The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) will organize a special event entitled “Transparency in the Global Arms Trade” at United Nations Headquarters on 18 October, accompanying the launch of a new, ground-breaking Web feature offering unprecedented insight into the global reported arms trade.
The new Web platform is expected to vastly increase the possibility that government officials, researchers, journalists and anyone interested could absorb and analyze arms transfers as reported to the UN by its Member States.
Excessive and destabilizing accumulation of conventional arms pose a serious threat to national, regional and international peace and security, particularly by aggravating tensions and conflict situations. In particular, the military build-ups that fuelled the conflicts in the Gulf in the 1980s and early 1990s generated widespread concern about the destabilizing effects of transfers of major conventional arms.
In 1991, the General Assembly established a Register of Conventional Arms and called upon all Member States to provide annually for the Register data on international arms transfers in seven categories of major conventional weapons (battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopter, warships, missile launchers and missiles), as well as background information on military holdings and procurement through national production.
Since then, many countries regularly report their arms imports and exports to the UN Register of Conventional Arms. To date, the Register has received reports from more than 170 States. The vast majority of official transfers are captured in the Register. Now, its data will be presented in a searchable, user-friendly manner, providing easy access to a wealth of previously difficult-to-find information.
This is expected to be a major transparency tool for anyone researching weapons transfers and governmental openness.
At the Special Event, Mr. Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will make the opening remarks and Professor Michael T. Klare (Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies) will deliver a key note address. The event will also feature panel discussions by senior experts from academia and media to discuss the state of play regarding transparency in the global arms trade. The participants include: Ms. Magda Coss, investigative journalist, Mr. Jeff Abramson (Arms Control Association), Mr. Tobias Bock (Transparency International) and Mr. Mark Bromley (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)).
The Special Event on Transparency in the Global Arms Trade will be held on 18 October 2011, Conference Room 1, 1:15 – 3:00 p.m. at United Nations Headquarters Conference Room 1 (North Lawn Building. Interpretation in English, French and Spanish will be provided.