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Disarmament Times Spring 2000



The nature and implements of war have changed more dramatically in the last 100 years than in all of preceding human history. Before the 20th century, few countries maintained armies of more than 50,000, and they were armed with weapons that limited damage to the immediate vicinity of conflict. Although war has always been a barbarous activity that took a significant collateral civilian toll, the majority of those killed and wounded in pre-20th century conflicts were active combatants. In 19th century Europe with its mercenary soldiery, when the economic and political benefits of victory could outweigh costs, war was seen as a rational and indeed, necessary instrument of State policy. As the Prussian strategist, Carl von Clausewitz put it, war was "a continuation of policy, carried out by other means."

20th Century
In contrast, 20th century wars have been struggles encompassing entire societies. As weapons with ever more indiscriminate destructive power came into use - long range artillery, the bomber, the intercontinental ballistic missile, chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons - battlefields expanded till they quite lost their original meaning. Entire countries and regions were embattled. In the Second World War, unarmed merchant shipping became game for submarines and terror bombing of populous cities was routine, culminating in the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Massive Death Tolls
As a result of these developments, the 20th century was the most militarized and bloodiest period of human history. There were 63,000,000 soldiers engaged in the First World War, and it left 10 million dead. For the Second World War 107,000,000 soldiers were mobilized and its toll was so enormous that there are only estimates of the dead anywhere from 30 to 60 million.

Although most conflicts since the Second World War have been fought without heavy weaponry, their toll has been staggering. Wars of national liberation, the proxy wars of the Cold War period and the current "resource wars" of Africa are estimated to have killed some 100 million people.

Prohibitive Costs
The cost of modern conflict is prohibitive. The Second World War cost between one and four trillion dollars. Property damage in the Soviet Union was put at $485 billion. The French government estimated losses in the rest of Europe at $259 billion. Those figures were dwarfed by the global military expenditures of the Cold War period. Propelled by an arms race between East and West, they had reached $1,000 billion annually by the mid 1980s.

Since the end of the Cold War (the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall serving as a marker of that event), arms expenditures and the stocks of the most deadly weapons have declined. But governments continue to maintain peacetime armies and arsenals of unprecedented magnitude. At the end of the 20th century, global arms expenditures were estimated at some $750 billion annually.

Current Scene

As we begin the 21st century, the world is awash with weapons for which there is no rational need. There are over 30,000 nuclear weapons still in the arsenals of the major Powers, many of them on "hair-trigger" alert. That means decisions about their use can be made in a matter of minutes if warning systems - which can be misread - indicate that a missile attack is under way.

Till 1998, there were five declared nuclear-weapon-States: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States. In 1998, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests and declared themselves nuclear-weapon-States. Israel is generally believed to be an undeclared nuclear-weapon State. South Africa and Iraq had clandestine nuclear-weapons development programs; the former abandoned it voluntarily, the latter was forced to do so by the UN Security Council. Iran and North Korea are suspected to have programs to develop nuclear weapons.

Chemical and Biological Weapons, though banned by international agreement, continue to in declared arsenalsawaiting destruction, and almost certainly in undeclared national stockpiles. Meanwhile the proliferation of small arms and light weapons - an estimated 500 million are now in circulation - has made them massively destructive.


Need for Change
None of this makes economic or political sense in a period that is characterized above all by trends that link all societies in a web of inter-related and shared economic and social interests. While there is an obvious and legitimate need to maintain international and national security, the patternof current military doctrines, expenditures and priorities needs a comprehensive reassessment from the perspective of a globalizing world.

Two aspects of the picture need particular attention. One is the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. The other is the rechanneling of military expenditures to economic and social areas. Military expenditures now siphon resources away from social programs that are desperately needed in countries around the world, including the most affluent. They profit small and powerful elites, while affecting negatively the rest of society.

Many non-governmental groups are working for change. In the age of the Internet and the World Wide Web, they are increasingly effective in telling people about current realities and mobilizing democratic action in support of change. In these pages we look at the basic concepts and issues that must be understood if you are to participate in that effort.

Changing Concepts of Security Define Disarmament Context

Changing Concepts of Security Define Disarmament ContextInternational security is a condition in which States are free to pursue their own development and progress without danger of military attack, political pressure or economic coercion. The perception of how near or far States are from that ideal condition, defines all efforts at disarmament. In seeking security, States have been generally guided by the conventional wisdom that those who want peace should prepare for war. Traditionally, that has meant maintaining enough military strength, either singly or in alliance with other States, to deter or defeat attack. The result of this approach isinescapable volatility, for the security of one State or alliance is a condition of insecurity for others and thus subject to constant challenge and change.
United Nations
The United Nations represents an effort to replace balance-of-power politics with the concept of ?collective security.? Under the UN Charter, member States pledge not to use armed force except in the common interest, and if that becomes necessary, to do so only under the auspices of the Security Council.
For over four decades the UN did not work as planned because of the "Cold War." Ideologically opposed military alliances led by the United States and the Soviet Union sought security in dominance, which they pursued through subversion, conduct of "proxy wars"and a prolonged "arms race." Huge stocks of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons were built up during the Cold War, and long-range delivery systems developed. Submarines and bombers on constant patrol and intercontinental ballistic missiles, all armed with nuclear weapons, made cataclysmic war possible at very short notice. Under such conditions, international security depended on a balance of terror at the prospect of "Mutual Assured Destructio"? (MAD). During that period, most developing countries sought their own security in the Non-Aligned Movement, which called for disarmament and peaceful coexistence.
Post Cold War
The end of the Cold War removed a primary source of insecurity in the world, but it left a legacy of massive military expenditures and arsenals of deadly weapons entirely disproportionate to any rational assessment of threats to security. In fact, a major threat to international security now comes from the existence of those arsenals, and military doctrines that continue to give weapons of mass destruction a central role. This is largely because the political/economic power structures of the Cold War remain in place and continue to benefit from military expenditures. They have the power to shape international events in ways that validate military prescriptions for security.
In addition to the legacy of the Cold War, there are many other sources of international tension. Among the most important are major economic, social and political inequalities among the world's people. The emergence of new centers of political and economic power, competition for resources, continuing trade imbalances, volatile financial flows, demographic changes and environmental degradation, all pose unprecedented challenges to security. Over the last five decades it has been borne in on governments - in part because of a series of major UNconferences- that these security challenges cannot be dealt with in traditional ways. The only way to address them effectively is, in fact, by making human security - the welfare of individuals and families - a central concern of policy.
Economic and social development, basic human rights, environmental protection and good governance are now the essential underpinning of the security of States. Disarmament today is important not only to reduce the risk of war and dismantle the dangerous legacy of the Cold War, but to prevent the continued waste of human and material resources that are needed for much more productive and beneficial ends.


United Nations Charter
signed at San Francisco on 26 June (came into force on 24 October).
World's first nuclear explosion, at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 16 July, followed by bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively.
World War II ended formally on 2 September.


First nuclear test by the Soviet Union at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established by 12 States with the aim of mutual defense.


First nuclear test by the United Kingdom at Monte Bello, near Australia.


The Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency opened for signature. It came into force in 1957. The IAEA aimed to facilitate peaceful uses of nuclear energy and guard against military use.


The Antarctic Treaty
demilitarized an entire region and created the first Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. It forbid all military activity, the testing of any kind of weapon and disposal of nuclear waste.


First nuclear test by France, near Reggane, in the Sahara Desert.

The partial test ban treaty banned nuclear weapon testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under water.


First nuclear test by China at Lop Nor, Xinjiang.


The Outer Space treaty prohibited military maneuvers and the placing of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in earth orbit and on celestial bodies, including the moon. This was supplemented by a 1979 agreement to prevent the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for military purposes.
Treaty of Tlatelolco establishing the Latin America and the Caribbean Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone opened for signature: the first inhabited region of the planet to seek that status.


The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) balanced a commitment by States without nuclear weapons not to develop or possess them, with one by nuclear-weapon States to negotiate their total elimination. The NPT entered into force in 1970 and has been the subject of periodic 5-year review conferences. It was indefinitely extended in 1995 with strengthened accountability arrangements: a process of annual preparatory meetings leading up to the five-year review conferences.
Security Council resolution 255 set out security assurances for non-nuclear weapon States.


The International Atomic Energy Agency established the safeguard system for NPT member States.

The Sea Bed treaty prohibited the placement of nuclear weapons on or under the ocean floor beyond a 12-mile limit from the coast line.

Convention banning Biological and Toxin weapons. It entered into force in 1975, the first major disarmament agreement in history, committing States Parties (now including all the major military powers) not only to stop developing biological weapons but to destroy all stocks in their possession. The BTWC does not have verification arrangements and a protocol providing for that is currently under negotiation.
The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty restricted the development of defensive missile systems by the United States and the Soviet Union (later Russian Federation), in order to ensure that neither side could have a shield that would allow it to launch a nuclear strike and survive. The treaty banned ABM systems based at sea, in the air, in space and on mobile launchers. Initially, it allowed the deployment of land-based ABM system at two sites with no more than 100 launchers each, but under a 1974 Protocol, that was reduced to a single site. In the summer of 2000, the United States is scheduled to decide whether to go ahead with the development of a national ABM system in order to safeguard against what it sees as potential threat of missile attack from ?rogue States.? The Russian Federation has expressed strong opposition to this.
A Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) set limits on the number of launchers of strategic weapons.


Agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union on the Prevention of Nuclear War aimed at aligning efforts to guarantee stability and peace.

First nuclear test by India, at Pokharan, in the Rajasthan Desert.
A threshold yield of 150 kilotons was agreed between the United States and the Soviet Union for underground nuclear weapon tests.

Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe initiated conference-building measures that led to agreement in 1986 on concrete and verifiable measures that were further elaborated in 1990.

Limits were set by the United States and the Soviet Union for underground nuclear explosions: 150 kilotons yield for a single test, and 1,500 kilotons for grouped tests.

Agreement on preventing the use of environmental modification techniques to cause such phenomena as earthquakes, tidal waves, and changes in climate and weather patterns.
Fifteen countries constituting the "London Club" of nuclear suppliers, agreed on principles and guidelines for the transfer of nuclear materials, equipment and technology.

The UN General Assembly?s first special session on disarmament (SSOD) adopted a consensus Final Document. It gave the highest priority to nuclear disarmament.

Agreement by the United States and the Soviet Union to limit the number and types of nuclear strategic missiles (SALT II). It expired in 1985 without entering into force.

Convention to ban the use of weapons deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. This included certain types of ammunition that inflicted great suffering on victims, booby traps and, under a 1996 amendment, nondetectable anti-personnel land mines. The amendment also banned the use of non-self-destructing/deactivating anti-personnel land mines outside marked areas.

The UN General Assembly's Second Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD II) could not agree on a final document. China, France, and the Soviet Union made declarations on unilateral security assurances.

Treaty of Rarotonga
establishing the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, opened for signature.

UN Conference to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy met in Geneva but was unable to agree on text to reconcile principles of peaceful use with those related to non-proliferation.
Seven industrialized countries established the Missile Technology Control Regime to oversee international transfers.
Agreement by the United States and the Soviet Union on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter Range Missiles (INF Treaty). It arranged for the verified elimination of an entire class of missiles. Another agreement established Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington and Moscow to exchange information and oversee notifications required under other arms agreements.

Agreement by the United States and the Soviet Union to provide 24-hour notification of launches of land and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, with information on launch and impact areas.


The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to stop producing chemical weapons and begin destruction of existing stocks. Agreed to as a means of facilitating the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention, the bilateral treaty set 31 December 2002 as the target for each party to reduce its holding to no more than 5,000 tons of chemical agents.
Last USSR explosive nuclear test-moratorium continued by the Russian Federation.
The treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact lowered and balanced the strength of armed forces. It's verification procedures survived the end of the Warsaw Pact in July 1991 and in 1999 they were amended to take account of national forces rather than bloc strength.

Last British explosive nuclear test.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) agreed by the United States and the Russian Federation, reduced to 6,000 the number of "accountable warheads" each country could have, and set a limit for each of 1,600 deployed strategic nuclear delivery vehicles - bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles. A few months after START was signed, the Soviet Union began to unravel, and it was not ratified by the Russian Duma till December 1994.
The Brazil-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials established.
Last United States explosive nuclear test.
Former Russian test site, Semipalatinsk, closed by newly independent Kazakhstan.

China and France acceded to the NPT. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine
signed the Lisbon Protocol to START I, agreeing to adhere to the NPT as non-nuclear -weapon States.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group revised its guidelines to require full-scope IAEA safeguards as a condition of exporting dual-use technology.

The General Assembly adopted the Chemical Weapons Convention, the first globally verifiable multilateral disarmament treaty. It banned the production, stockpiling and use of Chemical weapons, and committed States
parties to destroy all stocks. By the time it came into force in April 1997, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was established at The Hague.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) continued the cuts initiated by the United States and the Russian Federation under START I. By December 31, 2003, land-based ICBMs with multipleindependently-targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) would be completely eliminated and neither side would have more than 3,000-3,500 strategic nuclear warheads. START II was ratified by the United States in 1996 and in April 2000 by the Russian Federation. Under the 1997 Helsinki Protocol, the implementation deadline was extended to December 31, 2007. By that time, all delivery vehicles to be eliminated under START II will be deactivated.

