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First Committee will ask General Assembly to call on States to adopt legislation to prevent illicit arms brokering, according to new draft resolution

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GA/DIS/3373

Sixty-third General Assembly
First Committee
15th Meeting (AM)

Hostile Use of International Information Security Compared to Damage From 'Classical' Weapons, Russian Federation Says, as 13 Draft Texts Tabled

Concerned that, if proper measures were not taken, illicit arms brokering would adversely affect peace and security, prolong conflict and result in the illicit transfers of conventional arms and the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors, the General Assembly would underline the commitment of Member States to address that threat, according to one of 13 drafts introduced today in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

According to that new draft resolution, tabled by the Republic of Korea, the Assembly would call on Member States to establish appropriate national laws and/or measures to prevent and combat illicit brokering of conventional arms, and materials, equipment and technology that could contribute to the proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery means (document A/C.1/63/L.43).

Speaking as the Committee wrapped up its thematic debate on conventional weapons, Senegal's representative called for the adoption of an instrument on illicit brokering, as that would regulate illegal transfers, especially to non-State players and terrorist groups. Gravely concerned about easy access to small arms and light weapons in particular, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries had sought to convert their moratorium into a legally binding treaty. But the fight against the illicit conventional arms trade should be a collective undertaking if Member States wanted to achieve tangible results.

Also informing the debate was the issue of cluster munitions, and today, Ireland's representative introduced a draft resolution on the new Convention, which would open for signature in Oslo in December. By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to render the necessary assistance and provide such services as might be necessary to fulfil the tasks entrusted to him by the Convention (document A/C.1/63/L.56).

The Committee also began its thematic discussion on other disarmament measures and international security, during which the representative of the Russian Federation introduced for consideration again the draft resolution on information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/63/L.45). He said that the draft's objective was to confirm the world community's intention to continue research on existing and potential threats in the sphere of international information security within the Group of Governmental Experts. The convening of the Group remained urgent and reasonable, and he called on all countries to support the draft resolution.

He said that information and telecommunications technologies ("ITT") had opened a new non-material-virtual space to the world. That space had not proved to be safe at all. The specific nature of the international information security was connected with the fact that when ITT were used with hostile intentions, it was impossible to speak about an application of arms in a traditional sense, as ITT was basically civil or dual-use technologies. The range of consequences of their hostile use could be compared to the damage from the use of "classical" weapons and even weapons of mass destruction. His country believed that consideration of the international information security issues should be continued in the First Committee, as all aspects of the topic were closely interconnected.

Other draft resolutions were introduced on: the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/63/L.35); consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/63/L.36); transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/63/L.51); promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/63/L.20), observance of environmental norms in disarmament and arms control agreements (document A/C.1/63/L.21); relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/63/L.23); effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/63/L.26); United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (document A/C.1/63/L.52); and United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (document A/C.1/63/L.53).

A draft decision was introduced on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/63/L.33).

Statements were also made by the representatives of Gabon, China, Ecuador, Germany, Kenya, Netherlands, Paraguay, Zambia, Togo, Mexico, Iran, Libya, Indonesia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Singapore, Cuba, India, Mexico and Japan.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 23 October to continue its thematic debate on other disarmament measures and international security.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to conclude its thematic debate on conventional weapons and begin its debate on other disarmament measures and international security, as well as regional disarmament and security. The latter theme will include a penal discussion with the participation of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; the Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs; and Directors of the Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament. The Committee would also hear the introduction of draft texts related to those thematic discussions.

Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons

ALFRED MOUSSOTSI (Gabon), endorsing the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union, said it had been proven that conventional weapons had become weapons of mass destruction as a result of the many lives that had been taken through their use. Many conflicts were fuelled by the trafficking in small arms and light weapons. Major banditry and abuse of children were also made possible by the excess of those weapons.

Despite that situation, however, he said that the adoption of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, along with the ability to trace and mark those weapons had given him hope. Still, cooperation was lacking among some players in the fight against those weapons. There was also a lack of financial resources in the developing world to fully implement the Programme of Action.

He said that although the Action Programme had been bolstered by an outcome document adopted at the Third Biennial Meeting of States in July, there were still issues with its content that would require periodic review. The international community needed more than political instruments to manage the problem of small arms and light weapons; it also needed a legally binding instrument.

