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From Bullets to Bombs: The General Assembly First Committee

The United Nations General Assembly First Committee is also known as the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) committee. Each Member State has a vote within this committee. It addresses the disarmament of conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction and related international security questions. The First Committee makes recommendations on the regulation of these weapons as they relate to international peace and security. It covers seven major topic themes including 

  • Nuclear weapons
  • Other weapons of mass destruction
  • Outer space (disarmament aspects)
  • Conventional weapons
  • Regional disarmament and security
  • Other disarmament measures and international security
  • Disarmament machinery

While the First Committee addresses many technical issues within these topics, it is important that representatives also consider the committee’s purview when drafting resolutions. The complex legal questions surrounding these topics are considered in other committees, and larger peace and international security questions, such as sanctions, fall under the purview of the United Nations Security Council. By keeping purview in mind, representatives will be able to draft more effective resolutions. 

This year at AMUN, the First Committee will be covering two topics: the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, and nuclear disarmament.  Representatives assigned to this committee start preparing for these topics by checking out the 2019 AMUN Handbook here

Over one billion small arms are in circulation around the globe according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey, and many of these arms end up in conflict zones and in the hands of criminal and terrorist organizations. The First Committee seeks solutions to track, remove and prevent small arms from entering the illicit arms trade. To tackle this issue, representatives will need to consider how Member States can address the use of new materials and technology such as 3D printing being used to create untraceable firearms. This aspect of the topic relates to how new technologies have made it more difficult for the international community to address the number of firearms in the illicit arms trade.  

UN Secretary-General Guterres in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly warned Member States that the threat posed by nuclear weapons has been increasing over the past decade and could unite a humanitarian catastrophe. With multiple states possessing nuclear arsenals, and more states seeking to develop nuclear weapons programs, international efforts are needed now more than ever to avoid disaster. To tackle this issue, representatives will need to address the resurgence of nuclear weapons development and quel growing international tensions. Representatives will also need to consider how non-nuclear states can be more involved in the disarmament process. 

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