Advancing Disarmament within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

AuthorNakamitsu, Izumi


The idea that disarmament and arms control are connected to development is not new. Article 26 of the Charter of the United Nations recognizes disarmament as a precondition for durable peace, security and development by calling for the maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion of the world's economic and human resources for arms.

For a long time, however, disarmament has largely slipped off the development agenda. This is despite overwhelming evidence that excessive arms accumulation diverts needed resources from development and fuels armed conflict and violence, leading to unnecessary death and suffering, social inequality and environmental degradation. Hence, the failure to establish effective disarmament and arms control systems is devastating to socioeconomic development, peace and security, and human well-being.

The Secretary-General recognized this in his new Agenda for Disarmament, where he described "a vast potential" for disarmament activities to further advance our pursuit of development objectives.

The Agenda, launched on 24 May 2018, offers new perspectives on better integrating disarmament and arms control into our work on other key international priorities, moving beyond our tendency to view this pressing matter through a narrow, isolated security lens. Instead, it encourages us to place disarmament and arms control within the scope of our work on sustainable development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.


The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a unique opportunity to revisit the historical relationship between disarmament and development. While SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, justice and strong institutions recognizes that durable peace and lasting conditions for security are necessary for long-term development, we need to better understand the diverse areas in which achieving disarmament objectives can contribute to the implementation of the SDGs. All Member States have committed themselves to taking such an integrated approach.

A central concern for disarmament and arms control is the protection of civilians from the impact of weapons. Measures to ban or restrict certain weapons on humanitarian grounds have a clear role to play in reducing armed violence and related death rates, an objective under SDG target 16.1. The increasing urbanization of armed conflict and the use of explosive weapons in towns and cities have particularly devastating impacts on civilians, causing death and injury, forced displacement, and destruction of livelihoods and infrastructure. In response to the escalation of armed violence, the United Nations supports efforts by Member States to develop appropriate limitations, common standards and policies in conformity with international humanitarian law on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Through SDG...

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