22 April 2022, New York, United States (Hybrid) - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) held another session of the weekly training workshops for the 2022 President of the General Assembly Fellowship for HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Promoting Empowerment of Youth) - a flagship initiative of the UNITAR Office in New York. The session is held every Friday at the United Nations Headquarters and features multiple distinguished high-level speakers from various branches of the United Nations. 


On Friday, April 22nd, the assigned theme was Disarmament, International Security, and the First Committee. To discuss the work of the First Committee — which covers disarmament and international security — Ms. Sonia Elliott, Secretary of the First Committee, Chief of the Disarmament and Peace Affairs Branch, and Mr. Tom Kono, Senior Political Affairs Officer at the Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), provided a distinct overview of the department and a brief but concise discussion on the efforts of the United Nations on disarmament and its increased security on arms race. Mr. Kono provided a list of resolutions that have been amended by the United Nations in the effort to avoid mass destruction and violence on humanity. 

Mr. Christopher King, Senior Political Affairs Officer at the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch of the ODA, joined the session virtually to speak about nuclear weapons. Mr. King states that there is a rough estimate of about 12,700 nuclear weapons in the world; and the United Nations considers nuclear weapons as its highest disarmament priority because it is the only man-made weapon that has the potential to wipe out the entirety of humankind. Weapons of mass destruction include nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons — all of which guarantee a state adequate security, but conversely act as a danger to every living thing on the planet. 

Covering the topic of Conventional Arms Issues, Mr. Takuma Haga, Political Affairs Officer of the Conventional Arms Branch at the ODA, joined the session in person. Mr. Haga discussed matters on the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), which was amended on 21st December 2001, with the purpose to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons to increase security and safety for civilians. 


Outer Space and Cyberspace are covered in the scope of the United Nations’ efforts to increase security for the public as well. Mr. Michael Spies and Ms. Katherine Prizeman, Political Affairs Officers for the Science and Technologies Unit of the ODA joined the session in person to discuss the department’s efforts in increasing security for both. Mr. Spies explained that as a security aspect, there needs to be constant restraint on arms race in outer space, as times rapidly change, and many states have had access to sending their own satellites in space — as opposed to a few decades prior when only the richest and most powerful states were able to afford to do so. As for Cyberspace, Ms. Prizeman states that the responsible use of Cyberspace is a top priority of the ODA, and the security angle of the department is the prevention of the use of Cyberspace and the digital domain for malicious purposes.  


Ms. Kim Soo Hyun, Acting Director, UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, and Ms. Suzanne Oosterwijk, Political Affairs Officer at the ODA gave an overview about Regional Disarmament and Information & Outreach. Ms. Kim insisted on the importance of engaging and educating today's youth in disarmament, because they are the “hope and the future” of our planet. Ms. Kim stated that the department’s main objective is what they call Engagement, Education, and Empowerment — which, according to Ms. Kim, lead to Participation, Perspectives, and Partnerships. Ms. Oosterwijk spoke about the efforts of the ODA to educate the public about disarmament and arms race by holding meetings, outreach programs, and using social media to raise awareness about the seriousness of arms race. 

The session on Disarmament, International Security, and the First Committee was informative and provided major insights on the continuing work of the United Nations for disarmament and its efforts to increase security for the public. The next workshop for the 2022 HOPE Fellows will be held on Friday, 29th April. 

Share with