New York – On 19 September, UNODA officials participated in a briefing for young international media representatives and journalists. The journalists were in New York to participate in the Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship to cover the opening of the General Assembly.
At the panel briefing, organized by the UN Department of Global Communications, UNODA officials talked about a range of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues.
Ms. Suzanne Oosterwijk, Political Affairs Officer and UNODA’s media focal point, highlighted the importance of disarmament in the work of the United Nations. She referenced the Secretary-General´s Agenda for Disarmament and touched on the contributions disarmament and arms control can make towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Daniel Prins, Head of the Conventional Arms Branch at UNODA, spoke about confidence-building measures (CBMs) as essential elements to build mutual trust between countries. He outlined how such measures can contribute to resolving tensions, encouraging cooperation, promoting dialogue and greater transparency, and promoting progress in conventional disarmament and arms control.
Elaborating further on steps that states can take towards greater transparency, Ms. Fiona Simpson, Political Affairs Officer at UNODA, presented the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) – the official tool for reporting international arms transfers which captures the vast majority of import and export of arms. She furthermore presented the United Nations Report on Military Expenditures, providing insight into the information that is available about national military spending by member states.
Mr. René Holbach, Programme Management Officer in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch of UNODA where he focuses on nuclear disarmament, outlined the global nuclear stockpiles that exist today and gave a detailed explanation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its various pillars, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Finally, Mr. Jose Rosemberg, Senior Liaison Officer of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Organization (CTBTO) in New York, reminded participants of what is at stake with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is almost universal but has yet to become law. He stressed the need for states to “finish what they started” and ensure that the treaty enters into force. Mr. Jose Rosemberg, Senior Liaison Officer at the CTBTO, outlined the principles of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty and what is required for it to enter into force.
After the presentations, the journalist and panelists entered into a lively, off the record, Q&A session. The journalists showed a keen interest in the topics and touched on matters such as the effect of nuclear radiation, trust and control mechanisms, international cooperation in disarmament and arms control, and public support for disarmament.
Draft prepared by Martin Desbiolles