Links to download the documents for this survey can be found here.

Cover Letter (2 pages)    Survey (1 page)

International Peace Bureau 2012 Disarmament Survey – National Measures and Efforts

We believe there is widespread frustration that discussions within the Conference on Disarmament have not made progress during the past fifteen years.

However, disarmament efforts can also be undertaken at the national level. The General Assembly has encouraged many of these, and they allow states to take action on their own.

At least 151 member states of the United Nations no longer require, or do not possess, armed forces, and can pursue national development economically unencumbered by a military burden. Several others maintain only border guards.2

In 2012, the International Peace Bureau is undertaking a survey of efforts being undertaken by states at the national level to pursue their disarmament goals.

The results of this survey will be compiled and distributed to member and observer states of the Conference on Disarmament to encourage them to creatively consider how they can unilaterally pursue their disarmament goals.

The 2012 IPB Disarmament Survey includes questions regarding the following areas:

Disarmament Education

In 2000, the General Assembly commissioned a study on Disarmament Education as it was “Conscious of the need .. to combat the negative effects of cultures of violence and complacency in the face of current dangers in this field through long-term programmes of education and training”. The General Assembly requested that the study “ define contemporary disarmament education and training, taking into account the need to promote a culture of non-violence and peace” and to do so at the primary, secondary, university and post-graduate level.

The 2002 UN GoE study concluded that: The objectives of contemporary disarmament education and training are: (a) To learn how to think rather than what to think about issues; (b) To develop critical thinking skills in an informed citizenry; (c) To deepen understanding of the multiple factors at the local, national, regional and global levels that either foster or undermine peace; (d) To encourage attitudes and actions which promote peace. For more on the study please see A/57/124.

Disarmament & Development-

In December 2011, UN member states again stressed “the importance of the symbiotic relationship between disarmament and development” and expressed concern “at increasing global military expenditure, which could otherwise be spent on development needs.” Member states also urged that the redirecting of resources “made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development.” A /RES/66/30

Disarmament Mandate & Governance-

Some states have a constitutional mandate, such as Bangladesh, whose constitution requires that it “Strive for the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and for general and complete disarmament” [25.1.a]

Some states have appointed special commissions on disarmament, a Minister for Disarmament, national disarmament agencies, and Parliaments have created legislation mandating disarmament or creating the machinery for implementation of a disarmament convention.

Some Parliaments or Legislatures have unilaterally mandated disarmament. (eg. New Zealand’s parliament has legislated UN Security Council Resolution 1540 so that New Zealand is required not to assist any entity, whether State or non-State actor attempting to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use WMD and their means of delivery. Public Act 1987 No 86) Or through the adoption of legislation implementing a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (the Philippines amended its constitution prohibiting transit of nuclear weapons in it territories: Article II, Section 8).3

 

Non-military National Service & White Helmets Initiative

Non-military service, often called national service or national youth service, refers to organized programs where young people engage in a period of civilian service to the community or nation. Such service has important peace-building functions and can serve a variety of development and poverty alleviation interests of the state as well as the benefit to the individual participants. Frequently national youth service is a requirement within national university systems or can serve as an alternative to compulsory military service. National service programs sometimes have an adult component or international service component.

In 1994, the General Assembly welcomed “establishment of a national volunteer corps called “White Helmets”, undertaken in order to strengthen the stand-by capacity of … countries, to support the United Nations activities in the area of humanitarian emergency assistance, as well as in the promotion of a smooth transition from relief to rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.” A/RES/49/139

 

 

1Andorra, Costa Rica, Grenada, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Holy See.

2Haiti, Iceland, Mauritius, Monaco, Panama, Vanuatu all maintain Border or Coast Guards, in addition to a Police Force, with small arms, but not heavy weapons.

3 Almost half UN member states are part of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ): The Treaty of Tlatelolco– Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The Treaty of Rarotonga– Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The Treaty of Bangkok– Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Treaty of Pelindaba– Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Signatories that have not ratified the treaty are: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, as well as the area known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty– Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.