Overwhelming majority of UN member states support the reallocation of military spending.

ARC NGO Liaison Officer Fidel Asante reports on the 2005 UN First committee discussions on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development

On 8th December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, (below) bought forward by its major Disarmament Forum, the First Committee. The 60/61 Resolution on the ‘Relationship between Disarmament and Development’ (RDD) was resoundingly adopted by 177 of the 180 member states voting, and sets out, amongst other things, a programme for the member states of the UN to establishing mechanisms releasing resources hitherto spent on arms for economic and social requirements, not least, for the development needs of third world countries.

This years Resolution was sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. For sometime now it has been customary for the General Assembly to agree Resolutions put forward on RDD, even though military spending has actually been rising over the past few years. Yet, cause for optimism can be found in projects coordinated through the UN High Level Steering Group on the RDD enabling UN agencies to work together on projects incoporating RDD, as well as the discussions around the funding a proposed Humanitarian Standing Fund, which would enable aid agencies to immediately draw specifically for humanitarian relief.

Countries In favour of the Resolution (below) were: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Those against were: United States, and those abstaining were: France and Israel. For further information go to: http://disarmament2.un.org/vote.nsf

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

[on the report of the First Committee (A/60/463)]


Relationship between disarmament and development

The General Assembly,

Recalling that the Charter of the United Nations envisages the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources,

Recalling also the provisions of the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly concerning the relationship between disarmament and development, 1 as well as the adoption on 11 September 1987 of the Final Document of the International Conference on the Relationship between

Disarmament and Development,2

Recalling further its resolutions 49/75 J of 15 December 1994, 50/70 G of 12 December 1995, 51/45 D of 10 December 1996, 52/38 D of 9 December 1997, 53/77 K of 4 December 1998, 54/54 T of 1 December 1999, 55/33 L of20 November 2000, 56/24 E of 29 November 2001, 57/65 of 22 November 2002 and 59/78 of 3 December 2004, and its decision 58/520 of 8 December 2003,

Bearing in mind the Final Document of the Twelfth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Durban, South Africa, from 29 August to 3 September 1998, 3 and the Final Document of the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Cartagena, Colombia, on 8 and 9 April 2000,4

Mindful of the changes in international relations that have taken place since the adoption on 11 September 1987 of the Final Document of the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, including the development agenda that has emerged over the past decade,

Bearing in mind the new challenges for the international community in the field of development, poverty eradication and the elimination of the diseases that afflict humanity,

Stressing the importance of the symbiotic relationship between disarmament and development and the important role of security in this connection, and concerned at increasing global military expenditure, which could otherwise be spent on development needs,

1. Welcomes the report of the Group of Governmental Experts on the relationship between disarmament and development 5 and its reappraisal of this significant issue in the current international context;

2. Stresses the central role of the United Nations in the disarmament development relationship, and requests the Secretary-General to strengthen further the role of the Organization in this field, in particular the high-level Steering Group on Disarmament and Development, in order to assure continued and effective coordination and close cooperation between the relevant United Nations departments, agencies and sub-agencies;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take action, through appropriate organs and within available resources, for the implementation of the action programme adopted at the 1987 International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development;2

4. Urges 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, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries;

5. Encourages the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to make reference to the contribution that disarmament could provide in meeting them when it reviews its progress towards this purpose in 2006, as well as to make greater efforts to integrate disarmament, humanitarian and development activities;

6. Encourages the relevant regional and subregional organizations and institutions, non-governmental organizations and research institutes to incorporate issues related to the relationship between disarmament and development in their agendas and, in this regard, to take into account the report of the Group of Governmental Experts;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its sixty-first session on the implementation of the present resolution;

8. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-first session the item entitled "Relationship between disarmament and development".

61st plenary meeting

8 December 2005

1 See resolution S-10/2.

2 United Nations publication, Sales No. E.87.IX.8.

3 A/53/667-S/1998/1071, annex I.

4 A/54/917-S/2000/580, annex.

5 See A/59/119.

Fidel Asante 2005