United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Occasional Papers

2412-1258 (online)
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The UNODA Occasional Papers series has been developed to give wider dissemination of input from expert panels and seminars sponsored by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).
UNODA Occasional Papers No.6: A Disarmament Agenda for the 21st Century, October 2002

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31 Dec 2002
9789210581448 (PDF)

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The Department for Disarmament Affairs, renamed United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in 2007 (UNODA) Occasional Papers is a series of ad hoc publications presenting, in edited form, papers or statements made at meetings, symposiums, seminars, workshops or lectures that deal with topical issues in the field of arms limitation, disarmament and international security. They are intended primarily for those concerned with these matters in Government, civil society and in the academic community.
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  • Opening statement
    A sound international security environment is conducive to the process of arms control and disarmament, while progress in arms control and disarmament can help lay a more solid foundation for the preservation of international security. …all countries should foster the concept of seeking security through cooperation, dialogue, mutual trust and development… We should take it as an urgent task in the international security area to maintain the integrity and authority of the disarmament legal system and to promote the process of arms control and disarmament. As the most broadly based international political organization, the UN should continue to play a leading role in this respect.
  • Opening remarks
    What Sun Tzu accomplished in the 5th century BC with respect to the Art of War, we too—all of us, regardless of age, governmental rank, or nationality—must now resolve to achieve in the 21st century as we seek to master a new historic and urgent challenge, the Art of Disarmament.
  • Summary: Themes receiving broad support at the conference
    Disarmament in general. Arms control and disarmament are both affected by—and contribute to—wider conditions of international peace and security. The international security situation has undergone profound changes. At present, the international community is facing more and more diversified threats to its security. This calls for a new paradigm of cooperation and a new disarmament agenda responsive to the new situation. One participant emphasized that disarmament is best seen as part of a wider agenda of peace. Another voiced views (echoed by others) that “our conventional approaches to arms control and disarmament have not been—or are no longer—adequate to the task.” The world needs a new approach to security, one meeting human needs in a world facing new or persisting threats from weapons of mass destruction and from large-scale terrorist acts. All agreed on the need for a rule-based, multilateral approach to disarmament. One participant urged, “We need to prevent a miasma of inertia, despair, and cynicism ... we must keep the edifice of disarmament credible.”
  • US views on arms control
    We are strongly committed to the multilateral regimes and to honoring these treaties, and we will insist that other nations live up to them as well. We will seek out treaties and arrangements that meet today's threats to peace and stability, not yesterday's. ... Our commitment to multilateral regimes to promote non-proliferation and international security never has been as strong as it is today and trying to characterize our policy as "unilateralist" or "multilateralist" is a futile exercise.
  • Defence, disarmament and the United Nations
    Norms, not deterrence, have anathematized the use of nuclear weapons as unacceptable, immoral and possibly illegal under any circumstance—even for states that have assimilated them into military arsenals and integrated them into military commands and doctrines.... we face four nuclear choices in the new millennium: the status quo, proliferation, nuclear rearmament, or abolition. ... The only guarantee against the threat of nuclear war is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. ...the chasm over which we must leap is the belief that world security can rest on weapons of total insecurity.
  • Nuclear disarmament and the elimination of nuclear dangers: Hans-Joachim Daerr
    ... today's threats to security and stability have become less predictable and require at the same time a joint response. They illustrate the need for a new international order organized around shared values, common norms of behaviour and the rule of law. Disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation are indispensable elements of this cooperative international order... We have to make sure that the functions that are today attributed to nuclear weapons become dispensable ... Nuclear disarmament is the counterpart of the renunciation of nuclear weapons by non-nuclearweapons states. This bargain must not be undermined ... The NPT is no licence to perpetuate the status of the nuclear "haves" versus the nuclear "have nots."
  • Nuclear disarmament and the elimination of nuclear dangers: Ronald McCoy
    The question is whether the culture of militarism will be propagated further and whether the elimination of nuclear weapons will be politically feasible and technically practical, when security is still defined and rationalized in military terms, with nuclear weapons continuing to represent the ultimate guarantee of security. ... A new paradigm needs to be developed around policies that will address injustices and promote human security, by alleviating poverty and reversing socio-economic polarization, enhancing sustainable economic development, and controlling weapons proliferation and militarism. The world is bristling with armaments, paid for with resources stolen from schools and hospitals. Even the heavens are about to be assaulted as we contemplate the weaponization of outer space.
  • An effective way to prevent an arms race in outer space: the early negotiation and conclusion of an international legal instrument
    The human world and outer space are now increasingly inseparable … [However, we] are still living in the shadow of a possible weaponization of and arms race in outer space … it is imperative to conclude an international legal instrument devoted to preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space … the CD should re-establish an Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument. ...
  • Prevention of an arms race in outer space
    The complexity and costs inherent in developing and deploying space-based weapons, the logistical and technological gaps in military space plans, the lack of support for space weapons internationally, and the public outrage that is likely to erupt on security, economic, environmental, sustainable development, moral, and religious grounds if plans are pursued to turn outer space from a sanctuary to a war zone—all these provide the basis for a strategy of mobilization.
  • Missile proliferation and missile defence: Miguel Marín-Bosch
    Nothing should serve to justify the acquisition and development of ballistic missiles. The solution to this problem is similar to that of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, i.e., a total ban of their use, testing, manufacture and development. Unfortunately, given the present international climate, ballistic missiles will continue to be an important component of the arsenals of several countries for years to come. ...what you invent today to enhance your security has a tendency to reappear later elsewhere as a threat.
  • Missile proliferation and missile defense: M. Javad Zarif
    The global security environment is becoming increasingly volatile and dangerous. A new arms race is looming in the horizon ... [Missiles have] become the strong weapon of the poor and the discriminated against who find themselves vulnerable to outside threat. They believe missiles may prove instrumental in deterring the enemy from beginning a full scale war ... the engagement of all states at the United Nations in the issue of missiles, through the panel of governmental experts, and the new idea of exploring the subject in the Conference on Disarmament do provide a dim light at the end of the tunnel. ... Efforts at non-proliferation of missiles are more likely to succeed when viewed as an integral part of a global and comprehensive negotiation and progress in other areas of disarmament.
  • Regional approaches to disarmament: an African approach to an African vision
    Disarmament is only one component of a much broader agenda: the Agenda of Peace, Stability, and Security for the 21st Century. ... The object of disarmament should be to support and complement other components which are equally valid and necessary to secure the well-being of our peoples and to guarantee peace and stability for our governments in the 21st Century.
  • Security after 11 September: Regional initiatives in CBMs and arms control
    The unprecedented level of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism has provided impetus for greater engagement on common threats which can contribute both to global stability and to the stability of our region [Southeast Asia]—including in addressing longer-standing security problems.
  • The role of civil society in disarmament issues: realism vs. idealism?
    If we want to live in a world with a meaningful agenda for disarmament in this century, civil society, like-minded governments, international agencies and the United Nations must forge a partnership to ensure that our “idealistic” vision becomes the new reality.
  • List of participants
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
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