Security Council resolution 984 sets out security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States that are parties to the NPT.
The Bangkok Treaty established the South East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. It entered into force in 1997.
33 States signed the "Wassenaar Agreemen" setting export controls for conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies.


Last explosive nuclear tests by France
(January) and China (July).
The International Court of Justice in an advisory opinion (sought by the General Assembly) on the legality or the threat or use of nuclear weapons, agreed unanimously that the nuclear-weapon States had ?an bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.?
The UN General Assembly adopted by a vote of 158 to 3 with 5 abstentions, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to stop all explosive nuclear tests. It had been negotiated but not adopted by the Conference on Disarmament, because India blocked consensus on the grounds that the treaty did not cover non-explosive nuclear testing (subcritical and computer simulation), which were continuing in all the nuclear-weapon-States. The CTBT cannot come into force unless 44 nuclear-capable States listed in its annex ratify it. As of April 2000, 41 of the 44 had signed (India, Pakistan and North Korea have not), and 28 had ratified, including Britain, France and the Russian Federation. The United States Senate rejected the treaty in 1999, but the Clinton Administration remained committed to ratification.
The Treaty of Pelindaba established the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

The IAEA Board of Governors approved the Model Additional Protocol, strengthening safeguards.
A comprehensive ban on anti-personnel land mines and destruction of existing stocks was agreed as the result of a process initiated by non-governmental organizations.
The Inter-American Convention against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related material, approved by the Organization of American States annual assembly. This was the first regional treaty to address the serious problem of illicit flows of small arms and light weapons.
NATO and the Russian Federation signed a"Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security," agreeing to build a "lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area".
US and Russia agreed at the summit-level on the outline of START III negotiations.

India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests and declared themselves nuclear-weapon-States.
Mongolia's declaration that it is a "single-State" nuclear -weapon-free zone endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

50th anniversary meeting of NATO adopted a new strategic doctrine, affirming the role of nuclear weapons. The Russian Federation set out a new strategic doctrine, affirming the role of nuclear weapons. India issued a
draft nuclear doctrine that said it would maintain a minimum deterrent capacity.


Through most of human history, the scale and destructiveness of conflict were constrained by the limitations of available weaponry. And over the centuries, advances in the destructive power of weapons were few and far between. Cannon, first used in the 14th century remained much the same for the next 400 years. As recently as 1850, armies used muzzle-loaded artillery fired by lighting fuses. And it was not till the Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815) that Henry Shrapnel, a British artillery-man, invented the exploding cannonball (the fuse for which too had to be hand-lit). The first hand-held guns were scaled down cannon, which took two men to operate: one to aim and the other to light the fuse. The matchlock, developed in Europe in the 15th century, which allowed one man to do both, and the flintlock (which replaced the match with a flint and allowed combat under damp conditions), remained in use till the 19th century in Europe, and the 20th century in other parts of the world. Compared with that rate of change, the 20th century was a rush to mayhem. With the scientific and engineering communities of several countries committed to the work of war, the variety and deadliness of weaponry made quantum leaps. As a result, disarmament today must encompass weapons - nuclear, chemical and biological - with historically unprecedented capacity for mass destruction, as well as conventional weapons, especially small arms, that have become massively destructive.

i) Nuclear Weapons

The most dangerous weapons in the world are nuclear, so called because they use the enormous amounts of energy released when the nucleus of a heavy atom such as uranium or plutonium is split in a chain reaction (fission), or when isotopes of a light element such as hydrogen, combine in a thermonuclear bomb (fusion). The nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, each with the explosive power of 20,000 tons of dynamite (20 kilotons), have long been dwarfed. By the 1970s, the Soviet Union and the United States, which have 98 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons, had in their arsenals thousands of 25 megaton warheads. (A megaton is equivalent to a million tons of TNT.) Far more powerful thermonuclear bombs have been tested. It is not only the enormous destructive power of nuclear weapons that argue against their use. They also release deadly radiation: extremely poisonous isotopes created by nuclear explosions will remain a danger for many thousands of years. And the material will not stay confined to the area of conflict. It will get into the planet's life processes, and be carried by wind and wave to distant areas, eventually poisoning all of Earth. (The far flung threat of radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing was the main reason why a partial test ban was agreed in 1963.)

A major nuclear war could also throw up such a cloud of dust into the atmosphere as to block out the sun and create a prolonged "nuclear winter" that would devastate life on earth. Because of such long term and widespread effects, nuclear weapons cannot be used with any rational expectation of "victory" in the traditional sense. Yet today, there are well over 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world's arsenals, nearly as many as when the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was agreed to in 1968. Since the end of the Cold war, the strategic role of nuclear weapons has been reaffirmed both by NATO (which includes all three Western nuclear- weapon States) and the Russian Federation. They do not rule out the first use of nuclear weapons, as does China. In 1999, India issued a draft nuclear doctrine, also affirming no-first-use. Pakistan, which joined India in May 1998 in declaring itself a nuclear-weapon-State, has not done so. Nuclear warheads continue to be mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles, carried by long-range bombers and submarines, and deployed on mobile launchers. Some are small enough to be referred to as "suitcase bombs." About 5,000 nuclear weapons are thought to be on hair-trigger alert, intended for launch within minutes of formation of an incoming missile attack. Such arrangements might have had a mad logic at the height of the Cold War - they were to assure retaliation to any surprise attack - but in the context of an overall relaxation of tensions in a globalizing world, they make no sense at all. Nuclear weapons in the world today represent many varieties of fear and insecurity. Though they are possessed by countries that are among the world's most powerful in economic and/or military terms, nuclear weapons signal a fundamental lack of self-confidence.

Those who feel the need not only to hang onto existing stocks of nuclear weapons but to continue with the work of improving their design and efficiency, are motivated by fear that some day the weapons will be needed as a last resort, however improbable such an eventuality might seem. This at a time when old political enemies have reconciled and new ones are unlikely to appear if the world continues to progress towards a regime of encompassing international law. (Only Hollywood, in blockbuster movies like Armageddon is making the case for nuclear weaponry for use against extraterrestrial threats.) Meanwhile, the existence of nuclear weapons presents a clear and present danger. Not only are accidents or inadvertent use an ever-present possibility, the extremely poisonous materials in nuclear weapons are a huge environmental and taxpayer liability. The direct cost of implementing the START I and INF treaties to the United States has been put at $31 billion. The cost of clean-up - although there is no really safe way to dispose of the highly toxic remnants of nuclear bombs - would add another $365 billion. Russian costs would be comparable. The high and unavoidable costs of disarmament, pale in comparison to the cost of nuclear weapons: the United States is now spending $30 billion per year to maintain its stocks. A Brookings Institute study in 1998 put the overall cost of the US nuclear weapons program since 1940 at over $5.5 trillion.

