A diverse group of students, professors, representatives of international organizations, civil society organizations and practitioners from Asia and the Pacific joined the second edition of the Disarmament Toolkit online course from 21 to 30 June 2023.
Prepared by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) and the India-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Prajnya Trust, the course aimed to provide general and technical information on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, with a view to making the subject matter more accessible, while taking a gender-inclusive approach. The UNRCPD and the Prajnya Trust invited a wide range of experts from international organizations to give tailored briefings, including from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), UN Women, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Experts from academic institutions including the King’s College London, Monash University, and the University of Copenhagen, as well as consultancy groups, such as the Gender Associations International Consulting also participated. Representatives of international NGOs and civil society organizations, including the Mines Advisory Group, the Global Network of the Peacebuilders, Sansristi and the New Detroit Justice Institute also joined. Youth leaders from the UNODA’s initiative #LeadersTomorrow and #Youth4Disarmament shared their work and views on disarmament and how they take action in their respective communities.
Through lectures and interactive sessions, the participants covered Conventional Arms, including those incompatible with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), such as cluster munitions and landmines, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), namely nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery. Other disarmament issues covered by the course included the implications of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and lethal autonomous weapon systems, on international peace and security, information security, outer space and such cross-cutting issues as disarmament education, youth, gender, and the role of multilateralism.
The Disarmament Toolkit guided participants as to how to access learning platforms, volunteer networks and opportunities to promote civil society and youth engagement in disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation efforts.
UNRCPD and the Prajnya Trust continue their joint efforts to enhance knowledge and understanding, with the aim of empowering individuals and concerned citizens to actively engage, question, and contribute to discussions about peace and security in their respective spheres.