On 27 May, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) engaged in a virtual discussion with a group of 38 college students in the Republic of Korea on the topic of “disarmament and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The session was part of the World Federation of United Nations Associations’ biannual programme titled “WFUNA College Leaders at the UN”, which brings together college students from diverse background interested in international development, peace and security.
Ms. Ji Yeon Rho, Associate Political Affairs Officer at UNODA, introduced the Office’s work and the pillars of disarmament that are included in the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, “Securing Our Common Future” (2018), before zooming in on the connection between security and development. She noted that the proliferation of various types of weapons has tremendous impacts on many spheres of human life and nature, relating to multiple SDGs, including those relating to peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), economic growth (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), safe cities and communities (SDG 11), and life below water and life on land (SDG 14 and 15).
During the Q&A session, Ms. Rho and the students spoke about the various challenges that disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation instruments and agreements are facing, ways to promote and further progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons, as well as methods for data collection on small arms and light weapons, including their impacts on women, girls, men and boys.
The discussion session concluded with an interactive component, inviting participants to share their views on ways UNODA could develop its disarmament education projects and programmes.