Note: A complete summary of today’s First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) meeting will be made available on Friday, 4 November.
Point of Order
On a point of order, the representative of the Federated States of Micronesia, also on behalf of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, said that, yesterday, they came prepared to register their positions and waited 2 hours and 45 minutes to do so. However, voting was postponed to today. Today, many competing meetings are being held at the same time, meaning that small delegations must scramble to go from room to room. These delegations are being put in the unacceptable position as they must choose. Yesterday, there was enough time left to at least start with voting, and perhaps, like Friday, 28 October, postpone only part of the voting to the next day. He also raised concern about the broader pattern that showed a lack of coordination between the Committees and the plenary, disadvantaging small delegations.
The Chair apologized for this inconvenience and said he was aware that small delegations were stretched thin. The representative’s concerns would be recorded and communicated. He would try to ensure the least amount of inconvenience.
Action — Other Disarmament Measures and International Security
First, the Committee approved without a vote a draft resolution, entitled “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/77/L.4), introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Among its provisions, the Assembly would call upon States to adopt measures on all levels to ensure the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, without detriment to the environment. It would also invite Member States to communicate to the Secretary-General on measures they adopted to promote the objectives of this resolution and to the Secretary-General to provide a report containing that information.
Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution titled “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/77/L.5), introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, by which the Assembly would urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, to reduce the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.
Next, it approved the draft resolution titled “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (document A/C.1/77/L.8), by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, North Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States), with 49 abstentions. It was also introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Among its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferations, call on States to renew and fulfil their commitments to multilateral cooperation and request States parties of relevant instruments to cooperate among themselves in resolving concerns on non-compliance and implementation, and refrain from resorting to unilateral actions, or unverified non-compliance accusations.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution titled “Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium” (document A/C.1/77/L.10), also introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
It approved the text by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 24 abstentions.
The Assembly, by the text, would ask the Secretary-General to request international organizations to update their studies on the effects of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium on human health and the environment, invite Member States that have used such armaments to provide information to the relevant authorities, and to provide assistance to affected States.
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution entitled “International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness” (document A/C.1/77/L.14), by which the Assembly would declare 5 March as the International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness.
Next, it took up the draft resolution entitled “United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education” (document A/C.1/77/L.15), by which the Assembly, among its provisions, would ask the Secretary-General to maintain and update the disarmament education website.
By a recorded vote of 164 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Iran, Israel, Russian Federation, Syria), it retained operative paragraph 4, by which the Assembly would express its appreciation to the Secretary-General for Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, and note the proposed actions therein to further advance disarmament and non-proliferation education.
It then approved “L.15” without a vote.
The Committee turned to the draft resolution titled “Women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control” (document A/C.1/77/L.18). By its terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to support and strengthen women’s full, equal, meaningful and effective participation in disarmament organizations at the local, national, subregional, regional and global levels.
It first retained preambular paragraph 5 by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (Iran, Russian Federation, Syria), by which the Assembly would note the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda’s Action 36 on full and equal participation of women in decision-making processes and Action 37 on gender parity on disarmament bodies established by the Secretariat.
By a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (China, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria), it retained preambular paragraph 9, by which the Assembly would recognize that women should not only be perceived as victims and survivors of gender-based armed violence, but are also essential in preventing and reducing armed violence, and are active and key players in advocating for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
By a recorded vote of 139 in favour to none against, with 28 abstentions, it retained preambular paragraph 13, which would have the Assembly recall the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and reiterate the need for States parties to ensure women’s and men’s full, equal and meaningful participation in pursuing the object and purpose of its provisions.
By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria), it retained preambular paragraph 14, which would have the Assembly welcome the outcome of the eighth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to none against, with 8 abstentions (Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Mauritania, Russian Federation, Syria), it retained preambular paragraph 17, which would have the Assembly take into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the progress made in gender equality, multilateral disarmament and arms control, and acknowledge that the pandemic has further exacerbated the socioeconomic conditions of people in vulnerable situations, which has results in the intensification of tensions and an alarming increase in cases of domestic and gender-based armed violence.
By a recorded vote of 164 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (India, Iran, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Syria), it retained operative paragraph 4, by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to better understand the impact of armed violence, in particular of the illicit small arms and light weapons trafficking on women and girls, through, among others, the development of national action plans on women, peace and security.
By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Belarus, Iran, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Syria) it retained operative paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly call on Member States to take account of the differing impacts of the illicit arms trade on women, men, girls and boys, and to strengthen or develop response mechanisms to address such impacts.
By a recorded vote of 162 in favour to none against, with 8 abstentions (Algeria, Belarus, Iran, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria), it retained operative paragraph 6, by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to mainstream a gender perspective into its implementation efforts to address the differential impact of the illicit trade on women, men, girls and boys.
By a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Belarus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria), it retained operative paragraph 11, by which the Assembly would urge Member States to voluntarily share good practices and experiences of the successes of the role of women at all levels, in order to promote cooperation in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.
It then approved “L.18” as a whole without a vote.
The Committee then approved, without a vote, the draft resolution entitled “United Nations Disarmament Information Programme” (document A/C.1/77/L.20), introduced by Mexico.
By its terms, the Assembly would stress the United Nations Disarmament Programme’s importance in enabling all Member States to participate in disarmament negotiations, and in assisting in Member States’ compliance with treaties and transparency mechanisms. It would recommend that the Programme continue to generate public understanding of multilateral action’s importance in the field of arms control and disarmament.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution, entitled “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/77/L.23/Rev.1), introduced by the Russian Federation.
By its text, the Assembly would call upon States to further engage constructively in the negotiations and meetings of the Open-Ended Working Group, which will make present recommendations, adopted by consensus, to the Assembly. It would also confirm that, taking into account the concerns and interests of all States, the aspects in the Group’s mandate should be further elaborated within the Group, and encourage States to exchange views on a regular institutional dialogue on information and communications technology (ICT) security, to be established after the Group’s conclusion.
Before taking action on the draft as a whole, the Committee first retained preambular paragraph 2, by a recorded vote of 103 in favour to 53 against, with 8 abstentions (Chile, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Lesotho, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Singapore).
According to that provision, the Assembly would stress that it was in the interest of all States to promote the use of ICT for peaceful purposes, with the objective of shaping a community of shared future for humankind for peace, security and stability in the information space.
Next, the Committee retained preambular paragraph 4, by a recorded vote of 102 in favour to 52 against, with 10 abstentions (Bhutan, Chile, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Lesotho, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Singapore), by which the Assembly would reaffirm that, given the unique attributes of ICT, additional norms could be developed over time. It would also note the possibility of future elaboration of additional binding obligations.
Thirdly, the Committee retained preambular paragraph 7, by a recorded vote of 101 in favour to 52 against, with 11 abstentions. By the provision, the Assembly would underline the importance for the global community to shape a system of international information security and a democratic and inclusive negotiating process within the Open-Ended Working Group, while recognizing its centrality as the mechanism within the United Nations for dialogue of security in the use of ICT.
The Committee then approved “L.23/Rev.1” as a whole, by a recorded vote of 112 in favour to 52 against, with 10 abstentions (Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Lesotho, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Singapore).
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft, entitled “United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services” (document A/C.1/77/L.32), by which the Assembly would note with satisfaction that the programme has trained 1,033 officials from 170 Member States throughout its more than 40 years of existence, many of whom hold positions of responsibility in the field of disarmament within their own governments.
Also acting without a vote, it approve a draft decision entitled, Open-ended working group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021-2025 established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 75/240 (document A/C.1/77/L.54). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to endorse the annual progress report and convene inter-sessional meetings of up to five days each in 2023 and 2024 to advance discussions.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution, entitled Promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security (document A/C.1/77/L.56), as orally revised.
By its terms, the Assembly would urge all Member States to take concrete measures to promote international cooperation on materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes, in particular not to maintain any restrictions incompatible with their non-proliferation obligations.
By a recorded vote of 85 in favour to 51 against, with 27 abstentions, it first retained preambular paragraph 15, by which the Assembly would note with concern that undue restrictions on exports to developing countries of materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes persist.
By a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 51 against, with 26 abstentions, it retained preambular paragraph 16, by which the Assembly would emphasize that proliferation concerns are best addressed through multilaterally negotiated, universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory agreements.
By a recorded vote of 84 in favour to 51 against, with 30 abstentions, it retained preambular paragraph 17, by which the Assembly would emphasize that non‑proliferation control arrangement should be transparent and open to the participation of all States and ensure that no restrictions are imposed on access to technology for peaceful purposes required for sustainable development.
By a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 52 against, with 24 abstentions, it retained operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to promote peaceful uses of said material and relevant international cooperation, including by identifying gaps, challenges, ideas and opportunities to strengthen cooperation and explore possible ways forward.
It then approved “L.56” as a whole, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 88 in favour to 54 against, with 31 abstentions.
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution, entitled “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/77/L.59), introduced by India.
By its provisions, the Assembly would invite Member States to apply developments in science and technology for disarmament-related purposes, including the verification of disarmament, and to make those technologies available to interested States. It would also call on Member States to remain vigilant in understanding developing in science and technology that could imperil international security.
The Committee also approved, without a vote, a resolution entitled “Objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures” (document A/C.1/77/L.63), introduced by Germany and Romania. By its terms, the Assembly would call on Member States to provide the Secretary-General with a report on their military expenditures, and invite them to provide explanatory remarks, such as military expenditure as a share of gross domestic product, major changes, and information reflecting their defence policy, military strategies and doctrines.
