Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda For Disarmament

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“The United Nations was created with the goal of eliminating war as an instrument of foreign policy. But seven decades on, our world is as dangerous as it has ever been. Disarmament prevents and ends violence. Disarmament supports sustainable development. And disarmament is true to our values and principles.”

The UN Secretary General (UNSG) launched ‘Securing our common future: an agenda for disarmament’ last night in Geneva, a comprehensive agenda with three priorities: disarmament to save humanity, disarmament that saves lives, and disarmament for future generations.

The agenda covers all areas of disarmament, and extracts from the UNSG’s speech on each priority are included below, along with links to further information.

First: disarmament to save humanity aims to reduce and eliminate weapons of mass destruction: nuclear, chemical and biological. The total elimination of nuclear weapons is in the DNA of the United Nations. Indeed, it was the subject of the very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946. Today, the total elimination of nuclear weapons remains our priority, to which I reaffirm my commitment.”

My second priority is disarmament that saves lives, by reducing and mitigating the impact of conventional weapons. The widespread availability of these weapons, from improvised explosive devices to ballistic missiles, rockets, artillery and illicit hand guns, contributes to the armed violence that is causing chaos in many parts of the world. Military industries are producing ever-more weapons. The arms trade is seeking ever-expanding markets. Countries are building up massive stockpiles of conventional arms, especially in the most conflict-prone regions of the world. We must counter these destabilizing trends. We have already seen how the prohibition and restriction of some conventional weapons can save and improve lives” … Excessive spending on weapons drains resources for sustainable development. It is incompatible with creating stable, inclusive societies, strong institutions, effective governance and democracy, and a culture of respect for human rights.”

“There is also a strong gender dimension to this work. Almost universally, guns are infused with masculine characteristics. Men make up the overwhelming majority of the owners and users of firearms. Women are several times more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators. The presence of excessive and unregulated firearms exacerbates gender-based violence and shores up traditional gender roles and power relations. We must prevent a culture of violence and bloodshed, and a cycle that is difficult to break.”

My third priority is disarmament for future generations. Advances in science and technology are transforming many aspects of our lives for the better. … But many of these developments are also enabling new weapon technologies with dangerous andrepugnant applications. They could open a new battle field, or start a new arms race. Some developments could challenge existing legal, humanitarian and ethical norms. The prospect of autonomous weapons has already generated considerable public anxiety. Human beings must remain in control of the use of force at all times. … I will support Member States to elaborate new measures, including legally binding arrangements, to make sure human beings control the use of force at all times.”

Links to further information: