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Topic: Reaching Critical Will: First Committee Monitor 2013 No. 5 Final Edition
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:13:28 PM
Reaching Critical Will First Committee Monitor 2013 No. 5, Final Edition - (www.reachingcriticalwill.org)

The First Committee Monitor features civil society reporting and analysis on meetings of the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security. Archived editions are available online. The Monitor is coordinated, edited, and distributed by Reaching Critical Will of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). All views expressed in this publication are solely those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the supporting organizations. Please consider donating to support the publication.
  

Editorial: Momentum and resistance
Ray Acheson | Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

 
Another session of First Committee has ended. Another 53 resolutions have been adopted. Hundreds of statements have been delivered. Looking at the documents, the lists of speakers, the statistics, one could say it was another routine year for the committee on disarmament and international security. But delving into content reveals a different picture; a picture in which the majority of countries elevated their concerns with the humanitarian and environmental tragedies caused by weapons above the status quo thinking on security. These delegations did not let warnings from the nuclear-armed states or concerns from their nuclear-dependent allies deter them from demanding progress on disarmament. Hopefully this trend will continue, and move beyond words in First Committee to action in all relevant venues.
 
This is an unusually optimistic assessment of First Committee. But it is difficult to conceive of any other reading when one takes into account the overwhelming concern expressed by governments about the humanitarian harm of all weapons. The majority of delegations welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), praised the gains made by the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty, expressed dismay with the use of chemical weapons in Syria and demanded the universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and demanded progress on developing a multilateral treaty prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons. On the margins of First Committee, civil society groups working on a range of weapons issues convened their second conference on humanitarian disarmament.
 
Not everyone is pleased with the momentum of humanitarian disarmament and arms control. There are some governments that remain skeptical about the ATT—some because they fear it will prevent their acquisition of arms; others because the Treaty did not go far enough in affecting the volume of arms production, transfers, and war profiteering. There are those who still refuse to join the conventions banning cluster munitions and antipersonnel landmines, even though they admit that these weapons bring death to civilians and undermine development. Some have no interest in enhancing the provisions or legally-binding status of the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.
 
And of course, most vocally of all, there are those who do not want any further progress on nuclear disarmament. These are a small minority of countries, but they made their views well known over the last month. During the action on resolutions, they took every opportunity to once again voice their disdain with the fact that the majority of countries, as well as civil society, are discussing the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. The Russian delegation said it is “cynical” to discuss this topic. The UK delegation expressed its alarm with the idea that other governments might want to prohibit the possession of nuclear weapons. Most of the nuclear-armed states that are NPT state parties, and many of the countries that prop up the continued possession of nuclear weapons through nuclear sharing or security relationships, expressed concern that any action to pursue activities related to nuclear disarmament will undermine the NPT and the implementation of its 2010 action plan.
 
These arguments are absurd. They illuminate the tension between those who see the NPT as simply a non-proliferation instrument and those (the majority) who have always viewed it as a mechanism for achieving disarmament. Prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons would fulfill the NPT’s goals and objectives, not undermine them. As Reaching Critical Will argues in its paper Preventing collapse: the NPT and a ban on nuclear weapons, a process to ban nuclear weapons that arises from the discussion around the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons actually has the potential to prevent the NPT’s collapse.
 
Civil society groups are not alone in this understanding. In a joint explanation of vote to the draft resolution on the follow-up to the high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament (L.6/Rev.1), Austria, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Malta, New Zealand, and San Marino argued that the resolution’s objectives are “entirely consistent” with the NPT and its action plan. Noting that action 1 of the 2010 plan obliges states parties to pursue policies that are fully compatible with the NPT and with the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons, these countries highlighted the relevance and appropriateness of all actions that promote nuclear disarmament. They also emphasized their interest in pursuing “any set of effective measures to achieve the objective of complete nuclear disarmament and the maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, regardless of how such measures might be elaborated.”
 
The 125 countries that associated themselves with the joint statement condemning the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and calling for their elimination, and the countless countries who emphasized their humanitarian and environmental concerns with other weapon systems, truly made their mark at this session of First Committee. The majority opinion seemed to be that improved security—human and national—can be achieved with fewer weapons, less military expenditure, and more investment in peace and human development. As Norway’s delegation said, “The humanitarian dimension in disarmament and arms control must be a key element in our discussions and efforts, because at the end of the day, it is the consequences for the people on the ground that our policies will be measured against.”
 
While not everyone may be on board with the advancements in humanitarian disarmament, this should not be a concern for those wanting to make progress. Moving beyond lowest common denominator agreements is vital for peace and security and for the vitality of the United Nations as a responsive body that can address today’s challenges.

- For more information and all the 2013 Monitors: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/unga/2013/fcm
Topic: BICC’s Annual Report 2013 - Dynamics of organized violence in the focus
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:02:07 PM
Dynamics of organized violence in the focus of BICC’s Annual Report 2013 - (www.bicc.de)
BICC Press Release

The Annual Report 2013 provides information about the numerous project activities of the peace and conflict research institute between July 2012 and June 2013. At the same time, BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion) is setting new priorities for its future work by centering on Conversion Studies that provide a critical and policy relevant analysis of the dynamics of organized violence.

“In 2013, a process of reorientation has begun that will accompany us for several years to come. With this, we are aiming to combine those areas of our work that have proved successful and worth maintaining with new impulses and topic areas,” stresses Professor Conrad Schetter, Director for Research at BICC. In future, the Center will focus on providing a critical and policy relevant analysis of the dynamics of organized violence. This Annual Report already bears witness to this realignment.

In the Editorial, Conrad Schetter reflects about the concepts of ‘Military interventions in the future’ and relates these to the trend towards technological innovations.

Another article analyzes global arms expenditures and the trends regarding global and German arms exports in the context of BICC’s Global Militarization Index (GMI). Data and facts are also an important part of the Internet portal “War and Peace” in association with the German Federal Agency for Civic Education. A large-scale research project at BICC investigates the political economy of the military in countries of the Arab Spring.

Small arms and light weapons as means of organized violence are treated in the project reports on the dangers of MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) and the possible uses of “smart” technologies for small arms control. This also features prominently in projects in South Sudan and Sudan where BICC experts who live and work locally advise the respective governments on capacity development.

In an interview, Jürgen Nimptsch, Mayor of Bonn, talks about the ongoing conversion of the ‘Ermekeil Barracks’, which in the Annual Report is called a potential example of ‘best practice’.

“With our new concept, we hope to be able to shape our applied and empirical research in a way that it becomes more critical, policy-relevant and problem-oriented,” Conrad Schetter points out.

As an independent, non-profit organization, BICC deals with a wide range of global topics in the field of peace and conflict research centering on conversion studies. It was founded in 1994 as a non-profit private limited company (GmbH) with the support of the State government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which has provided core funding since then. The 2012 Global “Go-To-Think Tanks” Report of the University of Pennsylvania included BICC in two categories in the leading think tanks worldwide.

- For more information:
http://www.bicc.de/publications/publicationpage/publication/annual-report-2013-393/
Topic: 2013 Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 1:58:06 PM
The Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security (S/2013/525) has been submitted to the Security Council on 4 September 2013.


Topic: SIPRI Policy Paper no. 38 - China's Exports of Small Arms and Light Weapons
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:45:47 AM
China's Exports of Small Arms and Light Weapons - (www.sipri.org)
SIPRI Policy Paper no. 38, October 2013
by Mark Bromley, Mathieu Duchatel and Paul Holtom

China is a leading exporter of small arms and lights weapons (SALW) and is a popular supplier among states looking for inexpensive or alternative sources of SALW. While China has stated its commitment to preventing the illicit trade in SALW and formally recognizes the destabilizing effect that SALW transfers can have, it is one of the least transparent arms exporters.

This report is the first to comprehensively map Chinese policies and practices for controlling SALW transfers. The authors use their expertise in arms transfers and Chinese foreign policy to describe China's involvement in multilateral SALW control inititatives, detail its administrative system for granting export licences and map the destinations of Chinese SALW exports. This timely and detailed report will prove to be a useful resource for future studies of China's evolving approach to the control of SALW transfers.

Contents

1. Introduction
2. Multilateral transfer control efforts
3. China's transfer controls
4. Mapping China's exports
5. Conclusions and recommendations

About the authors

Mark Bromley (United Kingdom) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. His areas of research include European arms export controls, South American arms acquisitions and efforts to combat trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

Dr Mathieu Duchatel (France) is head of SIPRI's China and Global Security Project and is SIPRI's representative in Beijing. His research interests include China's foreign and security policies in North East Asia and Europe-China relations.

Dr Paul Holtom (United Kingdom) is Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. His main areas of research relate to monitoring and promoting transparency in international arms transfers and strengthening conventional arms transfer controls to prevent trafficking.

- See more at: http://books.sipri.org/product_info?c_product_id=466
Topic: The New York Times: 'Containing the Conventional Arms Trade'
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:39:57 AM
The New York Times, Editorial Board: 'Containing the Conventional Arms Trade'
30 September 2013

"Efforts to control the $70 billion a year global market in conventional weapons got a big boost when the United States signed the United Nations arms trade treaty, joining more than 100 other countries in affirming the need to keep these weapons out of the hands of unscrupulous regimes, militants and criminals. But the work is far from done. At least 50 member countries, including the United States, must still carry out the next step and ratify the treaty for it to take effect; only six have done so. Proponents fear final ratification could take years, and it would be a travesty if it does.

The treaty, which took seven years to negotiate, is a pioneering agreement that is unquestionably needed. It covers global trade in tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber weapons, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and launchers, small arms and light weapons — the kinds of weapons that are fueling conflicts and killing innocents in Syria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond.

The treaty would require states to review all crossborder arms contracts, establish national control systems and deny exports to purchasers who might use the weapons for terrorism or violations of humanitarian law, including genocide. In April, the 193-member General Assembly adopted it overwhelmingly by a vote of 154 to 3, clearing the way for individual states to sign and then ratify the pact. The states in opposition were familiar outliers in the international system: North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The National Rifle Association, like those nations, rejects this sensible international weapons regulation. It is opposed to the arms treaty even though the treaty has no impact on the American domestic market.

The group falsely claims the treaty will somehow infringe on Americans’ gun rights under the Second Amendment. In fact, as Secretary of State John Kerry stressed when he signed the treaty, the pact not only does not restrict Americans, it specifically “recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.”

But the N.R.A., with its lucrative campaign coffers and fear-mongering, has long been extremely effective at keeping lawmakers in line with its pernicious agenda. Months before the Obama administration signed the treaty, one-third of the Senate introduced a resolution opposing ratification on Second Amendment grounds. That is a signal of the tough fight ahead whenever the Senate formally takes up the issue.

The United States is the world’s main arms exporter, responsible for about 80 percent of the global trade. But experts and officials say the treaty won’t impose any new requirements on the federal government or American companies because laws and regulations already require American manufacturers to comply with a comprehensive export control system that is designed to keep weapons away from human rights abusers and other bad actors. The treaty’s main impact will be felt elsewhere as other countries adopt comparable standards and rules.

Although the treaty has no enforcement power, its export control requirements, coupled with disclosure provisions to shame violators, could help reduce the spread of weapons in conflict zones. In a world where virtually every major commodity is subject to international agreements, allowing weapons to avoid any review or regulation is irresponsible and unacceptable."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/opinion/containing-the-conventional-arms-trade.html?ref=global-home&_r=0
Topic: Security Council Adopts First-ever Resolution Dedicated to Question of Small Arms, Light Weapons
Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 11:14:13 AM
Security Council urges strengthened efforts to tackle small arms scourge - (www.un.org/news)


26 September 2013 –

The Security Council today, meeting at the ministerial level, voiced its grave concern at the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, which perpetuate conflict and instability worldwide and cause significant loss of life.

In a resolution adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with Russia abstaining, the Council welcomed efforts that have been made to tackle this scourge, and urged the further strengthening of cooperation and information sharing to combat the problem.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council that, from bringing instability to the Sahel region of Africa to fuelling lawlessness in Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Iraq and the high seas, small arms have wreaked havoc on lives and nations as well as undermined development efforts.

“Small arms are a source of crises, conflict and criminality,” he said at the outset of the meeting, chaired by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month.

“The uncontrolled availability of guns and bullets threatens peace processes and fragile reconciliation efforts,” he noted. “It leads to a vast range of human rights violations, including killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearances, torture and forced recruitment of children by armed groups

“It exacerbates inter-community violence and organized crime. And it undermines our work for social justice, the rule of law and the Millennium Development Goals,” he added, referring to the anti-poverty targets world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.

“The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded.”

The Secretary-General called on States to commit to building a safer, more secure world for all, and in particular to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty. Adopted by the General Assembly in April, the treaty regulates the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

The “landmark” treaty obligates States to regulate international arms transfers, including prohibiting shipments to governments that fail to use them in conformity with the UN Charter, noted Mr. Ban. “The treaty will also help address weapons diversion from government stockpiles – a growing and disturbing source of arms for pirates, rebels and warlords.”

The treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to enter into force, has so far been signed by 110 States and ratified by 7.

Mr. Ban added that innovations such as weapon-tracking technologies and the personalization of firearms can help. “Arms embargoes are also vital,” he said. “Yet unscrupulous brokers are adept at evading such strictures.”

In this context, he said the various monitoring groups of Security Council sanctions committees need more and better information.

“Small arms remain a big concern,” Mr. Ban stated. “The challenge lies at the intersection of human rights, security, development, crime, international trade, public health and counter-terrorism… Member States, the UN system, regional organizations and civil society have made progress, but much remains to be done.”

In addition to the ministers and representatives of the Council’s 15 members, the meeting also heard from Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who described small arms as the “weapons of choice” in conflicts. They deliberately target civilians and property and prolong conflicts and violate international humanitarian and human rights law, she stated.


Links:

- Resolution 2117 (2013)
- UN News Centre article
- UN Press Release (SC/11131)
- Statement by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
- Remarks by US Ambassador Samantha Power
Topic: Reaching Critical Will: First Committee briefing book
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 11:21:04 AM
First Committee briefing book 2013 - (www.reachingcriticalwill.org)

Edited by Beatrice Fihn and Ray Acheson • Published by Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Published ahead of the 2013 UN General Assembly First Committee, this briefing book highlights a number of current disarmament issues and suggests ways forward.

First Committee is often used as a forum for member states to express stale and repeated positions on every topic related to disarmament and international security and to table resolutions that change little in substance or in result from year to year. To most civil society actors, the month of October could be used more efficiently.

This briefing book will give the reader a quick overview of the state of play on some of the most pressing issues that will be addressed at this year’s First Committee. In addition, it will also provide recommendations for governments from some of the main civil society coalitions working on these topics.

The non-governmental groups that have contributed to this book work on many different issues and weapon systems from a variety of perspectives, but they all share one thing in common: the desire to increase human security by reducing the impact of weapons through the development of international norms.

The UN is a place where governments of the world are supposed to come together to solve collective challenges and make progress on the pressing issues of our time. Unfortunately, UN member states often fail to achieve these goals due to outdated concepts of security. In terms of disarmament in particular, governments seem to be constrained by antiquated methods of work and traditional approaches to security issues that do not reflect the realities of the 21st century.

But people all over the world, and indeed many delegations at the UN, seek true progress and the enhancement of human security. We hope that this briefing book will provide inspiration and alternatives as we engage in the important work ahead.

- See more at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/publications-and-research/publications/8007-first-committee-briefing-book
Topic: Small Arms Survey: 'The Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Found in Libya'
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 10:56:21 AM
The Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Found in Libya - (www.smallarmssurvey.org)
by N.R. Jenzen-Jones

"The Security Assessment in North Africa is a multi-year project of the Small Arms Survey to support those engaged in building a more secure environment in North Africa and the Sahel-Sahara region. The project produces timely, evidence-based research and analysis on the availability and circulation of small arms, the dynamics of emerging armed groups, and related insecurity. The research stresses the effects of the recent uprisings and armed conflicts in the region on community safety. The Security Assessment in North Africa receives core funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In addition, the project receives ongoing specific support from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and has previously received grants from the US State Department and the German Federal Foreign Office."

- See more at: www.smallarmssurvey.org/sana.html
Topic: Call for proposals 2013: UNSCAR is receiving proposals
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:25:36 PM
UNSCAR call for proposals: From 1 September 2013 to 31 October 2013

State parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) “may seek assistance” in implementing the Treaty. Each State Party may request, offer or receive assistance through, inter alia, the United Nations. Article 16.3 of the ATT indicates that a voluntary trust fund is to be established by States Parties for that purpose.

In anticipation, the United Nations, in close cooperation with a growing number of States, has launched a trust facility to kick-start advocacy, universalisation and implementation of the ATT.

UNSCAR is a flexible, results-focused facility created to:

- Support the preparation for ratification and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty;
- Ensure the complementarities of implementation activities of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms;
- Support projects focused on implementing the Programme of Action on small arms;
- Promote increased sustainability through more predictable sources of funding.

Who's eligible for funding?

UN CASA partners, international organizations, NGOs, research institutes, including universities. Governments wishing to apply for funds through the Facility should work with eligible organisations to design and submit project proposals

UNSCAR is now open to receive applications for funding from 1 September to 31 October 2013.

To learn more about the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) and the call for proposals please consult the UNODA website: http://www.un.org/disarmament/UNSCAR/
Topic: Call for proposals 2013: UNSCAR is receiving proposals
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:25:02 PM
UNSCAR call for proposals: From 1 September 2013 to 31 October 2013

State parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) “may seek assistance” in implementing the Treaty. Each State Party may request, offer or receive assistance through, inter alia, the United Nations. Article 16.3 of the ATT indicates that a voluntary trust fund is to be established by States Parties for that purpose.

In anticipation, the United Nations, in close cooperation with a growing number of States, has launched a trust facility to kick-start advocacy, universalisation and implementation of the ATT.

UNSCAR is a flexible, results-focused facility created to:

- Support the preparation for ratification and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty;
- Ensure the complementarities of implementation activities of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms;
- Support projects focused on implementing the Programme of Action on small arms;
- Promote increased sustainability through more predictable sources of funding.

Who's eligible for funding?

UN CASA partners, international organizations, NGOs, research institutes, including universities. Governments wishing to apply for funds through the Facility should work with eligible organisations to design and submit project proposals

UNSCAR is now open to receive applications for funding from 1 September to 31 October 2013.

To learn more about the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) and the call for proposals please consult the UNODA website: http://www.un.org/disarmament/UNSCAR/

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