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VERTIC hosts seminar on ‘scientific and technological capacity for disarmament and non-proliferation’ in New York

On 16 October, VERTIC, together with United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), hosted a seminar on ‘Scientific and technological capacity for disarmament and non-proliferation’. The seminar took place in New York at the United Nations Headquarters during the second week of the General Assembly’s 2019 First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.

The meeting was open to all states and non-governmental organisations attending the First Committee. Participants discussed how advanced technologies have created new opportunities for multilateral co-operation and for enhancing capacities for disarmament verification and non-proliferation compliance.

The seminar was chaired by Chris King, Deputy Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch and Head of the Science and Technology Unit in UNODA, with introductory remarks being provided by Andreas Persbo, Executive Director, VERTIC. Speakers included representatives of France, Norway and Pakistan.

Ms Amelie Delaroche, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, provided a French perspective on the role of new technological innovations in disarmament verification measures. Mr Usman Jadoon, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN, Geneva, spoke about how the use of advanced technologies can enhance confidence building measures (CBMs).

Mr Jørn Osmundsen, Special Envoy for Disarmament Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, provided a report of the outcomes of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) established in 2017 to consider the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament. He also informed the participants that his country is spearheading the tabling of another resolution, which would request the Secretary-General to establish a new GGE. If passed this GGE would begin work in 2021 in order to take forward the recommendations of the previous GGE established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/67. The new GGE would further consider nuclear disarmament verification issues, including the possibility of the establishment of a Group of Scientific and Technical Experts within the UN system in the future.

Speakers and participants agreed that while rapid advances in technologies have the potential to negatively alter the international security landscape, advanced technologies have also created new opportunities for multilateral co-operation in a range of areas including in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.