While the United States and the Russian Federation have significantly reduced their arsenals in the post Cold War period, it is quite clear that neither is aiming at total elimination of nuclear weapons. Along with Britain, France and countries covered by the "nuclear umbrella"of the three Western Powers, they have blocked talks aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons at the 52-member Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the world's only multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations. They have pushed instead, for negotiations to ban the production of fissile material, a non-proliferation measure that non-nuclear-weapon States as well as China, India and Pakistan, would like to negotiate only as part of a larger effort at nuclear disarmament. This linkage has prevented any substantive work at the Conference on Disarmament for three years. The logjam has been worsened by Russian and Chinese concerns that the United States will proceed with the creation of a national missile defense system, in violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

Non-Proliferation Treaty Under Pressure: 2000 Review Begins

Multiple expressions of discontent at the implementation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) marked the opening in New York on 24 April of a four-week Conference of States parties. The Treaty, which was adopted in 1968, came into force in 1970, and was indefinitely extended in 1995, now has 187 States parties. Five of them are nuclear-weapon States (Britain, China, France, Russian Federation, United States), pledged to negotiate in good faith to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The rest of the membership is committed not to develop, acquire or possess nuclear weapons.

Although the Treaty is generally viewed as a cornerstone of international nuclear security, and considerable progress has been made since the end of the Cold War in cutting down the number of strategic nuclear weapons LINK (see article by John Holum), it is currently subject to serious internal and external pressures.

A major reason for external pressure on the treaty is that three of the four States - Cuba, India, Israel, Pakistan - that remain out of it are de facto nuclear-weapon States. India and Pakistan claimed that status after conducting nuclear tests in May 1998. Israel has made no declaration of its status, but is generally believed to have nuclear weapons. Efforts by Arab States to have the international community deal with the situation in the Middle East is a major source of internal pressure on the Treaty. Another source of tension is the arrangement under which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) locates nuclear weapons in the territory of its non-nuclear-weapon States. Also at issue are clandestine nuclear-weapons programs such as in Iraq and reportedly, in North Korea and Iran.

North Korea and Iran

The prospect that a country like North Korea, or even a terrorist organization, could attack the United States with a nuclear missile, has led it to consider the need to amend its bilateral 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union. The ABM treaty, agreed to during the Cold War, bans the development of national missile development systems. China and the Russian Federation have strongly opposed any change in the ABM. If the US does decide to develop a national missile defense system, it could lead to reconsideration of strategic postures not only in Russia and China but in Western Europe. The results would not be supportive of nuclear disarmament.

A more generic source of pressure on the NPT is the perception of most of its members that the five nuclear-weapon States do not intend to disarm - a view that has gained in weight in the post Cold War period because all five have declared their continuing need for nuclear weapons. During the second week of the NPT Review conference, this issue was addressed in a joint statement by the five, affirming the goal of disarmament. However, no time-frame was mentioned.

Although all five have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), only three (Britain, France, Russian Federation) have ratified it so far, and non-explosive testing is continuing. Four of the five - the exception is China - have opposed multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the 52-member Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. As non-nuclear-weapon States have linked talks on nuclear disarmament to other issues, the CD has been unable to do anything substantive for three years.

The Review conference will have to take all this into account in setting course for the next five-year period. Proposals now on the table include the creation of a permanent NPT secretariat and annual meetings of members, with inter-sessional bodies to focus on particular issues. Whether agreement will be possible on all this remains to be seen. As the President of the Conference, Abdallah Baali of Algeria, pointed out to journalists at the UN, three of the past five review conferences had ended without a final document. (Coverage of the conference in our next issue.)

The NPT Conference: The United States View
by John Holum,Under-Secretary of State

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has proven to be an indispensable tool in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. It provides an essential foundation for reducing existing nuclear arsenals and for continuing progress toward nuclear disarmament. It provides the framework to promote the peaceful uses of the atom for generation of electricity, and for many applications in medicine, industry, agriculture and other areas.

Security Benefits
The NPT is a primary reason why nuclear weapons have not spread as fast as many had predicted in the 1960s. The security benefits of the NPT are evident in every region of the world. South Africa's decision to abandon its nuclear weapons program and accede to the NPT in 1991 enhanced the security of all African States and led to the negotiation of a treaty to make Africa a continent free from nuclear weapons. Brazil and Argentina, two States once pursuing unsafeguarded nuclear programs, are both members. All the newly independent States of the former Soviet Union returned nuclear weapons deployed on their territories to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon States.

To be sure, the NPT has come under challenge but those challenges are being met. The NPT has proven to be a critical tool in continued efforts to restrain the nuclear programs of both Iraq and North Korea. The international reaction to nuclear tests in South Asia also reinforced the value of the NPT, as nations around the world condemned these tests and reaffirmed the Treaty'simportance. Safeguards negotiated by each non-nuclear-weapon State with the International Atomic Energy Agency are the primary means to ensure that NPT parties are meeting their Treaty obligations. They help to deter the use of nuclear material for weapons. The model safeguards protocol approved in 1997 gives the IAEA an even stronger tool for this purpose.

Arms Control and Reductions
The NPT limits nuclear weapon States to those existing in 1968: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. Article VI of the NPT calls on all parties to take effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament and to work towards the objective of general and complete disarmament. On this front, the news is good: numerous steps continue to be pursued to meet Article VI objectives.

Our nuclear arms race with Russia is over. Both of us are seeking further reductions in nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, and taking other steps to reduce our nuclear weapon infrastructures.

Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the United States has dismantled over 13,000 nuclear warheads and bombs. We have reduced our stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons by nearly 50% and other types of nuclear weapons by 80%. We have taken heavy bombers off alert and our strategic forces are not targeted on any country.

NATO has reduced the number of nuclear weapons for its sub-strategic forces in Europe by over 85% and the reaction time of the remaining dual-capable aircraft is now measured in weeks rather than minutes. NATO nuclear forces are not targeted on any country.

Dismantling of strategic ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) is ahead of schedule. Russia has now ratified START II, paving the way for negotiations on further reductions under START III. When fully implemented, the three START agreements would bring an 80% reduction in the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads since the end of the Cold War.

For our part, we have spent $3.2 billion to help Russia and others eliminate over 500 missiles and bombers, ensure that nuclear materials are safe and secure, and promote other arms control and non-proliferation objectives. We are also working with Russia to place excess fissile material under international monitoring and to irreversibly transform such material into forms unusable for nuclear weapons. The United States has removed 226 tons of fissile material from its military stockpile, and in 1992 announced a halt to the production of fissile material for nuclear material for nuclear weapons.

The United States took the lead in negotiating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and in 1996, President Clinton was the first international leader to sign it. The US has not conducted nuclear test explosions since 1992. We will continue this moratorium and encourage others to do likewise. President Clinton has called for a constructive bipartisan dialogue with the US Congress this year to lay the groundwork for eventual US ratification of the CTBT. We have enlisted former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili to help us build bipartisan support ratification. We applaud Russia's recent ratification of this landmark Treaty.

