United Nations Disarmament Yearbook

2412-1193 (online)
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This publication has been a rich source of historical knowledge on developments, trends and achievements of multilateral disarmament for more than 30 years. In early spring of each year, Part I of the Yearbook is published containing an annual compilation of texts and statistics on disarmament-related resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly. In early Autumn, Part II is published presenting the main topics of multilateral consideration during the year, along with a convenient issues-oriented timeline.
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United Nations Disarmament Yearbook 1993

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31 Dec 1993
9789210579971 (PDF)

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The volume 18 compiles the disarmament resolutions and decisions of the forty-eighth session of the General Assembly, the voting patterns in the General Assembly and the First Committee report and dates of their adoption. It summarizes developments and trends in 1993 on key issues of multilateral consideration at the international and regional levels. Reviews the activity of the forty-eighth session of the General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission. Contains a timeline that highlights events in multilateral disarmament in 1993.
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  • Introduction
    During 1993, although threats to international peace were posed by ethnic strife and militant nationalism and fundamentalism, they did not prevent further progress towards disarmament. This was true particularly with respect to weapons of mass destruction. In that area, 1993 was a year of both achievement and promise, and this contributed to the further strengthening of international security.
  • Non-Proliferation
    Efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have been made, in parallel with disarmament efforts, since 1945. It has been said that the best way of preventing the spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction would be through their complete elimination from the arsenals of States. However, faced with difficulties in its efforts to reach the ultimate goal of all disarmament efforts, namely general and complete disarmament, the international community has undertaken a number of measures to prevent the spread of various categories of weapons and weapons systems, together with measures to achieve their reduction and elimination. These efforts have led to the establishment of a number of control regimes with regard to different categories of weapons.
  • Comprehensive test-ban treaty
    Since the 1950s, the question of the cessation of nuclear-weapon tests has been a prime objective of the United Nations. It has been a separate agenda item of the General Assembly each year since 1957. The General Assembly has adopted scores of resolutions calling for an end to nuclear-weapon testing—far more than on other issues of disarmament In addition, the question has been dealt with in several other multilateral disarmament bodies and has been the object of bilateral (USSR and United States) and trilateral (USSR, United Kingdom and United States) negotiations.
  • Transparency and the arms register
    Transparency, that is, the systematic provision of information under informal or formal international arrangements—like verification—was not until recently a concept closely associated with the rather secretive field of armaments. Advanced technology has, however, brought such changes in weaponry and altered the understanding of national security so greatly that what was valid yesterday is no longer the rule today. Indeed, in a world that has become much more integrated economically and politically, a world in which security in isolation is no longer possible, there are serious reasons for introducing a large measure of transparency (and the same is true of verification) in matters related to defence policies and armaments, with a view to reducing misunderstanding or miscalculation of military activities and thereby contributing to the development of trust and more stable relations between States. For these reasons, the General Assembly has, in many ways, promoted transparency in armaments as part of the general process of confidence-building.
  • Regional approaches to disarmament and security
    As stated in Article 52 of the United Nations Charter, nothing in the Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action, provided that such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. In the same Article it is stated that the Security Council shall encourage the development of pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such regional agencies either on the initiative of the States concerned or by reference from the Security Council. The General Assembly, for its part, in a great number of resolutions, has promoted regional approaches to disarmament and security. Over the years, regional organizations have been established in various parts of the world, supplementing the activities of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, providing means of coordinating regional political activity and, possibly, of resolving concerns of regional security.
  • Nuclear arms limitation, disarmament and related issues
    Questions concerning nuclear weapons have been considered within and outside the United Nations since the very beginning of the nuclear age. As a result of these considerations, a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements have been signed through which certain categories of weapons have been limited, reduced and eliminated.
  • Conventional weapons and advanced technologies
    The question of the reduction of conventional armaments and armed forces has been on the disarmament agenda of the United Nations since the Organization was created, albeit with varying degrees of emphasis. Efforts to regulate the build-up and transfer of such armaments were made as early as the mid-1960s and continue to this day. In addition, efforts have been made at the regional level with varying degrees of success, the most notable achievement being the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (1990).
  • Inhumane weapons convention
    The question of prohibiting or restricting the use of certain conventional weapons that may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects has been considered by the international community in various forums since the second half of the nineteenth century. In recent years, it has been dealt with under the aegis of the United Nations, the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
  • Outer space issues
    Since the beginning of the space age in 1957, problems related to outer space have been discussed in the United Nations, particularly in the General Assembly, in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and its subsidiary bodies, and in the Conference on Disarmament. The discussions have contributed to the conclusion of a number of international agreements concerning both peaceful and military aspects of the use of outer space.
  • Institutional aspects
    The framework for dealing with questions of disarmament, both within and outside the United Nations, has changed over the years in response to efforts to address more adequately the concerns of the international community. Under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly and the Security Council are the main organs dealing with matters of disarmament and the regulation of armaments. The existing disarmament machinery, as set out in the Final Document of the General Assembly at its first special session on disarmament, in 1978, has remained essentially the same. It consists of the General Assembly and its relevant subsidiary bodies, namely the First Committee and the Disarmament Commission, and the Conference on Disarmament—the “single multilateral negotiating forum” on disarmament of the international community. In addition, questions of disarmament are dealt with in other institutional frameworks established on the basis of multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements.
  • Studies; information and training; regional activities
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