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UNODA Occasional Papers No.26: The New Zealand Lectures on Disarmament by High Representative Angela Kane, June 2014

image of UNODA Occasional Papers No.26: The New Zealand Lectures on Disarmament by High Representative Angela Kane, June 2014

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Occasional Papers is a series of ad hoc publications presenting, in edited form, papers or statements made at meetings, symposiums, seminars, workshops or lectures that deal with topical issues in the field of arms limitation, disarmament and international security. They are intended primarily for those concerned with these matters in Government, civil society and in the academic community. This Occasional Paper is a collection of High Representative Angela Kane's speeches during her visit to New Zealand in April 2014. The speeches she delivered at a range of venues provide a comprehensive stocktake of the prospects and challenges currently confronting disarmament and arms control efforts. Her balance sheet registers both progress, most notably in the field of conventional arms (in particular, last year’s historic adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty), and a lack of progress—especially as regards nuclear disarmament.

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Disarmament: is the world listening to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s calls for progress?

This lecture defines a balance sheet for disarmament. It reviews the status of disarmament today and the differing perceptions of progress made. The lecture also provides an assessment of not just where things stand today but of how disarmament got to where it is now and the direction it is likely to go next. The problem with disarmament, Ms. Kane suggests, is that it appears differently in the eyes of its beholders, making the measurement of progress a difficult task with optimists and pessimists holding opposing views of the global record. She thus examines the track record of nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons through the eyes of both the optimist and the pessimist, and offers as a counterpoint the Secretary-General’s record of leadership in the field of disarmament, citing, among other things, his five-point nuclear disarmament proposal and his calls for reductions in military spending. Ms. Kane concludes that the advancement of disarmament calls for action on three levels: civil society pressure, diplomatic engagement by diverse coalitions of States and enlightened leadership from the States with the largest weapons stockpiles and military expenditure.

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