Some have criticized our national missile defense initiative as undermining arms control. Our view is that the ABM Treaty could be amended to allow for a limited NMD capability while preserving strategic stability and permitting continued reductions in nuclear forces' the Treaty has been amended before.

President Clinton is expected to make a decision this summer, at the earliest, on whether to deploy a limited NMD system. Its impact on arms control will be a key factor he will consider; we are doing everything we can to make sure that its impact, if any, will be benign.

Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation
The NPT creates a vital framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation among nations by providing assurances that non-nuclear weapon State parties will use their nuclear programs for peaceful purposes only. We engage in substantial nuclear cooperation with NPT parties.

US assistance through the IAEA benefits many developing countries. Among these projects are nuclear applications in the fields of water resources, nutrition, agriculture, and human health. Under bilateral agreements, the United States exports millions of dollars worth of fuel and nuclear equipment to many countries with reactors producing electricity.

It is important that the 2000 NPT Review Conference reaffirm the Treaty as an essential part of the international security system. We are not surprised by the vigorous debate and differences of view on key issues, including on approaches to nuclear disarmament.

We are working with many other NPT parties to have a constructive and balanced Conference, marked by a healthy dose of realism about what the NPT review process can achieve. By rededicating ourselves to the NPT, we can ensure that it will continue to play a vital role in the new millennium.

Non-governmental organizations can make an important contribution as the Conference proceeds, by helping to drive home the message that the NPT is in the interest of all States. All of us would like to see faster progress toward meeting NPT objectives. But we cannot allow such dissatisfaction to blunt our message of support for this vital instrument of national security.

John Holum was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International
Security and a Senior Adviser to the President.


There was an air of giddy relief when the Sixth Review Conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended its four-week session in New York on 20 May 2000. After a series of excursions and alarums and last-minute nail-biting on how to deal with the issue of Iraq, the Conference adopted a Final Document that participants and observers alike termed a substantial achievement. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it was a "significant step forward in humanity's pursuit of a more peaceful world." The most obvious reason for such feelings was that the nuclear-weapon States, under intense pressure to avoid a breakdown at the Conference that wouldfurther test the credibility of the NPT, acceded to the demand of non-nuclear-weapon States and made an explicit commitment to get rid of all their nuclear weapons.

Official statements from national capitals quickly poured cold water on heated expectations, but the fact that the Conference had been able to call for an "unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, leading to nuclear disarmament" was enough to make it a success. A joint statement by the five nuclear-weapon States (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States), provided that undertaking. The Conference also affirmed that "the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons." It recognized the need for "legally binding security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States" to the non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the NPT, and called on the Preparatory Committee for the next Review Conference (in 2005), to make recommendations on the issue. In setting course for the next five-year period, the Conference also adopted a set of "Practical Disarmament Measures" which pulled together disparate elements and set in place an agenda for immediate action. None of this came close to the demand of the Non-Aligned Movement for a Nuclear Weapons Convention with a time-bound plan for the eradication of nuclear weapons, but it was the best that was politically possible.

Low Expectations

The near euphoria at the close of the Conference was in stark contrast to, and a rebound from, the period preceding it, when the NPT was widely perceived to be in a state of crisis. That was because non-nuclear-weapon States became, in the ebbing period of the Cold War, increasingly unwilling to accept the rationale advanced by nuclear-weapon States for maintaining large stocks of nuclear weapons. In the post-Cold War period, their impatience grew. The great majority of non-nuclear-weapon States had lived up to their Treaty commitment not to develop, acquire or possess nuclear weapons, and increasingly, they came to see the nuclear-weapon States as unwilling to implement the disarmament provisions of the Treaty. The split between the two categories of NPT States Parties prevented three Review Conferences (in 1985, 1990 and 1995), from reaching consensus on a Final Document. Till the very last hours of the sixth Review Conference, it was uncertain whether it too would suffer the same fate and be unable to reach a substantive assessment of Treaty implementation.

The prognosis at the beginning of the Conference was not good. Despite the end of the Cold War, every nuclear-weapon State continued to affirm the central strategic importance of its nuclear weapons, and four of the five had military doctrines that envisaged first-use. Although all five signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and declared a moratorium on explosive tests, laboratory and sub-critical tests continued. The world's stock of nuclear weapons, despite having fallen rapidly from Cold War peaks because of the Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), remained at about the same level as when the NPT came into force in 1970. Thousands of weapons continued to be on hair-trigger alert, capable of being launched within minutes of a decision to do so. Disarmament negotiations were stalled, both at the bilateral level between the United States and Russian Federation, and at the 61-member Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Particular reasons for gloom were the 1999 rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the United States Senate, and Washington's consideration of a National Missile Defense system that would violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

The reactions of China and Russia to that raised the alarming prospect that the nuclear arms race might reignite. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons continued to be a factor in two tense regions, in the Middle East and South Asia. Israel, an undeclared nuclear-weapon State, remained outside the Treaty framework. So did India and Pakistan, which conducted nuclear tests and declared themselves nuclear-weapon States in 1998. Against that background, the joyous response to the success of the Conference, described by its President Abdallah Baali of Algeria as a "delicate, hard-won compromise between divergent and sometimes conflicting positions," was understandable. The many compromises reached by States Parties at the Conference represented no major breakthroughs, but the nuanced flexibility of key countries was significant. In negotiations with the "New Agenda Coalition" (NAC), consisting of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, the nuclear-weapon States agreed to set in motion processes that would engage them and other NPT States Parties in meaningful action to realize all the principal aims of the Treaty. On the increasingly anachronistic provisions of the Treaty that require promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Conference introduced for the first time the concept of sustainable development. Regional Issues The Conference dealt with a number of regional issues, including the Middle East, South Asia and Korea. It endorsed existing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (including Mongolia's declaration of its "nuclear-free status"), and supported proposals to create new zones "where they do not yet exist, such as in the Middle East and South Asia." The Conference welcomed the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and urged its rapid implementation.

The Middle East: The Conference reaffirmed the "importance of the Resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference" and said it remained a "valid until the goals and objectives are achieved." Noting that the resolution was co-sponsored by the NPT depositary States (Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States), the Conference said it was an "essential element of the outcome of the 1995 Conference and of the basis on which the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was indefinitely extended without a vote in 1995." The Conference noted that "all States of the region of the Middle East, with the exception of Israel," are States parties to the NPT and reaffirmed the importance of Israel's accession. Nine States parties in the Middle East "have yet to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with IAEA" the Conference noted in inviting them to conclude such agreements and bring them into force as soon as possible.

