Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 7, Disarmament
In 2006, the United Nations reinforced efforts to mobilize the international community for concerted and more intensive action towards overcoming current disarmament and non-proliferation challenges, including persisting differences among Member States, which limited progress in multilateral disarmament fora. To that end, the General Assembly declared the 2010s as the Fourth Disarmament Decade, following three previous decades that had covered the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, all aimed at advancing disarmament norms and measures. In related action, the Assembly continued to promote the idea of convening a fourth special session devoted to disarmament, the aim of which would be to define the future course of action on disarmament and associated international security questions, and enhance the gains made at the first, second and third special sessions held in 1978, 1982 and 1988, respectively. In April, relative progress was made in settling some of the issues dividing Member States on disarmament questions, following the achievement of consensus within the Disarmament Commission on a work programme, which helped resolve a two-year deadlock and consequent suspension of its work. That breakthrough enabled the Commission to resume substantive meetings to consider recommendations for achieving nuclear disarmament and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons. Unfortunately, such progress eluded the Conference on Disarmament, which, despite 49 formal and 22 informal meetings, still could not achieve consensus on its programme of work, nor undertake any substantive work on its agenda items for the eighth consecutive year. In June, the independent international Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, chaired by the former head of the UN Monitoring,Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix, transmitted its report to the General Assembly containing proposals on how to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) (nuclear, chemical and biological). Determined to further reinforce existing institutional mechanisms for tackling international terrorism, the Assembly adopted, in September, a United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, based on earlier recommendations from the Secretary-General. Annexed to that Strategy was a plan of action, by which Member States resolved to take measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMDs. On 8 September, the growing movement to fortify the nuclear non-proliferation regime through the adoption of legally-binding agreements designating whole geographic regions as nuclear-weapon free zones achieved marked progress, following the adoption of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. It was the fifth Zone of its kind to be declared worldwide and the first to be located entirely in the northern hemisphere. However, the optimism generated by those encouraging developments was tempered by widespread anxiety following a 9 October announcement by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that it had tested a nuclear weapon, only a few months after having launched ballistic missiles capable of delivering WMD payloads. Similar concerns were raised by Iran's decision to resume research and development activities on its nuclear energy programme, as well as uranium conversion and enrichment. Alarmed by the potential threat which the actions of both States posed to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to regional and international stability, the Security Council, in resolutions 1718(2006) (see p. 444) and 1737(2006) (see p. 436), respectively, firmly condemned those activities and imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions against them. Notable developments in the field of conventional arms control included the Assembly's resolve to begin exploring the possibility of an arms trade treaty, providing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. The Assembly asked the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the idea and to establish a group of governmental experts to examine the feasibility and scope of the proposed instrument and report thereon in 2008. Member States also continued to deal with disarmament and international security issues stemming from the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, mostly within the framework of the Programme of Action adopted at the 2001 UN Conference on small arms. However, an opportunity for consolidating the gains made since then was missed when the UN Conference to Review progress in implementing the Programme concluded, in July, without adopting a final document, owing to discord among delegates on several small arms-related issues. Despite that setback, the Assembly continued to seek ways of advancing conventional disarmament. It adopted a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to establish another group of governmental experts to examine how to strengthen collaboration in confronting the problem of surplus conventional ammunition stockpiles. Meanwhile, the Group of Governmental Experts appointed by the Secretary-General to review the status of the UN Register of Conventional Arms proposed measures for strengthening its operation and future development, aimed at enhancing transparency in conventional armaments as a major confidence building measure. On 12 November, the international framework for tackling humanitarian problems caused by leftover explosives in a post-conflict environment received a boost from the entry into force of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V) to the 1980 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. At their Third Review Conference, States Parties to that Convention adopted a Final Declaration reaffirming their commitment to comply with the Convention's objectives, and a plan of action outlining specific measures for promoting its universality. The same month, the Sixth Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction adopted a declaration and a series of decisions and recommendations designed to strengthen its effectiveness. At the bilateral level, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed negotiations with the United States on a new treaty to replace their 1991 Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (start 1) agreement, which had committed both sides to limiting to approximately 6,000, the number of nuclear warheads they could each deploy, and which was scheduled to expire in 2009. In a related development, the two countries extended for another seven years their 1992 Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement, designed to prevent the proliferation of WMDs, and launched the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Both sides also continued to implement their 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty), for reducing the level of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 3000 and 3500 by 31 December 2012.
UN - UN. General Assembly - UN. Security Council - IAEA - UN. Conference on Disarmament - UN. Disarmament Commission - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY - DISARMAMENT - NUCLEAR WEAPONS - CHEMICAL WEAPONS - BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS - NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION - CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS - MINE CLEARANCE - SMALL ARMS - RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT - TREATIES
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. v. 60; Vol. 60
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