About UN ODA
United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) was established in January 1998 as the Department for Disarmament Affairs which was part of the SG’s programme for reform in accordance with his report to the General Assembly (A/51/950).
The Office for Disarmament Affairs supports multilateral efforts aimed at achieving the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. The mandate for the programme is derived from the priorities established in relevant General Assembly resolutions and decisions in the field of disarmament, including the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly, the first special session devoted to disarmament (resolution S-10/2). Weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, continue to be of primary concern owing to their destructive power and the threat that they pose to humanity. The Office also works to address the humanitarian impact of major conventional weapons and emerging weapon technologies, such as autonomous weapons, as these issues have received increased attention from the international community.
UNODA seeks to promote global norms of disarmament:
- Global norms for disarmament are vital to the sustainable development, quality of life, and ultimately the survival of this planet. The need for such norms arises directly from the legacy of the last century of wars and preparations for wars. The costs of such conflicts have been extraordinary and have included the loss of untold millions of innocent civilians. Weapons of mass destruction, along with excess stocks and illicit transfers of conventional arms, jeopardize international peace and security and other goals of the Charter of the United Nations.
- We believe that the potential effects from the use of weapons of mass destruction – especially nuclear weapons – demand their elimination. We believe that the very possession of such weapons necessarily entails risks of use. We shall work therefore to assist the UN, its Member States and civil society in efforts to eliminate such arms.
- We acknowledge that disarmament alone will not produce world peace. Yet we also maintain that the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, illicit arms trafficking and burgeoning weapons stockpiles would advance both peace and development goals. It would accomplish this by reducing the effects of wars, eliminating some key incentives to new conflicts, and liberating resources to improve the lives of all the people and the natural environment in which they live.
- We believe that disarmament will advance the self-interests, common security and ideals of everybody without discrimination. Yet despite these benefits, disarmament still faces difficult political and technical challenges that can only be surmounted by deliberate human action, strong institutional support, and understanding among the general public. We call this combined effort sustainable disarmament – our fundamental goal.
- We believe that the global dangers posed by such weapons cannot be eliminated by the actions of any one country. We are convinced that the UN is the place to forge multilateral approaches to alleviate such threats. We also believe this effort requires a focal point within the UN system to integrate these activities and to meet the expectations of Member States.
- We affirm our commitment – to perform these roles with dedication and diligence; to assist the Secretary-General, Member States and groups within civil society; to promote equal opportunities for men and women, while promoting gender perspectives on disarmament; and to bring credit to the United Nations in the goals we seek and the means we pursue to achieve them.