A binding treaty on conventional weapons would meet the aspirations of African countries because it would promote peace through common international norms, he said. Such a treaty should prohibit the sale of weapons to countries where there was conflict. Pending that, weapons embargoes imposed by the United Nations Security Council should be strengthened.

KANG YONG ( China) said his country was dedicated to supporting the humanitarian concerns of conventional weapons, while considering security concerns in a balanced way. The 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 (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) had played an indispensable role in protecting human rights. As a result, China was committed to enhancing the treaty's effectiveness, and had contributed to the sponsorship programme to expand the States parties to the Convention.

Likewise, he said his country was dedicated to the issue of cluster munitions, and had been actively and constructively engaged in the work on the Group of Governmental Experts in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on that issue. China believed in balancing military needs with humanitarian concerns. His country had also contributed to Asian and African mine clearance projects, including providing equipment and training. In April, it had hosted a mine clearance course for personnel from north and south Sudan, and had provided financial assistance to additional countries, including Ecuador.

Believing in combating the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, he said harnessing that illegal trade could be accomplished by using existing instruments, and he welcomed the successful outcome of the Third Biennial Meeting of States. China was willing to enhance cooperation with all parties to combat the harmful effects of the illicit small arms and light weapons trade. China attached great importance to the humanitarian crises it caused. The international community should do its part to control that illicit trade via a step-by-step approach. Also imperative was military transparency. For the first time, China had submitted its military expenditure for 2007 to the voluntary United Nations reporting instrument data, demonstrating its determination to enhance its military transparency and actively promote trust within the international community.

MARIA FERNANDA ESPINOSA (Ecuador), associating herself with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), said that the challenge of small arms and light weapons was rooted in the uncontrolled transfer and the ease with which they were accessed. National efforts were fundamental in that fight, and needed to be bolstered by regional and international support. A transparent licensing and adequate marking system was important in regulating the trade in those weapons, including helping to identify the lawful trade, thereby allowing States to acquire weapons for self-defence.

She said that the small arms Programme of Action and the international tracing instrument needed support. She hoped that efforts to strengthen and implement those instruments would translate into a legally binding arms trade treaty. She called for an extension of Ecuador's deadline by eight years under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine Ban Convention).

Ecuador supported the strengthening the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and in that connection, welcomed the Convention on Cluster Munitions as a positive step towards addressing their humanitarian impact, she said. Ecuador would host a conference on the Cluster Munitions Convention to raise awareness of the new instrument in Latin America. She hoped they would have broad support in Latin America and the Caribbean. She added that the national efforts of developing countries to deal with the issue of conventional weapons could only succeed with the help of the international community.

BERNARD BRASACK ( Germany) introduced two draft resolutions: one on the Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/63/L.35) and one on the Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/63/L.36).

Regarding the first draft text, France and Germany had tabled a similar resolution in 2005 to address the neglect of the issue in arms control discussions, focusing on the issues surrounding stockpiles and surplus. That had been followed in 2006 by a resolution that had established a group of governmental experts to examine the issue, basing its approach on the notion that the existence ofstockpiles and surplus was a result of policies and practices. The Group's recommendations thus provided guidance in the field.

He said that the draft on the problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (A/C.1/63/L.35) endorsed the Group's report, and Germany hoped the resolution would receive consensus.

The draft on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/63/L.36) promoted a comprehensive and integrated approach towards results within a reasonable timeframe. The concept behind the text dated back to former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. With more than 80 co-sponsors, Germany hoped the text would be adopted without a vote.

PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said the issue of controlling conventional weapons remained a great source of concern for the international community, as did the expenditures related to acquiring those weapons at a time when those funds could be channelled towards development. An arms trade treaty should at least cover the seven categories of arms in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

Elaborating such a treaty would enable Member States to realize the wish expressed by an overwhelming majority through the adoption of General Assembly resolution 61/89 on 6 December 2006 to strictly regulate the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. It was necessary, however, to maintain complete engagement in the process through to its completion.

He said that easy access to those weapons was a source of grave concern for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It was out of that concern that countries sought to convert the small arms and light weapons moratorium into a legally binding treaty. The fight against the illicit trade in conventional arms should be a collective undertaking if Member States wished to achieve tangible results. Senegal welcomed the substantive report of the Third Biennial Meeting of States, and called for its rigorous implementation. He further called for the adoption of an instrument on illicit brokering, as that would regulate illegal transfers, especially to non-State players and terrorist groups.

