Disarmament Affairs

GAPW’s disarmament program contributes to a number of significant UN-based and regional partnerships through which we engage governments and UN officials on a broad range of disarmament-related obligations. Current activities (workshops, publications, monitoring of UN committees, etc.) are explained at length on our homepage. The general priorities of our current program of work are as follows:

1. Ensure UN-based disarmament structures that are sufficient to their mandates and responsibilities. GAPW is a core participant in monitoring activities of all First Committee and specialized disarmament agencies, monitoring which was originally established by Reaching Critical Will. We provide regular briefings for diplomats, for the Secretary-General’s disarmament board, and for regional disarmament experts on how to best address deficiencies in the UN’s disarmament machinery, deficiencies which are more apparent given the high levels of disarmament activity that must now be managed by the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs. We also address individual governments that we believe can take more regional and even global leadership for strengthening disarmament machinery and fulfilling international disarmament obligations.

2. Promote full implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms. While the PoA is not a binding legal instrument, the proliferation of illicit small arms represents the major disarmament challenge for governments and civil society in many parts of the world. Illicit arms damage security environments, fuel criminality and armed insurgency, and prevent women from assuming their rightful roles in society. GAPW works with global civil society partners and national governments to assess progress towards full PoA implementation, highlight and share national and regional best practices, and suggest ways for more effective regional coordination of future PoA-related activities.

3. Ensure a carefully negotiated Arms Trade Treaty that contributes to more than the arms trade business. GAPW has worked with a range of collaborating organizations to ensure that an ATT is sufficiently transparent, provides a structure sufficient to flag and address potentially illicit transfers, and minimizes the possibility of the diversion of transferred weapons to non-state actors including criminal elements, to the violation of human rights or other purposes incompatible with the UN charter, or to resale in order to ‘line the pockets’ of corrupt officials.

4. Work with our nuclear policy partners, especially the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and Soka Gakkai International, to ensure that the disarmament provisions of the NPT are sufficiently addressed, that non-nuclear states are provided with sufficient security assurances by the nuclear weapons states, and that Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zones are expanded with sufficient structure to monitor compliance and build/maintain regional confidence.

Many of our ideas and priorities on disarmament were assembled in a book we edited for the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, “Applying a Disarmament Lens…” which can be accessed by clicking here.