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UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Disarmament


Since the birth of the United Nations, the goals of multilateral disarmament and arms limitation have been central to its efforts to maintain international peace and security. The UN has given highest priority to reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons and strengthening the prohibition of biological weapons – all of which pose the direst threats to humankind. While these objectives have remained constant over the years, the scope of deliberations and negotiations has changed as political realities and the international situation evolved. The international community continues to consider more closely the excessive and destabilizing proliferation of small arms and light weapons and has mobilized to combat the massive deployment of landmines – instruments that threaten the economic and social fabric of societies and kill and maim civilians, all too many of whom are women and children. The UN is also focusing on the impact of new information, telecommunications technologies and other emerging technologies on international security.

Basic Facts about the United Nations, 42nd Edition © 2017


Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament
The Secretary-General announced on 24 May 2018 his Agenda for Disarmament, which outlines a set of practical measures across the entire range of disarmament issues, including weapons of mass destruction, conventional arms and future weapon technologies. It seeks to generate fresh perspectives and to explore areas where serious dialogue is required to bring disarmament back to the heart of our common efforts for peace and security.


 UN Entities


Selected Disarmament Topics


International Instruments


Research & Documentation


Further information

February 2020
not an official document – for information only

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