Disarmament Commission: Three New Items on Agenda

Article excerpt

Regional approaches to disarmament the role of science and technology in the context of international security and the process of nuclear disarmament in the framework of international peace and security, with the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons, were three new items on the agenda of the Disarmament Commission at its 1991 session (22 April-13 May, New York).

According to Commission Chairman Peter Hohenfellner of Austria, since the items were new, "not as much progress had been achieved on these issues as had been hoped". However, particularly because they were "future-oriented" items, the comprehensive discussions that had taken place "would allow more input in forthcoming sessions", he added.

A fourth substantive item which had been considered last year-objective information on military matters-was also reviewed, and major areas of common understanding were identified, with the aim of formulating principles and guidelines for adoption by the Commission.

In 1990, the Commission decided that, beginning this year, it would consider no more than four substantive questions at each session. No subject would remain on the agenda for more than three consecutive years.

The Commission created four working groups to deal with the substantive agenda items.

Working Group I recommended that the UN should promote openness and transparency on military matters by enhancing its reporting system on military expenditures. General public and interested research institutions should have easy access to objective information in the military field.

Noting that the nuclear dimension of disarmament remained a priority issue in preserving international peace and security, Working Group 11 decided to continue reviewing the steps taken in the process of nuclear disarmament, as well as the related UN role, with the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons.

Stressing that regional efforts are essential elements in global disarmament, Working Group III pointed out that regional and global approaches complement each other and should be pursued simultaneously

No less important for international security and disarmament are scientific and technological developments, which were discussed by Working Group IV. In introducing the Group's report, its Chairman said the divergent views expressed had been constructively and cooperatively presented, and the specific questions brought into focus would guide the Commission in its future work. …