In 1980, a UN Group of Governmental Experts on regional disarmament concluded that there was a vast and somewhat unexplored potential for progress in disarmament at the regional level. The Group found that progress in regional disarmament, equitable solution of problems, just settlement of disputes and with confidence-building measures at the regional level, could create conditions that would promote disarmament and relax tension at the global level.
In 1993, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) adopted guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament. The UNDC found that regional and global approaches to disarmament and arms limitation complemented each other and should be pursued simultaneously, in order to promote regional and international peace and security.
Each year, the General Assembly adopts several resolutions concerning regional disarmament, including on the three Regional Centres on Peace and Disarmament. The Secretary-General also presents an annual report on each of the three Regional Centres.
UNODA serves over 135 countries at the regional, subregional and national levels, including through its three UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament:
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC, located in Lima, Peru),
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD, located in Kathmandu, Nepal), and
- The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC, located in Lomé, Togo).
UNODA implements tailored approaches to enhance regional and subregional security through disarmament and the regulation of arms. Its activities include efforts in the following areas:
- Developing and delivering capacity-building projects, technical tools and outreach initiatives that are tailored to the specific needs of different regions and subregions.
- Strengthening national and local level engagement based on human-centred interventions and the principle of national ownership.
- Improving the capacity and coordination across its Regional Centres to undertake and deliver mandates.
- Enhancing support for the implementation of regional frameworks, including through stronger cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.
UNODA further contributes to UN-wide policy discussions and joint programming on cross-cutting issues such as: security sector reform, armed violence prevention and reduction, and gender mainstreaming.
UNODA’s mandate on regional disarmament
- To advance regional disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control efforts and initiatives, and the effective implementation of global and regional disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control treaties and other instruments, and strengthen partnerships with regional organizations (A/77/6 (Sect.4)).
- To promote regional disarmament, taking into account the specific characteristics of each region and in accordance with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments, in order to enhance the security of all States and to thus contribute to international peace and security by reducing the risk of regional conflicts (PP 9 of A/RES/77/59).