South Asia: While deploring the nuclear tests conducted by India and then by Pakistan, the Conference emphasized that "nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing." It said that "Notwithstanding their nuclear tests, India and Pakistan do not have the status of nuclear-weapon States." The two countries were called upon to implement the measures called for in UN Security Council 1172 (1998), adopted unanimously soon after the nuclear tests. Both countries have voiced fundamental objections to that resolution, which requires them not only to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States, but to ratify the CTBT without reservations or conditions and to stop their missile development programs. North Korea: The Conference noted with concern that IAEA"continues to be unable to verify the correctness and completeness of the initial declaration of nuclear material made by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and is therefore unable to conclude that there has been no diversion of nuclear material in that country."


The Conference recognized that the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (designed to prevent diversion of nuclear material from peaceful uses) are "a fundamental pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime." It expressed "the conviction that nothing should be done to undermine the authority of IAEA" in overseeing and verifying safeguards, and emphasized the "importance of access to the Security Council and the General Assembly by IAEA, including its Director General." It recalled that the Security Council and the General Assembly had a role in taking "appropriate measures in the case of any violations notified to it by IAEA." The Conference stressed that comprehensive safeguards and additional protocols should be universally applied once the complete elimination of nuclear weapons has been achieved. In the meantime, it called for "wider application of safeguards" in the nuclear-weapon States under "voluntary-offer safeguards agreements." Endorsing measures approved by the IAEA Board of Governors in 1995 to strengthen the safeguards system and the additional "Model Protocol" adopted by the Agency in 1997, the Conference said that measures to prevent diversion of nuclear material from declared activities and ensure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities "must be implemented by all States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the nuclear-weapon States." (This is to prevent the recycling of plutonium, highly enriched uranium or other components of dismantled nuclear weapons into new nuclear warheads.)

Continuing Review Process

The Conference turned down proposals for a permanent secretariat to oversee the strengthened review process agreed to in 1995, but set guidelines on how the preparatory committee should organize its work. The first two sessions of the next Prep-com will "consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality." That will involve consideration of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and any developments affecting the operation and purpose of the Treaty. A factual summary of each Prep-com will be transmitted to the next, and it will be taken into account in a consensus report containing recommendations from the third Prep-com (or fourth, if necessary) to the Review Conference.

ii) Chemical Weapons

Chemical warfare is not new in human history. As early as 431 B.C, the armies of Sparta used burning sulphur around the walls of besieged cities to disable the defenders. Modern use of chemical weapons occurred mainly during the First World War, when both sides had artillery-fired projectiles that released poisonous gases such as chlorine, phosgene and "mustard gas" (compounded of carbon, chlorine, hydrogen and sulphur). Poison gas created ghastly casualties, blistering the lungs, eyes and skin of soldiers, and subjecting victims to agonizing suffering. But it was not as efficient as conventional weapons, for effectiveness depended on uncontrollable external conditions: a turn of the wind could blow the gas from the intended victims to the attackers. That, plus general revulsion at the needless suffering inflicted, facilitated agreement on a ban on the use of poison gas, the 1925 Geneva Protocol on Gas Warfare. It was widely observed by all participants in the Second World War. However, chemical weapons were reportedly used by Italy in North Africa and Japan in China. Since 1945 (when the Second World War ended), there have been only a few cases of the use of chemical weapons. The United States used chemical defoliants during the Viet Nam war in an effort to deny forest cover to the Viet Cong. In a June 1998 story by TIME-CNN, later retracted, it was alleged that the United States army had also used the nerve gas Sarin. (The same poison used in a 1995 subway attack in Tokyo by the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo.) Iraq was reported to have used chemical weapons against Kurdish insurgents and against Iran.

After the Gulf conflict of 1991, the UN Special Commission established by the Security Council to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, found evidence of a substantial chemical weapons program. As the 1925 Geneva Convention only banned the use of chemical weapons, the Cold War period saw significant development, manufacture and stockpiling of such weapons. Six main types of chemical weapons were developed: Agents like sarin, soman and VX that rendered the brain and nervous system dysfunctional. Blistering agents such as hydrocyanic acid and mustard gas. Asphyxiating agents such as phosgene and chlorine gas. Poisons that blocked the blood's oxygen carrying capacity. Irritants such as tear gas.

The danger these weapons represented even if unused, led governments to negotiate a total ban on their development, production and use. Negotiated over a decade at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the Convention on Chemical Weapons was adopted in 1992. The CWC was the first multilaterally negotiated treaty that provided for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control. To ensure against clandestine development, it set in place a stringent system of inspections, including challenge inspections, covering not only military installations but significant portions of the chemical industry. (In 1998, the United States Senate set limits on challenge inspections of the civilian industry to protect the confidentiality that it said was necessary to protect cutting-edge technology from foreign competitors.) The Soviet Union and the United States, which were known to have chemical weapons programs, have declared a total of 70,000 tons of poisonous material, which must be destroyed within a ten-year period. The United States will probably meet that target on its own, but the Russians, under newly straitened economic conditions, will need substantial foreign aid if the expensive destruction program is to be completed on schedule. Eight other countries have declared previously secret weapons programs. As of April 2000, the CWC had 135 States parties and 165 signatories. Its membership does not include several Middle Eastern countries, which link joining the CWC with Israel's membership of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based at the Hague, the Netherlands, carries out inspections and ensures that the destruction of weapons is done safely. The need for safety is paramount, for if the poisonous chemicals used in theweapons were to be released into the environment, the results would be disastrous. The town of Ypres in Belgium, where some half a million soldiers died in the first poison gas battle of the First World War, is living proof of the long-term effects of chemical weapons. More than 80 years after the battle of Ypres, people there continue to sicken and die from the poisons. Another place where the poisonous legacy of chemical weapons is clear in continuing sickness and death is Qiqihar, in northern China. At the end of the Second World War, Japanese forces dumped anywhere between 700,000 and 2 million pieces of munition loaded with chemical and bacteriological agents at various sites in China, including the river at . In the 1950s, China gathered the munitions and buried them at another site, now described as "Asia's most dangerous dump."

iii) Biological & Toxin Weapons

Biological and Toxin weapons differ from chemical weapons in that they are derived from living organisms. Historically, organic poisons and diseases have not been widely used in war, perhaps because there is a natural aversion to practices that are extremely risky to the attacker and reek of weakness and cowardice. However, that did not prevent governments from developing such weapons. During the Cold War, both sides developed biological means of warfare. It was not till the late 1960s that initiatives were made to control the proliferation of weapons using some of the deadliest diseases known to human beings. Multilateral negotiations in Geneva were given a boost in 1969 when the United States unilaterally renounced first use of lethal or incapacitating chemical agents and weapons and unconditionally renounced all methods of biological warfare. (Since then, the US biological program has reportedly been confined to research on strictly defined measures of defense, such as immunization.)

