The opening words of the the UN Charter express the determination "to save suceeding generations from the scourge of war". Since its establishement the UN has been an ongoing forum for disarmament negotiations and studies and the very first resolution of the General Assembly at its first meeting in 1946 ,1(I) addresses the concerns of nuclear danger and disarmament.
Both the General Assembly and the Security Council consider disarmament topics, in accordance with Articles 11, 26 and 47 of the UN Charter.
They have also created subsidiary bodies that focus on disarmament matters.
General Assembly and disarmament
The General Assembly considers all questions on international security and disarmament. The First Committee, one of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly, is allocated agenda items related to disarmament and international security. In recent years more than 60 resolutions on disarmament are passed annually. In addition, the General Assembly has held three special sessions on disarmament:
- 10th session (1978)
- 12th session (1982)
- 15th session (1988)
UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)
The UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), under the General Assembly, is composed of all UN members and meets annually to consider and make recommendations on various on problems in the field of disarmament and to make recommmendations to the General Assembly.
Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, is the single international forum for negotiations of multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. It has 66 members representing all areas of the world, including the five major nuclear-weapon states. It reports its activities to the General Assembly annually. It has successfully negotiated many important conventions on disarmament. The Conference's annual session is divided into three parts starting in January.
United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) serves as an advisory body to the Secretary-General. It promotes disarmament efforts and preventive measures, supports the implementation of disarmament conventions and practical measures after conflict and provides information on United Nations disarmament efforts.
Through its Regional Disarmament Branch UNODA oversees and coordinates three regional disarmament centres in
More on UN and disarmament
Documents and reports
- UNODA, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. A web portal to disarmament issues with references to full text reports and documents.
- Full text conventions with signatures and ratifications are posted at:
- Disarmament resolution and decisions. Major disarmament resolutions and decisions from 1997 onwards with voting information.
- Special Sessions of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD). Documentationen from the General Assembly Special Sessions on Disarmament (SSOD) is included in the series Supplements to the Official Records of the General Assembly:
- 10th Special session 1978, GAOR 10th spec. sess. Supplement no. 4
- 12th Special session 1982, GAOR 12th spec. sess. Supplement no. 6
- 15th Special session 1988, GAOR 14th spec. sess. Supplement no. 6
- United Nations Disarmament Commission submits an annual report to the General Assembly. The report is published as no. 42 in the documentary series Supplements to the Official Records of the Economic and Social Council.
- United Nations Disarmament Yearbook provides an extensive overview of UN disarmament activities. The documents from the Conference on Disamament carry the symbol CD/.
- Conference on Disarmament. An annual report is submitted to the General Assembly. Meeting records from the Conference on Disarmament carry the symbol CD/PV.meeting no.. Meeting records can be retrieved from the United Nations Official Document System - ODS.
- UNIDIR offers information and publications.
- To enhance the level of transparency in arms transfers the General Assembly passed a resolution in 1991 which requested the Secretary-General to maintain a register where governments provide information on a voluntary basis on their transfers to other states of major weapons systems, military holdings, procurement through national production and relevant policies. The Member States report to the register. The data are compiled and published in:
- UNROCA. Transparency in the global reported arms trade
- United Nations Register of Conventional Arms / The Global Reported Arms Trade as pdf.
Websites and research guides
- Websites on disamament issues that offer background information, documents and links to further reading:
- More themes at the website of UNODA.
- E-Mine. UN Mine Action Gateway provides recources on UN mine action.
- Military Expenditures Database is a register of military spending based on yearly reports from the member countries.
- Fred, säkerhet och nedrustning. The website of UNA Sweden with information on Peace, Security and Disarmament, and the responsibility to protect (R2P) (In Swedish).
- UN Documentation : Disarmament. A research guide by Dag Hammarskjöld library, New York.
- UN Pulse #disarmament. The blog of of Dag Hammarskjöld library, New York that contains information about reports and documents.
- UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Disarmament with relevant URLs within the UN system, such as UN documents, treaties, declarations, Secretary-General reports, a selection of speeches and statements by UN officials, articles in UN journals, etc.
- See also DagDok : Mine Action.
Key UN documents
- UN Charter in Swedish | in English
- UN System Chart
- Yearbook of the United Nations
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Swedish | in English
- Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
- Statue of the International Court of Justice
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.