Disarmament: A Basic Guide

First Edition

image of Disarmament: A Basic Guide

International peace and security - and therefore disarmament - stand at the core of the UN mandate. This publication is designed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action, and to rally support for it, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. Intended primarily for the general reader, this basic guide may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer. It is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.



Conventional weapons

Positional warfare among States has become a rarity in the period after the Second World War, but governments continue to spend significant portions of their military budgets on heavy conventional weaponry. Since only a handful of States manufacture these weapons, efforts at the UN have focused on inducing greater transparency in international transfers. A UN Register of Conventional Arms has been published annually since 1992. Every year till 1997, it included information from over 90 member States on their imports and exports of seven main categories of conventional weapons: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, attack helicopters, combat aircraft, warships, and missiles and missile launchers. In 1998 the number of reporting States dipped to 82 but rose to 90 in 1999 (the latest report). States are also invited to submit information on military holdings and internal procurement; 26 did in 1999.


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