Did you know ? The United Nations and disarmament [fr]
Did you know?
75 years ago, on June 26 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco. It mentions disarmament as a prerogative and gradually a "UN machinery" for disarmament was put in place. Thus, several organs of the United Nations were entrusted with the question of disarmament.
First of all, Article 11.1 of the Charter provides that "The General Assembly may consider (...) the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments and may make recommendations with regard to these principles". The General Assembly does so under the aegis of its First Committee, which meets every year for four to five weeks in October to discuss disarmament and international security. It is supported by the Disarmament Commission. This subsidiary body of the Assembly was established in 1978 at the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. It submits an annual report to the General Assembly on disarmament issues and the follow-up to the implementation of General Assembly decisions. However, this forum has gradually been replaced by the Conference on Disarmament, which was also established by the 1978 special session. It is based in Geneva and is composed of 65 members of the United Nations who meet in three annual sessions. It conducts negotiations on the basis of consensus. Formally independent of the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament is nevertheless serviced by the United Nations Secretariat.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also deals with disarmament issues, particularly in the context of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and can vote on resolutions to this effect.
At the Secretariat level, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), established in 1982 and based in New York, deals with disarmament issues. It is supported by a unit in Geneva, which is responsible, inter alia, for the secretariat of the Conference on Disarmament, and three regional centres: the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLiREC).
Alongside these functional bodies operates the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). Created in 1980 by the UNGA at the instigation of France and based in Geneva, this independent research centre publishes articles and reports on disarmament. It is funded by donations from Member States.