In 1972, following a procedure they had established with the Non-Proliferation and the Seabed Treaties, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on a draft convention on biological weapons and toxins before submitting it to the larger UN membership. The General Assembly adopted it the same year. Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), which entered into force in 1975, undertake not to develop, produce, stockpile, or acquire biological agents or toxins "of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, and other peaceful purposes," as well as weapons and means of delivery. There have been several Review Conferences on the convention, and they focused increasingly on the lack of verification arrangements. States Parties to the BTWC agreed in 1994 to begin work through an Ad Hoc Group, on binding verification measures. That work is still continuing. In 1985, the year after a UN investigatory mission reported that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iran, Australia proposed to a number of countries that they cooperate in monitoring the transfer of precursors to chemical and biological warfare agents, and equipment needed to weaponize them. The initiative resulted in the "Australia Group" of countries, which meet twice a year at the Australian Embassy in Paris. The 30+ States in the Group have no legally binding obligations. They exchange information, coordinate measures and agree when new action is needed to impede the production of chemical and biological weapons. Controls agreed by the Group are applied on a national basis. Since the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force, the Australia Group has concentrated on controlling a long list of human, animal and plant pathogens as well as BW dual-use equipment.

iv) Small Arms

The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and its tight links to the legal arms trade, is a worldwide tragedy. Its ill effects are particularly seen in the Global South, where entire communities have been devastated by internal conflict and many children--orphaned by war--turn to paramilitaries for survival.

While some agreed global norms or standards against weapons of mass destruction do exist, there are no such norms or standards that can be used in reducing excessive and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons. These are the weapons increasingly used as primary instruments of violence in internal conflicts and they are responsible for large numbers of deaths and the displacement of citizens around the world. Small arms and light weapons range from clubs, knives and machetes to those weapons just below those covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, for example, mortars below the calibre of 100 mm. The small arms and light weapons which are of main concern are those manufactured to military specifications for use as lethal instruments of war. The excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of small arms and light weapons is closely related to the increased incidence of internal conflicts and high levels of crime and violence. It is therefore, an issue of legitimate concern for the international community. Groups and individuals operating outside the reach of state and government forces make extensive use of such weapons in internal conflicts.

Insurgent forces, irregular troops, criminal gangs and terrorist groups are using all types of small arms and light weapons. The illicit trafficking in such weapons by drug cartels, criminals and traders in contraband goods has also been on the increase. Accumulations of small arms and light weapons by themselves do not cause the conflicts in which they are used. The availability of these weapons, however, contributes towards exacerbating conflicts by increasing the lethality and duration of violence, by encouraging a violent rather than a peaceful resolution of differences, and by generating a vicious circle of a greater sense of insecurity, which in turn leads to a greater demand for, and use of, such weapons.

Thousands of nongovernmental organizations, from the grassroots to international levels, are focusing their energies on eliminating the supply of and demand for illegally-traded small arms. They are working with war-torn communities to find ways in which to resolve conflicts peacefully and to provide job-training and other programs offering young people nonviolent alternatives. Hundreds of these NGOs are now affiliated with the International Action Network Against Small Arms. IANSA is serving as the main organizer of NGO activity at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, to be held at the UN from July 9-20, 2001. IANSA developed a draft document setting out goals for the conference. You may find out more about this network at

The small arms conference has three preparatory committees or "Prep-Coms." The first was held in February-March 2000. The Prep-Com failed to draft an agenda or to decide on a conference chairman and what kind of access NGOs would have to the sessions held during the July conference. The issue of whether economic and social phenomena relevant to illicit small arms trafficking, including specifically, human rights and drug trafficking, elicited much comment. A number of States argued for a broadly inclusive agenda, others opposed it on the grounds that the inclusion of economic and social issues could over-politicize the conference and put at risk its main aim.


Member states at the second Prep-Com, held in January 2001 at UN Headquarters in New York, agreed on a broadly formulated draft agenda, which calls on the conference to adopt final documents outlining measures for eliminating illegal arms transfers. However, participants failed to make key decisions, such as the draft rules of procedure and how NGOs will participate at the July conference. Moreover, some countries--such as the U.S.--would prefer not to draft a treaty at this time. In other words, they object to signing a politically binding document on the illegal trade in small arms. Most sessions during the second Prep-Com were open to NGOs. Importantly, the Prep-Com allowed NGOs to give five-minute statements during one of the morning sessions. Twenty-five NGOs, most of which belong to IANSA, gave presentations. For complete coverage of this Prep Com (and later, for the July Conference), see IANSA has posted documents from the Prep-Com, texts of the NGO speeches, and daily reports of its proceedings.

The third Prep-Com will be held from March 19-30, 2001, in New York.


You need to get involved in disarmament because it affects your own safety and welfare.Of the many causes that engage people in our times, disarmament is one that has in recent years got far less attention than it deserves. People assume that because the Cold War is over, the issue will take care of itself. It will not, for arms production and trade constitute a big and profitable industry, with strong links to the world's political structures. The priorities they set affect all government spending decisions. If the industry and its allied politicians are not to keep the world in a perpetual state of insecurity and danger, they must be countered by ordinary people who understand what is happening and why. This special supplement of Disarmament Times aims to engage people who would normally not pay much attention to disarmament. It explains basic concepts and major issues.

In recent years, the activism of ordinary people has begun to have an unprecedented impact on the international security agenda. You can get involved in any number of ways - or just keep yourself informed if activism is not possible. Just a few of the options:

NGO Committee on Disarmament: A nodal point for interacting with the United Nations in New York. Publisher of Disrmament Times. Organizes week-long observance of Disrmament Week in October every year. At: 777 United Nations Plaza, 3rd floor. Phone: 212-687-5340 Fax: 212-687-1643. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site:

United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs: Key information source with links to all parts of the UN system relevant to its work. Check out the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Mine Action Service of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) is an initiative of the Department that brings together all elements within the UN active in that area. Phone: 212-963-7706. Fax: 212-963-1121

International Atomic Energy Agency: A Vienna-based UN agency that is the world's central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. International Peace Bureau, the oldest and most comprehensive of international peacenetworks, with 160 member organizations from over 60 countries. Its current priorities are nuclear weapons abolition, conflict prevention/resolution and international humanitarian law. It won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910. At: 41, Rue de Zurich, CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland. Phone: 41 22 731 64 29. Fax: 41 22 738 94 19 e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site:

Millennium Forum: As part of the UN's Millennium observances, there will a gathering of NGOs and civil society representatives in New York (May 22 to 26). The Main theme of the Millennium Forum is "The United Nations for the Twenty-First Century." Six "sub-themes" are: Peace, Security and Disarmament; The Eradication of Poverty, Including Debt Cancellation and Social Development; Human Rights; Sustainable Development and The Environment; The Challenges of Globalization, Achieving Equity Justice and Diversity; and, Strengthening and Democratizing the United Nations and Other International Organizations. A range of thematic issues from Aging and Education to Microcredit and Values will also be addressed. The Forum web site - - has a draft "Vision Statement" and discussion papers. The Millennium Forum Executive Committee is at 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120, New York, New York 10017-1822. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 212-803-2522 Fax: 212-803-2561.

