Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London dp27@soas.ac.uk

40 Acts to Save the World : Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament

WATCH: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres introduces his disarmament agenda.

We’ve summarised the Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament report released last month by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Office for Disarmament Affairs.

In the report, Guterres sets out a comprehensive framework for general and complete disarmament that places it at the centre of the United Nations’ work. It includes practical measures for disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, conventional arms and future weapons technologies.

Here are all the action points highlighted in the report:

DISARMAMENT TO SAVE HUMANITY

(Weapons of Mass Destruction)

  1. The Secretary-General and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs will increase their efforts to facilitate dialogue between Member States, through engagement in formal and informal settings, in order to help Member States to return to a common vision and path leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
  2. The Secretary-General supports the principle of the non-use of nuclear weapons and appeals to all States to affirm that it is in the interest of national, collective and human security, as well as the survival of humanity, that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstance.
  3. The Secretary-General also appeals to all States that possess nuclear weapons to affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
  4. The Secretary-General appeals to all remaining States whose ratifications are required for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to enter into force to commit to sign the Treaty at an early date if they have not already done so, and to accelerate the completion of their ratification processes.
  5. The Secretary-General and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs will work with Member States to strengthen and consolidate nuclear-weapon-free zones, including by facilitating enhanced cooperation and consultation between existing zones, encouraging nuclear-weapon States to adhere to the relevant protocols to the treaties establishing such zones, and supporting the further establishment of such zones, including in the Middle East.
  6. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, together with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, will support the urgent pursuit and implementation of measures to reduce the risk of any use of nuclear weapons, and to build mutual confidence
  7. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will support the commencement of and early conclusion of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
  8. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will support the development of nuclear disarmament verification standards, techniques and capacities, starting with expert-level discussions in 2018, as mandated by the General Assembly.
  9. The Secretary-General will work with the members of the Security Council in order to build new leadership and unity in restoring respect for the global norm against chemical weapons, including through the creation of a new and impartial mechanism to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.
  10. The Secretary-General and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs will work with Member States, including through the General Assembly to establish a core standing coordinating capacity to conduct independent investigations of the alleged use of biological weapons, in accordance with his authority under resolution 42/37 C.
  11. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will work with all relevant United Nations entities to contribute to developing a framework that ensures a coordinated international response to the use of biological weapons.
  12. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research will deepen their engagement with Member States on the practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities and on the elaboration of effective measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
  13. The Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research will carry out a study, in consultation with governmental experts and civil society, on peace and security implications of long-range conventional weapons including those using hypersonic technologies.

DISARMAMENT TO SAVE LIVES

(Conventional Weapons)

  1. The Secretary-General will support the efforts of Member States to develop a political declaration, as well as appropriate limitations, common standards and operational policies in conformity with international humanitarian law relating to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
  2. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Committee of the Red Cross and all interested entities will continue to raise awareness on the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas and facilitate the sharing of practice and policies among States.
  3. The human rights components of the United Nations peace operations and other human rights missions, with the support of all interested United Nations entities, should introduce casualty-recording mechanisms as appropriate, including reporting on the type of arms used, and should engage and support parties to conflict in their efforts to reduce civilian casualties.
  4. United Nations-supported forces and Member States’ forces involved in a conflict should introduce civilian harm mitigation cells within the military structure to track, investigated and take appropriate measures to address, mitigate and remedy harm to civilians. United Nations entities should include information on the types of weapons and their use on the battlefield as part of risk assessments in implementing the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
  5. United Nations entities, under the leadership of the United Nations Mine Action Service, in cooperation with the Office for Disarmament Affairs and other relevant United Nations entities, will promote a strengthened and coherent United Nations inter-agency coordination on improvised explosive devices to ensure a whole-of-system approach.
  6. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, together with the Office for Disarmament Affairs, will support Member State in exploring common standards for the transfer, holdings and use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles in order to ensure accountability, transparency and oversight for their use.
  7. The Secretary-General will establish a dedicated facility within his Peacebuilding Fund to support government action to tackle small arms and light weapons as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing armed violence and the diversion of weapons, and as a contribution to SDG Target 16.4.
  8. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and all other relevant entities will explore how to better integrate an understanding of the impact of arms into assessment, risk analyses and conflict prevention activities carried out by the Department of Political Affairs and other relevant entities.
  9. The United Nations, through its coordinating mechanism on small arms under the leadership of the Office for Disarmament Affairs will promote more effective State and regional action on excessive and poorly maintained stockpiles in all available forums and through its regional centres, as well as through new and existing partnerships.
  10. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, in partnership with relevant entities, including regional organizations, will explore opportunities for regional dialogue on building confidence on military matters. Such dialogue will aim at, inter alia, encouraging mutual restraint in military expenditures and arms acquisitions, holdings and transfers, including through enhancing participation in United Nations transparency and confidence-building instruments.

DISARMAMENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

(Future Weapons Technologies)

  1. The Secretary-General will raise greater awareness on the implications raised by new weapons technologies, including through his report in 2018 to the General Assembly on current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament matters.
  2. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will organize in cooperation with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, an informal process with a view to facilitating the exchange of information and experiences between States on the reviews of new weapons they are required to perform in accordance with international humanitarian law.
  3. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research together with partnering entities, will support the deliberation of States on new weapon technologies through impartial and accessible studies.
  4. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research will convene dialogue among Member State, researchers, academics, civil society and the private sector on examining the implications raised by various technologies.
  5. The Secretary-General will engage and work with scientists, engineers and industry to encourage responsible innovation of science and technology, to ensure its application for peaceful purposes, as well as the responsible dissemination of knowledge, in conformity with the principles and objectives of the United Nations.
  6. The Secretary-General will support the efforts of Member States to elaborate new measures, including through political or legally binding arrangements, to ensure that humans remain at all times in control over the use of force.
  7. The Secretary-General will make available his good offices to contribute to the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflict stemming from malicious activity in cyberspace.
  8. The Secretary-General will engage with Member State to help foster a culture of accountability and adherence to emerging norms, rules and principles on responsible behaviour in cyberspace.

STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS FOR DISARMAMENT

  1. The Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research will study ways to better coordinate and integrate the work and expertise among the various disarmament bodies, including as a contribution to a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.
  2. The Secretary-General will strengthen the strategic role of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Research in all disarmament processes and deliberations.
  3. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will work with States parties to develop concrete options for ensuring the financial sustainability and institutional viability of the mechanisms that support the implementation of disarmament treaties and conventions.
  4. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, together with the Department of Political Affairs, will increase its engagement with regional organizations to explore new opportunities and strengthen existing platforms for regional dialogue on security and arms control.
  5. The Secretary-General calls for the full and equal participation of women in all decision-making processes related to disarmament and international security.
  6. The Secretary-General will work to achieve gender parity on all panels, boards, expert groups and other bodies established under his auspices in the field of disarmament.
  7. The Office for Disarmament Affairs, in partnership with all interested entities, will further invest in disarmament education, including through establishment of a platform for youth engagement.
  8. The Secretary-General will engage entrepreneurs and business leaders to build further momentum for societal engagements in advancing the shared norms of humanity.
  9. The Office for Disarmament Affairs works in support of Member States to achieve the greater integration of experts, industry and civil society representatives into the meetings of all United Nations disarmament bodies.