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First Committee briefing book 2013

Published ahead of the 2013 UN General Assembly First Committee, this briefing book highlights a number of current disarmament issues and suggests ways forward.


briefingbookFirst Committee is often used as a forum for member states to express stale and repeated positions on every topic related to disarmament and international security and to table resolutions that change little in substance or in result from year to year. To most civil society actors, the month of October could be used more efficiently.

This briefing book will give the reader a quick overview of the state of play on some of the most pressing issues that will be addressed at this year’s First Committee. In addition, it will also provide recommendations for governments from some of the main civil society coalitions working on these topics.

The non-governmental groups that have contributed to this book work on many different issues and weapon systems from a variety of perspectives, but they all share one thing in common: the desire to increase human security by reducing the impact of weapons through the development of international norms. 

The UN is a place where governments of the world are supposed to come together to solve collective challenges and make progress on the pressing issues of our time. Unfortunately, UN member states often fail to achieve these goals due to outdated concepts of security. In terms of disarmament in particular, governments seem to be constrained by antiquated methods of work and traditional approaches to security issues that do not reflect the realities of the 21st century.

But people all over the world, and indeed many delegations at the UN, seek true progress and the enhancement of human security. We hope that this briefing book will provide inspiration and alternatives as we engage in the important work ahead.

Edited by Beatrice Fihn and Ray Acheson • Published by Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Full briefing book

We are delighted to offer the online version for free, but please consider making a donation to Reaching Critical Will to help us cover the costs of producing this book and the other materials and information services that Reaching Critical Will provides.