He noted with satisfaction that the Mine Ban Convention continued to have broad support. He encouraged States that had not yet done so to accede to it without delay, and for all States to continue their technical and financial assistance to mine clearance efforts and victim assistance. The Convention on Cluster Munitions was a major breakthrough in the protection of civilians, and he looked forward to its entry into force in 2009. The year 2009 will be a milestone in the control of conventional weapons.

PHILIP RICHARD OWADE (Kenya), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said he was particularly concerned about the continued production, manufacture and circulation of small arms and light weapons, and their excessive accumulation and proliferation around the world.

He underscored the importance of the Action Programme, and welcomed the progress made at the last Biennial Meeting of States. The Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons had done commendable work in harmonizing the activities of Member States. Kenya remained committed to the global efforts to govern international arms transfers through a legally binding treaty. He expressed appreciation to the more than 80 States that had so far sponsored the resolution tabled by the United Kingdom, which sought to establish an open-ended working group to begin consideration of the elements in the Group of Governmental Experts' report for an eventual legally binding arms trade treaty.

In that connection, he said that Kenya had hosted an African regional meeting in Nairobi on the issue in September. The so-called Nairobi outcome document had been adopted, which he presented to the Committee. It recommended, among other things, that the negotiations on an effective arms trade treaty should promote peace and development in Africa. It should include universally applicable criteria based on States' existing obligations under international law. It should be broad in scope and encompass all conventional weapons, and it should include provisions for international cooperation and assistance, in order to ensure that developing countries acquired the capacity to implement it at the national level.

He said he hoped that the partnership between States, civil society and international organizations underscored in the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development would promote comprehensive responses to address the scourge of armed violence. Kenya also welcomed the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. He urged States to sign it, saying it would bolster and complement the progress already made under the Mine Ban Convention.

JOHANNES LANDMAN ( Netherlands) introduced, on behalf of 74 co-sponsors, a draft resolution entitled Transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/63/L.51). The draft text rested on the notion that transparency in military matters contributed to confidence- and security-building. With that in mind, the 1991 transparency in armaments resolution (46/36 L) established the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which had been reviewed triennially by a Group of Governmental Experts, the last review having being held in 2006. The present text noted the continued importance of an enhanced level of transparency in armaments and the important contribution of the Conventional Arms Register in that regard.

Then, speaking in his capacity as the president of the 2007 First Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War, he noted that the Protocol was the first international instrument ever to have addressed the serious post-conflict humanitarian problems caused that ordnance. Pursuant to Protocol's provisions, the First Conference had been convened last November, and had set up a framework for exchanges of information and cooperation.

He said the Conference had decided, among other things, that States parties to Protocol V would establish a forum to facilitate coordination and cooperation among themselves on implementation issues, a separate database on explosive remnants of war for requests and needs assessments, and a national reporting mechanism on implementation measures taken. In light of those decisions, the 2008 Meeting of Experts of the High Contracting Parties had been held in July in Geneva, and would report to the Second Conference next month.

DORIS ROMÁN GONZÁLEZ (Paraguay), associating herself with the statement made on behalf of MERCOSUR, said that trafficking in small arms and light weapons remained a concern around the world. She supported all the regional, subregional and international efforts effort to deal with the issue. Especially important was implementation of the Action Programme, for which she supported biennial reviews, such as the Third Biennial Meeting of States held in July. The outcomes of those periodic reviews should always be innovative and concrete recommendations guiding the implementation of the action plan. She also supported the use of the marking and tracking instrument, and the final outcome of the most recent Biennial Meeting of States. She hoped that would motivate results in the Programme's implementation.

She said that Paraguay had done much in the area of small arms and light weapons at the national level. In her country, civil society played a huge role in educating people about the negative effects of those conventional weapons. She also supported the work towards the conclusion of a legally binding arms trade treaty. She noted the results of the Group of Governmental Experts, and said their recommendations should guide the work of Member States. She voiced concern about the use of cluster munitions. Paraguay was gratified by the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and hoped it would be ratified quickly.

BOB KULIMA ( Zambia) said the origin of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons was rooted in civil wars and conflict. The irresponsible transfer of arms from manufacturers and brokers had impacted negatively on peace and security, as well as sustainable development in Zambia and the region.

He said that security was closely linked to development, and, in that light, Zambia had instituted measures including putting in place a national focal point for Programme of Action implementation, establishing a firearms act to regulate all aspects of trade, and involving civil society in dealing with the problem.

Zambia strongly supported the growing concern among States for the need to consider expanding the scope of small arms and light weapons to include man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). Zambia also called for the establishment of a legally binding instrument to regulate the trade and flow of conventional weapons. Although the International Tracing Instrument was not legally binding, Zambia wished to join other Member States and civil society organizations in calling for its full implementation, in order to enable States to identify and trace small arms and light weapons in a timely and reliable manner.

Committed to the Mine Ban Convention and the Nairobi Action Plan 2005-2009, Zambia also strongly supported advances made in the area of cluster munitions, and hoped States would sign and ratify the Convention later this year, he said.

PALAKIYEM BOYODE (Togo), endorsing the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union, said the rule of law that Member States wanted to establish in their countries could not be achieved through upheaval; everything should be done to achieve peace.

He said that Togo was sparing no effort in dealing with the illegal transfer of small arms and light weapons. His country had set up a National Committee to address the problem. In order to ensure effectiveness, the National Committee had campaigned in schools with the message of non-violence and the culture of peace. It had also promoted the idea of elections without weapons. National workshops had been held, along with a national dialogue on the theme of small arms and light weapons and management of those stockpiles.

Without peace and security, development was not possible. From that standpoint, he supported the proposal to negotiate and adopt a global arms trade treaty. He also welcomed the use of an arms register for Africa, which should also cover the brokering of illicit weapons. He encouraged the United Nations and other institutions to work to combat the small arms and light weapons scourge.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said the speedy adoption of the Cluster Munitions Convention was proof that differences could be overcome, even amid a climate of stagnation. Only the prompt entry into force of the Convention would ensure the recognition of the humanitarian rights of victims, and that bans on those weapons could become a reality. He appealed to more States to support the Convention.

He said that Mexico had worked hard to combat arms trafficking, with the seizure of thousands of firearms and fragmented grenades over the past two years. But the efforts of States to combat that scourge would be limited until progress was made through international cooperation, and until brokers and users grasped the importance of the transfer of legal trade into illegal trafficking. It was well known that arms had been diverted to the illegal market, which fuelled urban crime and violence. The States participating in the Third Biennial Meeting of States had achieved tangible results, striking a path forward in addressing those issues, and he hoped for future successes at subsequent meetings. Recalling the broad support given to General Assembly Resolution 61/89, he favoured strong commitments towards an arms trade treaty.

ALISON KELLY ( Ireland) introduced a draft resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions (document A/C.1/63/L.56). The draft text, which was administrative and procedural, would have the General Assembly ask the Secretary-General to render the necessary assistance, and to provide such services as might be necessary to fulfil the tasks entrusted to him by the Convention. She noted that there were no budgetary implications to the proposal, and hoped the draft text would be adopted by consensus.

SEYED MOHAMMAD ALI ROBATJAZI( Ira n) reaffirmed the right to arms for security needs, based on the United Nations Charter, and said that any arms regulations should follow the Charter. Also essential was to maintain an integrated approach to controlling the arms trade. Major categories were covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which was mainly transparent. However, there was little merit to cover transfers of aircraft, missiles or tanks, as their illegal transfer could not take place as easily.

He noted that between 60 to 90 per cent of direct deaths were caused by small arms. Tremendous efforts had been made by the international community through the 2001 Programme of Action in this area. In addition, an international instrument to trace weapons was adopted in 2005 by the General Assembly within the Programme of Action's framework. Those existing multilateral efforts should not be abandoned. Given the time and money spent by Member States in concluding and implementing the Programme of Action, it was not appropriate to add more of a burden on those States by creating a new tract. It was first necessary for the United Nations to focus on the illicit trade in small arms. He added that the applied procedure and method of work on the outcome document of the Third Biennial Meeting of States, which fell far short of United Nations standards, including transparency and inclusiveness, had done damage to the existing consensus.

Overproduction of arms could lead to excessive supplies of weapons and facilitate their entry in regions of tension, he went on. The export of arms to the Middle East exemplified that concern, felt by countries in the region and countries across the world. That reality raised the notion of an arms race. Millions of dollars of "high-tech" weapons sent to the "Zionist regime" was a problem. Efforts to curb the illicit trafficking of those weapons should include their registration through national laws. Iran was ready to have an exchange of views on that issue within the framework of the United Nations.

