 November, UNODA released a publication entitled, “Civil Society and Disarmament 2012 – Applying a Disarmament Lens to Gender, Human Rights, Development, Security, Education and Communication: Six Essays”.
On 14 December, UNODA published an occasional paper by Thomas Markram, Secretary-General of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch of the UNODA, entitled, “Options for the Further Strengthening of the NPT’s Review Process by 2015.” The paper analyzes the various proposals that have been suggested for strengthening the review process of the NPT. Importance was placed on a proposal’s practicality, as well as whether it could improve accountability and efficiency in the review process.
On 23 February, the High Representative delivered opening remarks to the 55th session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters held in New York. In his remarks, the High Representative focused on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament.
On 15 February, the High Representative delivered a message to the meetings organized by the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, launching a new signature campaign calling for the start of negotiations for a convention banning nuclear weapons.
On 24 May, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan was selected as a new Director-General of the Geneva Branch.
On 1 June, at the plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Alicia Victoria Arango Olmos of Colombia was selected as the new president of the Conference.
On 27 July, General Assembly held a meeting in New York as a follow up to the 2010 High-Level Meeting on the Conference on Disarmament and Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the Assembly, stating that the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is deadlocked and proposing ways for the world’s only multilateral disarmament negotiations forum to progress toward eliminating the threat posed by the nuclear weapons. The Secretary General stated, “If differences persist, we could consider the appointment of a high-level panel of eminent persons, as I have suggested. Alternatively, States could conduct negotiations in an ad hoc committee of the General Assembly or a United Nations conference.” He stressed the importance of multilateralism, the ideals of the United Nations, and the universal benefits of nuclear disarmament.
On 27-29 July, the 23rd United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues took place in Matsumoto, Japan. The theme of the meeting was “Urgent and United Action towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” and it was attended by participants from 24 countries representing governments, think tanks, international organizations, and academia. Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, opened the session by stating that all states must comply with the nonproliferation treaty and called for Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Syria to comply with the treaty. The Director General expressed IAEA’s continued support for the creation of nuclear weapons free zones and also committed to making nuclear technology essential for health care, food, and security purposes available to developing nations.
Other topics addressed at the event included a nuclear weapons convention, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Conference on Disarmament, Fissile Material Cut off Treaty, New START, implementation of the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan, and the role of civil society in the field of disarmament.
On 15 September, the Conference on Disarmament adopted its annual report to the General Assembly and concluded its 2011 session. Speakers at the discussion following the adoption expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made by the CD.
On 11 November, the UNODA began operations at its new offices in Vienna, Austria.
On 12 December, in Rio de Janeiro the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Sergio Duarte, gave a speech on the UN’s involvement in arms control. His speech aimed to explain why multilateral treaties and institutions related to arms control are valuable to maintaining international peace and security.
On 22 December, the UNODA released a publication entitled “Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons”. The document covers three questions: do nuclear weapons have any military utility? Would any use of nuclear weapons be illegal and immoral? Finally, does the mutual possession of nuclear weapons deter conflict?
The UNODA released an occasional paper on “Ways to Strengthen the Field of Verification.” The paper contained material presented to the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on disarmament Matters in 2009.
On 21 January, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Sergio Duarte, gave a luncheon address on “The 2010 NPT Review Conference: Forecasting the Outcome.”
From 2-4 February, a regional workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya that promoted the building of national and regional capacity to fully implement UNSCR 1540. The workshop was organized by Kenya and the United States in cooperation with UNODA.
UNODA, through its Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, held a seminar entitled “Enhancing International and Regional Cooperation to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate Illicit Brokering Small Arms and Light Weapons in East and South-East Asia.” The seminar was held from 18-19 February in Bangkok, Thailand.
The High Representative delivered opening remarks to the 53rd Session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, which convened from 24-26 February.
On 4 March, the High Representative delivered an opening statement at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference regarding Nuclear Weapons and the NPT.
On 10 March, the High Representative addressed a United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) event commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the entry into force of the NPT.
On 24 March, the High Representative addressed a conference at the George Washington University on the role of nuclear-weapon-free zones in the international nonproliferation and disarmament regime.
On 29 March, the High Representative addressed the opening session of the UN Disarmament Commission, noting a changing environment in which nuclear disarmament is “less and less relegated to the vague status of an ‘ultimate goal’ and more cited as an imperative for national and collective action.”
On 15 April, UNODA and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies co-organized a briefing for African states in preparation for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The briefing was held at the UN Headquarters and included presentations from the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and past NPT Review Conference presidents.
On 5 May, the High Representative delivered the key note address to a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IOU) on the occasion of the 2010 Review Conference on the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), held in New York. The IPU is a network that connects parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries and considers questions of international interest.
On 26 May, the High Representative gave remarks at a Mini Treaty Event marking the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by the Central African Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, held at U.N. headquarters in New York.
In June, UNODA released an occasional paper on “Cyberwarfare and Its Impact on International Security.” The paper contained material presented to the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on disarmament Matters in 2009 by James Andrew Lewis, Director of the Technology and Public Policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
On 24 June, the High Representative delivered a statement to the International Conference on Disarmament Issues in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Region, held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
In July, the High Representative published an article, entitled “Planting the Seeds of Disarmament,” in the summer issue of the Disarmament Times.
On 7 July, the High Representative delivered opening remarks to the 54th session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters held in Geneva, Switzerland. In his remarks, the High Representative commended the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and called on the members of the Advisory Board to develop new recommendations for the strengthening of the global disarmament agenda.
On 25-27 August, the 22nd session of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues was held in Saitama, Japan. Entitled “A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Making Steady Progress from Vision to Action,” the conference assessed the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and discussed concrete steps toward a nuclear-free world, such as cutting nuclear arsenals and de-emphasizing the role of atomic weapons in security doctrines. The High Representative delivered opening remarks.
On 9 September, an informal plenary of the UN General Assembly was held to commemorate the first International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The day was established in 2009 pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 64/35. UNODA, in cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan, organized a number of events for the occasion and contributed to its public promotion.
On 14 September, the High Representative delivered the keynote address to a conference “From Aspiration to Reality: Nuclear Disarmament after the NPT Review,” held in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference was sponsored by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Middle Powers Initiative.
From 28 September to 1 October, a regional workshop on promoting the building of national and regional capacity to fully implement UNSCR 1540 was held in Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop was organized by Vietnam and UNODA and received financial support from the European Union and the Governments of New Zealand, Norway and the United States.
On 4 October, the High Representative issued a statement to the First Committee of the General Assembly.
In November, UNODA released an occasional paper on “Promoting Further Openness and Transparency in Military Matters."
On 11-12 December, a regional workshop on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 concerning preventing terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The workshop was organized with UNODA support.
On 15-16 December, UNODA organized a meeting of international, regional and sub-regional organizations on cooperation in promoting the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540. The meeting was hosted by the government of Austria in Vienna.
On 18 February, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Sergio Duarte, gave opening remarks at the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters at UN Headquarters. He announced that the two principal items on the Board’s agenda for 2009 would be “1) cyber warfare and its effect on international security; and 2) ways to strengthen verification, including the role of the United Nations.”
In March, UNODA released an occasional paper on “Developing a Biological Incident Database.”
On 14 March, the High Representative made a statement entitled “Response to Remarks made by Chairman Boniface G. Chidyausiku,” at the Meeting on Prospects for the 2009 NPT PrepCom, held in Annecy, France. During the meeting, the High Representative spoke out against “dire predictions” of the “pending doom of the NPT regime,” saying that these concerns were only due to “nuclear activities in a tiny number of states.” At the same time, he called on the NPT States’ Parties to make “sustained, parallel progress in implementing all parts of the treaty.”
On 30 March, the High Representative gave opening remarks at the International Symposium on Nuclear Security held by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. He highlighted the importance of nuclear security as a “global public good,” while stressing that it needed to be achieved through the “rule of law.”
On 3 April, the High Representative gave opening remarks at a special briefing and strategy session entitled, “Contributions of the United Nations System in Advancing the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.” He urged the United States Senate to ratify the CTBT, asserting that this would help cause a “‘cascade’ of states to follow suit,” which would work towards the ultimate goal of “de-legitimizing nuclear weapons.”
The UNODA hosted a United Nations Workshop on Implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) from 8-11 March in Qatar and another from 29 April to 1 May in Vanuatu.
On 1 May at the Brookings Institutions in Washington, D.C., the High Representative gave “An Update on the Disarmament Cascade” at the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission’s final meeting. He spoke about the twin challenges of non-compliant states that threatened the NPT regime and the ultimate goal of general disarmament. He urged states not to focus solely on one of these issues but rather to work towards achieving both goals simultaneously.
Experts from 14 Member States attended the first training course on investigating the alleged use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons, held in Umeå, Sweden from 25 May to 5 June. The course was organized by the European Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Centre at the University of Umeå, with the support and cooperation of UNODA.
