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 2003

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10 June 2006
9789211557503 (PDF)

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The volume 28 compiles the disarmament resolutions and decisions of the fifty-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 2003 on key issues of multilateral consideration at the international and regional levels. Reviews the activity of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission. Contains a timeline that highlights events in multilateral disarmament in 2003.
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  • Foreword
    Since 1976, the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook has offered its readers a descriptive annual survey of key developments within the various components of the UN “disarmament machinery.” This machinery consists of a family of institutions that includes the Disarmament Commission (UNDC), the First Committee of the General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the Department for Disarmament Affairs and its three regional centres, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, and the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board for Disarmament Matters. The current edition covers developments during the 2003 calendar year.
  • Acknowledgements
    The Yearbook was produced under the general direction of the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Nobuyasu Abe, as well as the Director of the Department, Hannelore Hoppe.
  • Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues
    Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation have long been a priority on the agenda of the international community. As a result of discussions and negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation both within and outside the United Nations, a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements have been concluded. These efforts have led to the reduction of nuclear arsenals and the exclusion of deployment of nuclear weapons from certain environments and regions. International norms have been established in order to prevent the proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons.
  • Biological and chemical weapons
    The threat to international peace and security posed by chemical and biological weapons has been a preoccupation of the international community for a long time. Persistent endeavours resulted in the conclusion of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) — the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) — the first such treaty to be negotiated entirely within a multilateral disarmament forum, the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Ever since the two conventions were opened for signature in 1972 and 1993 respectively, the United Nations has sought to promote the universality of the two instruments, as well as compliance with their provisions. In addition, States have continued to reaffirm the necessity of upholding the principles and objectives of the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.
  • Conventional weapons issues
    Issues related to the regulation and reduction of conventional arms and armed forces have been on the disarmament agenda of the United Nations since its creation. In the 1950s, the General Assembly dealt with the subject of disarmament in the context of ways and means to achieve the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments and to achieve general and complete disarmament. In 1999, the Disarmament Commission adopted guidelines on conventional arms control with an emphasis on practical disarmament measures.
  • Regional disarmament
    The United Nations charter envisaged a substantial role for regional organizations in promoting international peace and security, although it was not until the end of the cold war that they assumed a more active role. A Group of Governmental Experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General concluded in 1981 that there was a vast and, to a large extent unexplored, potential for progress in disarmament, if the global approach was supplemented with determined and systematic efforts at the level of the different regions. The Group of Experts found that progress in regional disarmament, the equitable solution of problems and the just settlement of disputes at the regional level, along with regional confidence-building measures, could create conditions that would promote disarmament and relax tension at the global level. Over the years, the United Nations has sought to enhance the role of regional approaches to disarmament and security, including as a complement to global efforts. By adapting regional initiatives to the specific needs of the participating States, it was possible to reach agreement on measures more far-reaching than those that could be adopted at the global level. Concluding its consideration of the question in 1993, the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) adopted guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament. The Commission found that regional and global approaches to disarmament and arms limitation complemented each other and should be pursued simultaneously, in order to promote regional and international peace and security.
  • Related issues and approaches
    This chapter covers the following important issues: Terrorism and disarmament, human rights, human security and disarmament; prevention of an arms race in outer space; information security and the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; arms limitation and disarmament agreements, including verification of compliance; and the relationship between disarmament and development. The common theme of these issues is how the international community is tackling their relationship to weapons and the disarmament process. Individually, each represents a significant step taken by the multilateral disarmament machinery or by other multilateral bodies of the United Nations system.
  • Institutional aspects
    UN activities in the field of disarmament and arms regulation continued to be carried out through the Organization’s main organs: the General Assembly and the Security Council. The existing disarmament machinery consists of the General Assembly, its two subsidiary bodies, namely, the First Committee and the Disarmament Commission (UNDC), and the Conference on Disarmament (CD). In addition, questions of disarmament are dealt with in other international frameworks established on the basis of multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements.
  • Studies, education and information
    Studies on various aspects of disarmament have been carried out over the years by the Secretary-General pursuant to relevant General Assembly resolutions on the subject. Most have been conducted with the assistance of governmental experts, appointed by him, on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, and with the help of Member States in a position to render such assistance. The studies serve two purposes: to provide a deeper understanding of disarmament and related matters, and to support the negotiating process through analysis of specific matters related to negotiations in progress or about to start.
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