ABDURRAHMAN ELGANNAS ( Libya), supporting the statement made on behalf of the Nom-Aligned Movement, said Libya fully agreed that there were many challenges in the area of conventional weapons, and they required multilateral action.

With respect to mines, he said international mechanisms had not addressed the issue in an objective and balanced way. Dealing with the issue of anti-personnel mines had been done in a truncated way, and had resulted in embargoes being placed on weak countries, preventing them from acquiring weapons for defence. The Mine Ban Convention should be reconsidered in that respect, so as to reflect the need for the treatment of victims. It should also facilitate rehabilitation and protection of the environment. Weak States should be allowed to acquire mines to protect their territory.

He said that failure to take those needs into consideration would be a pretext for many countries to abstain from voting on related drafts. It could also cause some countries to withdraw from the Convention. He also highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the area of trafficking small arms and light weapons, stressing the need to implement the Programme of Action. Libya fully favoured transparency in weapons. The United Nations Register of Conventional Weapons was the first, however late, attempt to deal with the issue globally.

Thematic Debate on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security

FEBRIAN RUDDYARD ( Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced four draft resolutions.

Introducing a draft resolution on the Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/63/L.20), he said the Movement believed that the United Nations had a strong role to play in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. He underscored multilateralism as the "core principle" in negotiations in those areas.

He then introduced a draft resolution on the Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/63/L.21). In doing so, he called on all United Nations Member States to ensure the application of scientific and technological processes in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related fields, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.

As he introduced a draft text on the Relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/63/L.23), he expressed concern about increasing global military expenditures, which could otherwise be funnelled towards development, poverty eradication and the elimination of diseases.

Introducing a draft resolution on the Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/63/L.26), he underscored that there had not yet been an clear understanding of the full impact that fine particles of depleted uranium might have on the human body. The draft reflected a legitimate concern of the international community about those possible impacts.

VICTOR L. VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) said he wanted to draw attention to a technical point. Referring to a press release on the First Committee proceedings for 21 October, issued by the Department of Public Information, he said, "When we were discussing the issue of conventional weapons, and I was ascribed the following words, and I quote the document I have in front of me, 'there was a need to conclude an international arms trade treaty' and then the other phrase -- I'll also quote in English -- 'the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was a part of the problem in the illicit trafficking of weapons'". He said, "I didn't say those words and my request for the Secretariat and for those that are taking notes, please take accurately what the delegates here in the hall are saying."

Continuing with his presentation, he said that information and telecommunications technologies (ITT) had opened a new non-material-virtual space to the world. That space had not proved to be safe at all. The globalization of information systems, embracing territories of a great number of countries had created a completely new situation in the sphere of challenges and threats in the area of information security.

The specific nature of the international information security was connected with the fact that when "ITT" were used with hostile intentions, it was impossible to speak about an application of arms in a traditional sense, as the ITT were basically civil or dual-use technologies, he said. The range of consequences of their hostile use could be compared to the damage from the use of "classical" weapons and even weapons of mass destruction. ITT could be used, not only by individual delinquents and criminal groups, but also by terrorist and extremist organizations, as well as by States for hostile political, military, economic and other purposes, thereby creating threats to security at national, regional and international levels.

He said his country believed that consideration of the international information security issues should be continued in the First Committee, as all aspects of the topic were closely interconnected. In a bid to promote a better understanding of international information security threats, and to find common ways to fight them, in 1998, Russia had moved forward the initiative of raising the issue of ensuring international information security at the international level. Up to 2005, the resolution entitled "Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security" proposed by Russia had been adopted by the General Assembly by consensus.

Russia, along with co-sponsors, introduced the draft resolution for consideration again, entitled Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/63/L.45), he said. The objective of the draft resolution –- it had the same title as previous years, and the text was practically identical to that of last year's -- was to confirm the world community's intention to continue research on existing and potential threats in the sphere of international information security within the Group of Governmental Experts. The convening of the Group remained urgent and reasonable, and he called on all countries to support the draft resolution.

TAN JEE PIAU ( Singapore) said the rise of globalization and the ensuing free-flow of goods and services, as well as the availability of technology, had led to new and complex security challenges. Dual-use technology and material with civil and military implications had become increasingly accessible in today's global marketplace. If acquired, those items could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. While the primary concern over such weapons had previously focussed on States' possession, today the threat of non-State actors must also be considered. With such increasingly complex security threats, more multilateral cooperation was needed. In that context, disarmament and non-proliferation should be seen as mutually reinforcing concepts.

He said that Singapore took its obligations under Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) seriously. It also supported multilateral non-proliferation regimes, but believed they were empty constructs if unaccompanied by effective national implementation. As an aviation hub and one of the world's most important shipping lanes -– as well as home to the world's top 10 petrochemical industries –- Singapore did not wish to be used by any parties bent on illicit activities.

Towards that goal, Singapore relied on robust export control systems and active counter-proliferation measures, he said. Its Strategic Goods (Control) Act strengthened controls on the export, transhipment and transit of strategic goods and technology, and worked in conjunction with other national laws covering chemical weapons, biological agents and toxins, arms and explosive and radiation protection. It had expanded those controls to include all items regulated by the four multilateral non-proliferation regimes. It was also participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative, which aimed to deepen international efforts to curb the movement of weapons of mass destruction, most recently through a counter-proliferation maritime interdiction exercise hosted by New Zealand. In addition to its regular activities aimed at upholding its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and On Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention), Singapore had pledged to share, among other things, its system of implementation of that Convention with neighbouring countries.

MARIETA GARCIA JORDAN ( Cuba) said the United Nations remained vital in the area of peace and international security. Disarmament and development were two of the world's most pressing challenges, and the imbalance of military expenditure and poverty were realities. Cuba reaffirmed its support for the 1987 Conference on Disarmament and Development, as well as the notion of diverting military spending to development efforts.

He said that Cuba had a tradition of advocating for an international disarmament measure that included considerations for the environment. The strengthening of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) would also protect the environment when that treaty was implemented.

The draft resolution introduced under the item concerning the effects of weapons and munitions containing depleted uranium reflected an international concern, she said, noting that preliminary studies by groups such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had concluded that there was a need to determine the long-term effects of using weapons containing depleted uranium.

HAMID ALI RAO ( India) introduced a draft decision (document A/C.1/63/L.33) that proposes that the provisional agenda of the sixty-fourth General Assembly include an item entitled "Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament".

He said it was evident that scientific and technological progress, as well as international cooperation and the transfer of know-how in the peaceful use of science and technology, should be promoted for the economic and social development of all States. Developing countries needed access to scientific development and new technologies to develop and actively participate in global trade.

It was also evident, he said, that scientific and technological development could have both civilian and military applications. There was a need to closely follow the developments of those technologies that could negatively impact international security and disarmament. Further, progress in science and technology for civilian applications needed to be maintained, encouraged and widely shared. International transfers of dual-use goods and technology, as well as of high technology with military applications should be regulated in ways that ensured access to those seeking their peaceful use. In those processes, dialogue and cooperation among Member States were needed.

Concluding, he said that while India had not tabled a resolution on that item this year, it felt there was merit in retaining it on the Assembly's agenda.

EMMA RODRIGUES ( Mexico) introduced two draft resolutions to the Committee. The first, "United Nations Study on disarmament and non-proliferation education" (document A/C.1/63/L.52), was co-sponsored by several other member States. She said the sponsors were convinced that education on non-proliferation was an effective instrument in promoting peace.

She said that the second draft resolution was on the "United Nations Disarmament Information Programme" (document A/C.1/63/L.53). The text was a follow-up to the Disarmament Programme, and she called on all delegations to support it.

SUMIO TARUI ( Japan) said as one of the members of the 2002 United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education, Japan placed great importance on the issue. It strongly believed that education was a key to promoting disarmament and non-proliferation, and laid a basis for any concerted international efforts. Education not only provided information, but motivated people to address the challenges and problems through critical thinking. "We, therefore, need to be educated as well as to educate," he said, adding that cooperation with civil society in that area could not be overemphasized. Japan was one of the co-sponsors of a biannual resolution on the programme, submitted by Mexico.

HAN-TAEK IM ( Republic of Korea) introduced a draft resolution for the first time, entitled Preventing and Combating Illicit Brokering Activities (document A/C.1/63/L.43). He believed that the international community could address the problem of the illegal transfer of arms by focusing on illicit brokering.

For information media • not an official record