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 1999

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09 Jan 2000
9789210580168 (PDF)

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The volume 24 compiles the disarmament resolutions and decisions of the fifty-fourth 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 1999 on key issues of multilateral consideration at the international and regional levels. Reviews the activity of the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission. Contains a timeline that highlights events in multilateral disarmament in 1999.
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  • Foreword
    Successes in the field of disarmament often occur quietly and incrementally over many years, while setbacks—the detonations, flight tests, illicit arms transfers, and so on— often make the big headlines. This unfortunate irony complicates the process of describing or assessing progress in this field. It is not difficult, for example, to identify many setbacks for disarmament in 1999
  • Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues
    Since the beginning of the nuclear age questions concerning nuclear weapons and non-proliferation have been discussed within and outside the United Nations and a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements have been signed by which the existing nuclear weapons have been reduced, their deployment excluded from certain environments and regions and international norms against their proliferation and nuclear testing established.
  • Biological and chemical weapons
  • Conventional weapons issues
    Issues related to the regulation and reduction of conventional arms and armed forces have been dealt with by the United Nations since its founding. The need to address conventional disarmament in a comprehensive fashion was increasingly recognized within the United Nations system during the 1980s. The international community has tackled the issue of conventional arms through two basic approaches: the banning, reduction or placing of restrictions on arms through treaties, on the one hand, and the promotion of transparency and confidence-building on the other. These approaches have been applied at subregional, regional and global levels.
  • Regional disarmament
    Regional approaches to disarmament and to confidence-building measures have been applied by States to enhance their security and to address perceived security threats coming from their neighbours and others within their region. Although the Charter of the United Nations had envisaged a substantive role for regional organizations in promoting international peace and security, it was not until the end of the cold war that regional and subregional organizations assumed a more active role. The need for a regional approach to disarmament was stressed in two 1992 reports of the Secretary-General, and at its 1993 session, the Disarmament Commission (UNDC) adopted by consensus “Guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security”. The three regional centres of the Department for Disarmament Affairs (DDA) provide practical support for these approaches in Africa, in Asia and the Pacific, and in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Other issues
    In 1999, there were a number of issues that had, in most instances, been before the international community for some time, but that, for a variety of reasons, were not directly addressed to any great extent in the different disarmament forums. They were, however, the subject of resolutions in the General Assembly. They are dealt with in this chapter under the title “Other issues”, because they do not lend themselves to placement in any of the topical chapters of this volume, nor do they share a common theme among themselves. This chapter thus covers: outer space; the role of science and technology, new weapons of mass destruction; information security; the relationship between disarmament and development; and arms limitation and disarmament agreements: observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of treaties.
  • Institutional aspects
    The General Assembly and the Security Council are the main organs under the Charter dealing with matters of disarmament and the regulation of armament. The existing disarmament machinery, as set out in the Final Document of the General Assembly at its first special session devoted to disarmament, in 1978, has remained essentially the same. It consists of the General Assembly and its two subsidiary bodies, namely, the First Committee and the Disarmament Commission (UNDC), and the Conference on Disarmament (CD)—the “single multilateral negotiating forum” on disarmament of the international community. In addition, questions of disarmament are dealt with in other international frameworks established on the basis of multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements.
  • Studies and information
    The United Nations carries out information and training activities in the field of disarmament through expert studies on various topics, an information programme, publication research.
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