The World Future Council announced this week the nominations of the Future Policy Award 2013. In partnership with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), this year’s award seeks to highlight disarmament policies that contribute to the achievement of peace, sustainable development and human security. In response to a worldwide call for nominations, the World Future Council received 25 nominations of best policy practice from all continents.
In 2013, disarmament issues have featured regularly and prominently in the headlines, drawing public attention to concerns such as the on-going threat posed by nuclear and chemical weapons as well as the historic passing of a UN Resolution on a global Arms Trade Treaty. Weapons of mass destruction continue to pose a threat to all life on Earth while the trafficking of small arms and light weapons fuels tensions, undermines peace, and incites armed violence.
With global military spending currently exceeding $1.7 trillion annually, a billion people continue to suffer from hunger. More still have no access to safe water, food, adequate health care or education. By promoting the exchange of best practices, the Future Policy Award showcases a range of innovative policy approaches to advance disarmament and celebrate policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness of these exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.
Following a call for nominations sent to more than 120 international organizations, NGOs and noted experts in the field, a list of 25 eligible policies has been compiled. The policies reflect a geo-political spread of approaches to disarmament and cover initiatives designed to tackle the problem of small arms and light weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction.
An extensive research process is currently underway and involves interviews with nationally based policy-makers, civil society organizations and academics. A jury of notable experts will evaluate the nominated policies according to their positive impact on sustainable development and human security goals. The winning policies will then be announced at a ceremony on 23 October 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on the eve of UN Disarmament Week, 24 – 30 October 2013.
June 10, 2013 No Comments
Yesterday (02 April), the United Nations General Assembly made history in New York by adopting the text of a long-awaited Arms Trade Treaty. Overall, 154 Member States voted in favour, 23 abstained and 3 – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Syria – voted against citing reasons of political hypocrisy.
The overall purpose of an Arms Trade Treaty is to create a uniform framework for the international trade in conventional arms that encourages accountability, openness and transparency. Overall, it is hoped such measures will make it harder for weapons to fall into the hands of human rights abusers, criminals and arms traffickers.
The journey taken to reach this point of agreement has been long, with the process originally beginning in the 1990s. By 2006, the UN General Assembly had requested that countries submit their views on a possible Arms Trade Treaty. A year later, these views were compiled into a report by the UN Secretary General and were examined by government experts in order to assess their feasibility. By 2012, a conference had been convened for the purpose of elaborating a legally binding instrument but the conference concluded without an agreed text. Over the past two weeks, a second final conference has been taking place which ended with an Arms Trade Treaty.
April 3, 2013 No Comments
As Member States gather from the 18-28 March to continue discussions on the subject of the Arms Trade Treaty, which commenced in July 2012, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) has marked the occasion with the publication of the report “The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the United Nations.”
Currently, there are no global rules with regards to the trade in conventional weapons bar the case-by-case arms embargoes. It is stated that a lack of universal framework in this matter has led to a lack of transparency, comparability and accountability in the world arms trade. The most vulnerable are the most affected by a perpetuating situation of poverty, deprivation and extreme inequality – all too often amplified in conflict zones.
A poor regulation of arms transfers has an exacerbating influence on conflict and armed violence which, in turn, impacts poorly on human and economic development. For example, the presence of an ongoing armed conflict can:
- impede new investment and dissuade investors,
- create a burden on the health service through arms-related injury, trauma and death,
- lead to the destruction of infrastructure,
- weaken the rule of law, and
- fuel crime.
March 18, 2013 No Comments