The Committee also approved a draft resolution entitled “Strengthening and developing the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements” (document A/C.1/77/L.66), introduced by the Russian Federation, by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to 1 against (Ukraine), with 10 abstentions (Bulgaria, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania). By the text, the Assembly would urge States to implements all provisions of arms control Treaties, strengthen them, and preserve their integrity.
The Committee approved a draft resolution, entitled Programme of Action to advance responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies in the context of international security (document A/C.1/77/L.73), introduced by France, by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 6 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria), with 14 abstentions.
By it, the Assembly would welcome the proposal to establish a United Nations programme of action to advance responsible State behaviour in the use of ICT, as a permanent mechanism to discuss existing threats, guided by the framework for responsible State behaviour, which includes voluntary non-binding norms. It would also request the Secretary General for Member States’ views on the scope, structure and content of the programme.
The representative of Iran, noting his delegation’s vote in favour of “L.66”, said that the United States, as a result of its non-compliance with disarmament and non-control agreements, has created a complicated situation that undermines trust in those instruments. That country also opposes the Convention on Biological Weapons and the implementation of its provisions. Israel is not a party to any weapons of mass destruction treaty, which represents a threat to other States in the Middle East. On “L.59”, he said that the text still requires more improvement to put it back on track to being a balanced resolution.
The representative of Armenia registered his delegation’s reservations and disassociation with paragraphs in several draft resolutions which refer to the final document of the Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Baku in 2019. That document contained biased and one-sided distortions regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he noted.
The representative of Mexico, welcoming the report of the Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICT 2021-2025, said his delegation voted in favour of both “L.23/Rev.1” and “L.63” despite the fact that they duplicate each other. On “L.56”, he said there is no doubt that science and technology must only be used for peaceful ends.
The representative of India, explaining his country’s decision to abstain on “L.56”, cautioned against undue tinkering with processes that deal with international cooperation in science and technology. Turning to “L.23/Rev.1 and “L.73:”, he welcomed the report of the Open-ended Working Group as an inclusive platform for intergovermental discussions in this important area. Moreover, “L.54” provides a solid foundation for its work in the coming year. Finally, India abstained on the paragraph in “L.18” referring to the Arms Trade Treaty, as it applies to States parties.
The representative of South Africa, welcoming efforts to elaborate a plan of action as part of the work of the Open-ended Working Group, said that his delegation voted in favour of “L.73” on the understanding that the Group’s work will not be undermined or the plan of action prejudged.
The representative of South Africa, explaining his positive vote for “L.73”, said he welcomed efforts towards a programme of action as part of the Open-Ended Working Group. The drafters of “L.73” made efforts through an inclusive and transparent process and took on board the views of delegations, particularly those raising concerns about it setting up a parallel track to the Working Group. With the challenging global security environment, the Working Group made laudable progress in finding consensus for its annual progress report. South Africa supported “L.73”, based on the understanding that the Working Group will not be undermined or prejudged by the action programme. The Working Group must be given room to develop, including further institutional dialogue.
The representative of Viet Nam supported “L.23/Rev.1”, “L.73” and “L.54”, as an affirmation of her country’s efforts to provide a safe cyber environment under international law. Duplications should be avoided, especially when discussions about current mechanisms are still taking place. The establishment of a permanent mechanism should be done on the basis of consensus and take into account all views. Looking forward, Member States should work together in a constructive spirit and arrive at a mechanism that meets the challenges of promoting responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
The representative of Cuba supported the goal of responsible State behaviour in ICT. However, “L.73”, in proposing the creation of a programme of action, despite its good intentions, might hinder that goal. Thus, his delegation abstained. Cybersecurity should be discussed in an appropriate forum, he said, pointing to the Open-Ended Working Group on ICT. He rejected creating parallel mechanisms and felt a programme of action was premature. It was the Committee’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate use of finite resources, especially by developing countries. Moreover, the voluntary norms of the proposed action programme would have harmful effects on a future legally binding instrument, which is the only way to achieve responsible behaviour in cyberspace.
The representative of Sri Lanka recognized the Open-Ended Working Group as the appropriate forum to deliberate the subject of cyberspace. Although he voted in favour of “L.23/Rev.1” and “L.73”, he emphasized that no pressure should be placed on the Working Group, whose mandate is clear.
The representative of Colombia voted in favour of resolution “L.66”, as her delegation did every year. International law should always be the foundation of international relations. It should govern all areas, physical or virtual, States or peoples. Only full adherence to international law, international customary law and norms will guarantee peace, security and prosperity for all. As a peace-loving country and a founding State of the United Nations, Colombia will continue to participate in the development of international law, on the conviction that the only path to the flourishing of humanity was through cooperation and solidarity.