Magazine article UN Chronicle

Commission Recommends Guidelines on Regional Approaches

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Commission Recommends Guidelines on Regional Approaches

Article excerpt

New guidelines for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security were recommended for approval to the General Assembly by the Disarmament Commission at the conclusion of its 1993 session (19 April-10 May, New York).

In its report to the Assembly (A/48/42) containing the guidelines, the commission stated that regional and global approaches to disarmament should be pursued simultaneously and that regional arrangements, while conforming with the UN Charter and international law, must give priority to the elimination of the most destabilizing military capabilities and imbalances. They should also provide for confidence- and security-building measures, which could defuse tensions and promote friendly relations among States.

The guidelines contain an illustrative list of those measures, such as the UN Register of Conventional Arms and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.

The UN could also contribute to regional disarmament and arms limitation, particularly by promoting greater openness in military matters through both its Register and standardized system of reporting on military expenditures, the report stated.

Having completed its work on regional approaches, the Commission could not, however, reach agreement on certain aspects of the role of science and

technology for disarmament. That item would be carried over to the 1994 session of the Commission, when it is also expected to complete work on nuclear disarmament in the framework of international peace and security.

In a concluding statement, Commission Chairman Luiz Augusto de Araujo Castro of Brazil said it was highly significant that consensus on regional disarmament measures had been achieved. Although the guidelines were not legally binding, the fact that they had been agreed upon indicated the willingness of the international community to promote and security-building measures through regional arrangements.

The Commission - a subsidiary organ of the Assembly with universal membership - was set up in 1978 to make recommendations on specific disarmament issues and to follow up on the decisions of the Assembly's special sessions on disarmament.

The Commission's current agenda represents a new, phased approach by which it considers items in three-year cycles. in principle, it is to take up one item in the first year, another in the next year and a third in the concluding year so that one item is added and one is concluded at each substantive session. …

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