Hague Appeal for Peace: A global campaign that emerged from the gathering of peace activists at The Hague, Netherlands, (11-15 May 1999) to commemorate the centennial of the first International Peace Conference in 1899. Main focal points: disarmament, conflict resolution/ transformation, international humanitarian and human rights law, and the roots of war/culture of peace. At: 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017. Phone 212-687-2623 Fax: 212-661-2704

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF): founded in 1915 during World War I, works for world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and for the conditions necessary for peace, freedom,and justice for all. Web site: At: 1213 Race Street, Philadelphia PA 19107-1691. Phone 215-563-7110. Fax 215-563-5527

World Federalist Movement: an international citizens' movement working for justice, peace, and sustainable prosperity. Its forum at the 1989 Non-Aligned Ministerial meeting sparked the call for a UN Decade of International Law. It is the convener of the NGO Coalition for an International Criminal Court. At: 777 UN Plaza 12th Floor, New York NY 10017,

USA Arms Control Association (ACA): founded in 1971, is a national nonpartisan fee-based membership organization ($30 new members, $50 regular, 60 international) dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. It has programs directed at the policy-makers, media and the public. It publishes Arms Control Today (10 issues a year). At: 1726 M Street, N.W., Suite 201 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202 463 8270. Fax: 202 463 8273. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

British American Security Information Council (BASIC): Provides topical and well-researched information on security policy, arms trade, nuclear and conventional weapons. Excellent source of information on NATO. In the USA: 1900 L Street NW Suite 401Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 1 202 785 1266 Fax: 1 202 387 62 98 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site:

Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists: Founded in December 1945 by those who developed the first nuclear bomb, it provides thoughtful, accurate information on war and peace issues, especially nuclear policy: At: 6042 S. Kimbark Avenue Chicago, IL 60637 Fax: 773 702 0725. Web site:

Center for Defense Information: A think tank in Washington, drawing on a staff of retired senior military officers and civilians with extensive experience in military analysis. Maintains an arms trade database, conducts on-line conferences, produces a TV show (America's Defense Monitor), a monthly newsletter (Defense Monitor), and a weekly electronic posting. At: 1779 Mass. Ave. NW Washington, DC 20036. Phone: 202 332 0600. Fax: 202 462 4559 Web site:

Council For a Livable World: Deals with all weapons of mass destruction, arms sales and UN peacekeeping operations. It is host to the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Danger (, which advocates CTBT ratification and opposes ballistic missile defense. As a political action committee, raising funds for political candidates, CLW contributions are not tax-deductible. At: 110 Maryland Avenue NE #409, Washington DC 20002. Phone 202 543 4100. Fax 202 543 6297. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Federation of American Scientists: Founded in 1945 by members of the Manhattan Project, FAS advocates on science, technology and public policy, including nuclear weapons, arms sales, biological hazards, secrecy, and space policy. At: 307 Mass. Ave, NE Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 202 546 3300. Fax: 202 675 1010. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Their web site,, has much information, on outer space, ballistic missiles and nuclear issues.

Henry L. Stimson Center: Programs address a range of security challenges, focusing on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. On-going projects are on nuclear policy and South Asia missiles. At: 11 Dupont Circle, NW, 9th floor, Washington, DC 20036; Phone: 202 223 5956. Fax: 202 228 9604. Web site:

Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies: A think tank for research and education in ways to minimize the risk of war, reduce the burden of military spending and promote democratic institutions. It publishes the Arms Control Reporter and the Almanac of World Arms Holdings, Production and Trade, a hugely detailed collection of information. Its web site ( has information on Global Action ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), an ambitious collaborative program to end war. At: 675 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139; Phone: 627 354 4437. Fax: 617 354 1450.

Nonviolence Web: Home to many peace activist groups in the United States, the Nonviolence Web puts out a twice monthly webzine, Upfront. At: P.O. Box 30947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104. Phone: 215 724 4633 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it site:

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI): concentrates on arms limitation, control and reduction. Publishes well-researched data on development, production, transfers and expenditures. At: SIPRI Signalistgatan 9, S-169 70 Solna, Sweden. Phone: 46 8 655 97 00. Fax: 468 655 97 33. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web:

Union of Concerned Scientists: Founded at MIT in 1969 in a bid to redirect Cold War scientific priorities, it focuses now on environmental, energy, biological and nuclear issues. At: 2 Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02338-9105. Phone: 617 547 5552. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site: Abolition 2000: Founded by activists at the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, it is now a network of over 1,500 organizations in 93 countries, working towards a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework. One contact point: the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: Phone 805-965-3443; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), is now promoting a draft convention to outlaw nuclear weapons and another to limit and eventually abolish the international arms trade. Address: Anna Paulownastraat 103, 2518 BC, The Hague, Netherlands. Phone: 31 70 363 4484. Fax: 31 70 345 5951. Web site:

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, based in Massachusetts, USA, is a federation of national groups from over 80 countries. It won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. At: 727 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 USA. Phone: 617 868 5050 Fax: 617 868 2560 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site: www.healthnetorg/ Phone: 212 599 1320. Fax: 212 599 1332. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site:

International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is a global coalition of NGOs and individuals to address the issues of proliferation, spread and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Its organizers are gearing up for the July 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Website:

Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, USA. Fax: 831-647- 4199.

Acronym Institute: A key resource for those working on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues. Publishes Disarmament Diplomacy, which appears eleven times a year, providing in-depth coverage and analysis of all major ongoing arms control negotiations, initiatives and debates: At: 24 Colvestone Crescent, Dalston, London E 8 2LH, England Phone: +44 (0) 171 503 8857 Fax: +44 (0) 171 503 9153 email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN): A UK-based international NGO structured around a Core Group of 18 acknowledged authorities (diplomats, nuclear experts, academic researchers) from 18 countries. web site: In the United States: 240 East 27th Street, 10/H, New York, N.Y. 10016. Phone: (212) 532-3153; Fax: (212) 532-9847. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Economists Allied for Arms Reduction: 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10017 USA. Phone: +1 (212) 557-2545. Fax: +1 (212) 557-2589. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC): promotes and facilitates processes to shift people, skills, technology, equipment, and financial and economic resources from the defense sector to alternative civilian uses. At: An der Elisabethkirche 25, 53113 Bonn, Germany. Phone: +49-228-911 96-0, Fax: +49-228-24 12 15, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Web site: