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Reports From the Disarmament Forum at the U.N.


DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL OBJECTIVES

The NGO Committee on Disarmament presented  "The Spring 2001 Disarmament  Forum" at the United Nations Wednesday and Thursday April 11th and 12th, in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters, New York. Wednesday morning the panel entitled "Disarmament and Arms Control Objectives" focused on government commitments made during the Non Proliferation Treaty, NPT, 2000 Review Conference.  The meeting was co-sponsored by the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs and the UN Department of Public Information.

U.S. Ambassador Norman Wuilf described  the nuclear disarmament steps agreed upon for the final document of the NPT 2000 Review Conference.  The steps include ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, CTBT, a moratorium on all nuclear weapons tests upon ratification.  Negotiations for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, FMCT, irreversibility of legally binding negotiations, unequivocal commitment of nuclear weapons states to eliminate nuclear weapons, early entry into force of START II and continuation to a START III, preservaton of the ABM Treaty, possible unilateral initiatives.

The Bush administration is conducting a review process for nuclear disarmament policy, which could support unilateral reductions and bilateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament with STARTI,II and III as well as the FMCT Treaty, but does not support a treaty on Outer Space and is strong for National Missile Defense.

Counsellor Victor Vasiliev of the Russian Federation believes the atmosphere at the end of the 20th century has produced a good deal of progress in nuclear disarmament, compared to earlier periods, with the bilateral negotiations of the U.S. and the Russian Federation for START I, II, and now perhaps III and also an agreement to reduce warheads to 2500    apiece.  Putin could agree to reduction to 1500 and wants the preservation of the ABM Treaty.  Counsellor Vasiliev hopes the U.S. review process will be positive for nuclear disarmament. 

Minister Maria Angelica Arcede Jeannet of Mexico said that the NPT Treaty 2000 Final Document also included peaceful uses of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons free zones, IAEA Safeguards agreements.  A nuclear weapons free world needs a new agenda and the disarmament steps are implementation of Article 6 of the NPT Treaty.  The next  NPT Review Conference in 2005 will review implementation of the nuclear disarmament progress with the steps of the final document of the 2000 Review Conference.  However, at present there is no progress in the UN Conference on Disarmament.  The UK, the French and China should join the U.S. and the Russian Federation in a nuclear disarmament process.  This year Mexico will chair a Review Conference for the CTBT in September 2001 and will also propose a resolution on nuclear disarmament for the General Assembly.

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SMALL ARMS AS A DEVELOPMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ISSUE

The NGO Committee on Disarmament  also presented a panel discussion on the Illicit  Trade of Small Arms Wednesday afternoon, April 11th, in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at UN Headquaters, New York.  A UNICEF Study on Humanitarian Concerns and the increase of demand for small arms and light weapons worldwide, has shown the importance of development in the peace process and  for the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in July 2001 at UN Headquarters. The panel was held in cooperation with the Department of Public Information.

David Jackman, Quaker UN Office, and Moderator for the panel, reported on the UNDP policy to use development as a prevention of violent conflict which is the root cause of poverty, religious and cultural strife and the demand for small arms.  UNDP supports national, regional and international initiatives, capacity building, education and research as a broad integrated program with many facets for  development, peace and prosperity.

Lieke van de Wiel, UNICEF New York, said the UNICEF Study from an Interagency Standing Committee that includes UNDP is concerned with the proliferation of small arms.  Information is received from many regions with diverse types of countries, such as Kenya, Colombia and East Timor.  The impact of small arms prevents development, displaces large groups of refugees, prevents access to basic human needs, closes schools and health facilities and hinders the work of humanitarian agencies at the field level. 

Sola Ogunbanwo, Eminent Persons Group in Africa, reported 8 million fatalities annually due to small arms, of which 2 million were children.  Many areas of Africa are decimated by  small arms violence endangering trade and natural resources.  The African Bamako Declaration addresses all the interrelated issues of conflict and the links betweenthe licit and illicit trade, the importance of marking and tracing of weapons, is supported by many governments and will aid the July conference Final Document and Program of Action.

Dominique Robinson, American Friends Service Commitee of Baltimore, spoke of the 60,000 drug addicts, proliferation of guns to children and criminalization of youth.  The enormous violence due to hand guns is espeically prevalent in this U.S. city, but has become a serious problem throughout U.S. cities and some schools.

Per Augustsson, Mission of Sweden to the UN, spoke of the urgent need to integrate disarmament, development and humanitarian issues.  Increased violence undermines human rights, international law, national and international development.  The Final Document for the July conference should be a forward looking Program of Action that includes partnerships of governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector.

Lu Ecclestone, is the New York Campaign Organizer for the Internatonal Action Network on Small Arms, IANSA, which has 320 organizations in 70 countries. One Hundred and Twenty NGOs from 30 countries attended the Third PrepCom for the Small Arms Conference.  IANSA will work with NGOs at the July conference organizing daily briefings, lobbying delegates and sending daily reports over the internet. 

The IANSA website: www. IANSA.org
The New York Office Phone:  212 953 1238.  E-mail:  organizer@IANSA.org

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IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REPORT OF THE PANEL ON UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS

The NGO Committee on  Disarmament, in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information, presented a panel discussion Thursday April 12 in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium about progress on The Brahimi Report.  The report includes peacekeeping and peacebuilding doctorine and strategy with clear, credible and achievable mandates presented to the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, GA. Salman Ahmed, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations said that the Brahimi Report was presented to the UN member states at the Millennium Summit, September, 2000, and the Security Council has now begun a review.  The report. with over 40 recommendations, attempts structural adjustments in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations,  DPKO, for substantial support in resources for Headquarters operations, integrated mission planning, operational support for public information, logistics, equipment, extensive geographic information and intelligence services with website co-management in Headquarters and field operations.  Rapid deployment in crises is essential for regional and international security.  It is a major step for 189 UN member states debating the issue.  With low staff and lean resources to coordinate thousands of troops all over the world, some change is absolutely necessary.  The Brahimi Panel of Experts formed 17 working groups and the UN Secretary General sent an implementation plan to the GA in October  2000.  The GA resolution for 92 posts for emergencies and is now in a comprehensive review process that will report this month. NGO networking aids the dialogue.  

Jim Paul, Global Policy Forum, said that the Brahimi Report has a very unusual and influential status at the UN and the recommendations are important for improvement but it is cumbersome and does not fit the needs of conflicts in the world.  It is a professional fire department, with enormous costs for headquarters and rapid deployment of troops.  The G77 worries about resources and information disposition.  The countries that send troops have no say over a Security Council mandate for troops that are inadequately prepared for dangerous operations.  There are many more peacekeeping operations since the end of the cold war and the Security Council is not well enough advised.  Budgets are shifted rapidly up and down, and member states search for financial aid.

Colonel John Culleton, Australia, has served with various UN peacekeeping operations, argued for the report and said three things are essential:  increased resources, improving the process for peacekeeping and peacebuilding and developing good relationships between member states, the Secretariat and the Security Council.  DPKO is intolerably understaffed, logistics are impossible, with one desk officer for 6000 troops in the field.  However, the UN has developed a more sophisticated communications system.  One hundred million US dollars is a very low budget for successful operations.  Intelligence and information for deployment statistics and research is critical.  There has been significant progress but continual battles in the Security Council. 

DISARMAMENT TIMES: http://www.disarmtimes.org
E-mail to: disarmtimes@igc.org

Special Thanks to Pam Jordan & Nancy Colton

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