From 9-10 June, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) organized a “Regional workshop for Western African States on Transparency in Armaments.” Held in Dakar, Senegal, the workshop aimed at promoting the participation of West African States in United Nations mechanisms of transparency and openness in armaments and other military matters.
From 17-18 June, UNODA, through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), organized a regional seminar on “Enhancing International and Regional Cooperation to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate Illicit Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons in South Asia and Central Asia.” The seminar was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A regional workshop on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 23-25 June. The workshop was jointly organized by the governments of Sri Lanka and the United States, in cooperation with the UNODA.
On 1 July, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Sergio Duarte, issued opening remarks to the 52nd session of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters held in Geneva, Switzerland.
From 26-28 August, the 21st United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues was held in Niigata, Japan. Entitled “From Niigata to the World: Renewed Determination and Action Toward a Nuclear Weapon-Free World,” the conference discussed nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the upcoming 2010 NPT Review Conference. The discussion at the Conference focused on ways to translate desires into concrete actions for disarmament objectives such as bringing the CTBT into force and pursuing a fissile material treaty.
From 8-10 September a UN Workshop on Implementing Security Council Resolution 1540 was held in San José, Costa Rica. The primary goal of the workshop was to augment national capacities for managing export-control processes and to facilitate the sharing of information and best practices among participants. The workshop was the fourth of its kind, focusing on export, border, and customs controls and providing technical assistance for the implementation of resolution 1540. This workshop was tailored for Central American countries while the previous three addressed MERCOSUR (Brazil), Arab (Qatar), and Pacific Island States (Vanuatu).
On 14 September, the High Representative delivered UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the 53rd session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Austria. The message stressed the importance of the IAEA’s safeguards system and the need for universal adherence to the additional protocol. Other issues addressed included the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, nuclear safety and security, and cooperation in meeting new challenges associated with spent fuel, waste management and transportation. The Secretary General also reiterated his desire that all 25 non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT that have not brought their comprehensive safeguards agreements into force do so before the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
On 5 October, the High Representative issued a statement to the First Committee of the General Assembly.
On 12 October, the High Representative delivered an opening address at the Pugwash Consultation on the Status of the CTBT and Prospects for its Entry into Force in New York.
On 13 October, the High Representative delivered two additional statements before the UN First Committee on the “Current state of affairs in the field of arms control and disarmament and the role of the respective organizations,” and a “Follow-up of resolutions and decisions adopted by the First Committee.”
On 6 November, the High Representative delivered the keynote address at the International Conference on Reaching Nuclear Disarmament: The Role of Civil Society in Strengthening the NPT in Stockholm, Sweden.
On 16 November, the High Representative delivered the keynote address on the “Eighth United Nations-Republic of Korea Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues.”
From 7-10 December, the fifth regional UN workshop on implementing UNSC Resolution 1540 was held in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop was aimed at building national capacity for the management of export-control processes and at improving information- and experience-sharing between participating countries.
The UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Sergio Duarte, traveled to Washington, DC on 7 February and gave a presentation to the Organization of American States (OAS) on “The Consolidation of the Regime Established by the Treaty of Tlatelolco and to Promote the Full Force and Effect of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)”.
On 28 April, the High Representative addressed the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review in Geneva. He urged countries to work together “to achieve the Treaty’s three primary goals with the highest possible levels of accountability and transparency.”
UNODA announced the launch of its new website, designed to provide easy access to disarmament resources and research tools including the status and texts of treaties, UNGA resolutions and decisions, UNODA publications, and disarmament education.
In his first month in office, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon proposed reorganizing the Department of Disarmament Affairs to come under the Department of Political Affairs. Moon insisted this move was to allow for closer involvement and leadership on disarmament issues. This proposal received substantial opposition, especially from members of the non-aligned movement (NAM) who saw the reorganization as a downgrade in the importance of the DDA and a dramatic increase in the influence of the United States. In the end, a compromise was reached: the Department for Disarmament Affairs was renamed the Office for Disarmament Affairs while its staff, organizational structure, and mandate remained intact.
In December, the ODA launched a website to provide the public with current and informative content on the work of the 1540 Committee.
Point of Contact
Mr. Kim Won-soo
High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Office for Disarmament Affairs
New York, NY 10017 USA
Fax: (212) 963-1121
UNODA provides support to Member States on disarmament issues. It fosters preventive measures, such as dialogue, transparency, and confidence-building; encourages regional disarmament efforts; and provides information on UN disarmament efforts.