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Disarmament Machinery Segment of Thematic Debate in the First Committee of the Sixty-seventh Session of the United Nations General Assembly


Remarks
Statement by Delegation of the United States of America
New York City
November 7, 2012

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Prepared for the Record

The United States delegation listened with interest to the statements made by the distinguished representatives on the Disarmament Machinery Panel, as well as those by delegations. We had not intended to speak under this debate item, as the United States has spoken to the question of Disarmament Machinery in different venues, including here at the related 2010 High Level Meeting, and its follow-up plenary in July 2011. However, we were prompted by what we have heard to reiterate the U.S. perspective on the machinery, as well as to address specifically the role of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

We continue to believe that the international community got it just about right in its considerations on Disarmament Machinery at the First Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament in 1978. The deadlock faced in the Conference on Disarmament, and the inability of the UNDC to reach consensus conclusions following its deliberations, are not the fault of the machinery itself. While modest adjustments to the machinery might be helpful, they will not be a panacea. Rather, what’s missing is the desire of certain States to use this machinery as it was initially intended. And the United States does not believe some new conference - like a Fourth Special Session of the United Nations Devoted to Disarmament - will fix this.

At the same time, another part of the disarmament machinery, first proposed by France in SSOD I, has prospered - UNIDIR, which in 1980 was established by the General Assembly as an autonomous research institute. UNIDIR’s Board of Trustees is the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament, established by the GA at SSOD I.

U.S. support for UNGA Resolution 65/87 adopted in 2010 on the "Thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research" reflected our strong support for the work of the Institute. The United States has worked closely on several important projects with UNIDIR over the years, including recent support for its annual space security conference and the upcoming UNIDIR cyber security conference entitled "The Role of Confidence Building Measures in Assuring Cyber Stability." The United States continues to value UNIDIR’s impartial, action-oriented research and welcomes continued projects on other key issues such as the disarmament machinery and

With a view to making the United Nations and its related organizations more efficient and cost effective, there is a proposal under development that would cluster UN-related institutions involved with training and research together, which would involve moving UNIDIR into this new cluster. The United States is all for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Let there be no doubt about that. At the same time, we would be interested in knowing more about how such a move comports with UNIDIR’s autonomous and independent status, what impact it would have on the status and role of UNIDIR’s Board of Trustees established by the UNGA, how it would advance UNIDIR’s ability to respond to States Parties’ disarmament and nonproliferation research interests and activities, and how it would actually result in cost savings and efficiency, while reinforcing UNIDIR’s valuable role. Finally, if there is to be a reorganization, it makes sense to keep UNIDIR associated with its main purpose – disarmament and nonproliferation. UNIDIR doesn’t train UN staff, it works with Member States on disarmament and nonproliferation research. As such, it would be better associated in a cluster that includes the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, with whom it closely works. Fundamentally, the disarmament and nonproliferation issues that are at the core of UNIDIR’s remit are peace and

The United States would also like to reiterate its thanks to Mr. Kim Won-soo for briefing the UNGA First Committee on the efforts aimed at change management, and for his offer of an "interactive dialogue" with Member States. We look forward to that conversation.



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