"The UN and the fate of Treaties"

Editorial Opinion by Paul Meyer
Published by thestar.com
October 4, 2012

Excerpt: "Every October, as regular as the migratory birds, officials from around the world gather in New York City for the annual session of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee, which is devoted to disarmament and international security matters.

Each year they are faced with some 50 resolutions treating a wide array of arms control and disarmament issues, from nuclear-weapon-free zones in the Middle East to trying to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Many of these resolutions are “hearty perennials” that are endorsed each year without much fuss or notice. Others represent new initiatives, designed to highlight an emerging security threat or to find novel ways to advance a long-standing, but stalled objective.

By the end of its month-long session, the First Committee will have dealt with all its business and provided broad policy direction on how these issues are to be handled by the international community. At this fall’s session, several key problems for international security are likely to come to a head. The manner in which these problems are resolved (or not) could have significant consequences for the future of multilateral arms control co-operation.

Two issues at a delicate stage of development and for which this month’s action could be decisive are the Arms Trade Treaty and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. Canada has a major stake in both of these endeavours."

Please visit thestar.com for the complete article.

Paul Meyer is a Fellow in International Security, Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation.