"The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a defining moment for global efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit arms trade: the Agenda included a specific target to significantly reduce illicit arms flows by 2030."
— UN Secretary-General's report
The annual observance of Disarmament Week, which kicks off on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (24 October), was first called for in the Final Document of the General Assembly's 1978 special session on disarmament. The document called for abandoning the use of force in international relations and seeking security in disarmament. States were invited to highlight the danger of the arms race, propagate the need for its cessation and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament.
In 1995, the General Assembly invited governments, to continue taking an active part in Disarmament Week in order to promote a better understanding among the public of disarmament issues.
Arms Trade Treaty
Every year during the annual United Nations Treaty Event much of the attention has been focused on the Arms Trade Treaty. The Treaty, regulating the international trade in conventional arms – from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships – entered into force on 24 December 2014.
The elimination of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction remains a central but elusive objective of the United Nations. Despite commitments from Member States, there has been limited progress on this long-standing goal. For nuclear weapons, this is largely due to growing tensions between nuclear-armed States and the rigidity of the disarmament machinery.
In the meantime, the Southern hemisphere of the planet has already become almost entirely one nuclear-weapon-free zone by virtue of regional treaties: the Treaty of Rarotonga, covering the South Pacific, the Treaty of Pelindaba, covering Africa, the Treaty of Bangkok covering Southeast Asia, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, covering Latin America and the Caribbean and the Antarctic Treaty. Recently we have witnessed the entry into force of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, the first such instrument situated entirely north of the Equator.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a defining moment for global efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit arms trade: the Agenda included a specific target to significantly reduce illicit arms flows by 2030.
The General Assembly and other bodies of the United Nations, supported by the Office for Disarmament Affairs, work to advance international peace and security through the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and the regulation of conventional arms.
The Office promotes:
- Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation
- Strengthening of the disarmament regimes in respect to other weapons of mass destruction, and chemical and biological weapons
- Disarmament efforts in the area of conventional weapons, especially landmines and small arms, which are the weapons of choice in contemporary conflicts.
The intentions are good, but the follow-through and enforcement are political hot potatoes. We are standing on the brink of an unwanted war. So now what?