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UNODA Occasional Papers No.28: Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament in the Twenty-First Century, October 2016

image of UNODA Occasional Papers No.28: Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament in the Twenty-First Century, October 2016
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (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. This publication's authors, who include some of the world’s leading scholars, diplomats and activists on the topic, examine historic, strategic, humanitarian and economic aspects of general and complete disarmament to elaborate and elevate the case for prohibiting conventional weapons systems as well as nuclear weapons. The featured articles were originally presented at the seminar held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 21 October 2015 entitled “Comprehensive Approaches for Disarmament in the Twenty-first Century: Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament”. It was organized by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica.

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Hard and soft linkages between nuclear and conventional disarmament

Not surprising for an organization forged in the fires and carnage of the Second World War, the United Nations has from the beginning been preoccupied with the issue of disarmament. As noted earlier in this volume, it was the subject of the very first resolution passed by the General Assembly at its first session in 1946. That resolution created an Atomic Energy Commission, which among its tasks was to develop proposals “for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”. It has also been noted that, while atomic weapons were singled out in this resolution, its scope was not limited to these and the direction was to eliminate all other weapons capable of mass slaughter. This tasking to abolish the most destructive weapons in national arsenals was situated in broader efforts aimed at the “early general regulation and reduction of armaments and armed forces”.

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