First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security Committee)
The First Committee of the General Assembly (GA 1st) is one of the main committees of the General Assembly. It was created along with five other subcommittees at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946. The committee deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community. Therefore, it is also known as the “Disarmament and Security Committee” or DISEC. Its decisions are not legally binding but represent a strong self-commitment of the international community. Resolutions passed by the First Committee are forwarded to the plenary sessions of the General Assembly, where they are discussed further and adopted. All 193 member countries of the United Nations are represented in the GA 1st. The history of the General assembly and its main committees goes back to the founding days of the United Nations. Disarmament, conflict prevention and stability are as relevant today as they were when the UN was founded.
Topic 2023: Handling of Remnants of War in Crisis and Post-Conflict Areas
Explosives left over from a conflict are known as explosive remnants of war (ERW). They consist of cluster munitions, air-dropped bombs, mortars, rockets, grenades, unexploded artillery shells, and mortars. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), with the exclusion of mines, makes up the international legal definition of ERW. History has shown that parties involved in conflicts tend to leave their remnants behind without providing help to remove them. Each year, large numbers of civilians are killed and injured by explosive and toxic remnants of war. While some of these are left from conflicts which happened decades ago, such as the two world wars, many still get left behind during the increasing amount of recent and current conflicts. Today, more than 80 countries see themselves affected by the issue at hand. For example, the remnants hinder reconstruction and threaten economic livelihood because local communities usually do not have technical capacity or necessary resources to clear them safely. Additionally, these remnants are a major source of pollution and present an ongoing threat to civilians. Hence, for the UN the handling of remnants of war has been an important issue for decades already. Between 2002 and 2003 the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts negotiated the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V), which was approved by the CCW Meeting of the States Parties on November 28, 2003. The Protocol addresses generic post-conflict remedial measures in order to reduce the likelihood that explosive remnants of war will occur, have an impact, or pose a risk. It also acknowledges the serious post-conflict humanitarian issues that these remnants of war cause. In this year's GA 1st, we want to build on the measures already in place to reduce the occurrence of remnants of war and improve their handling in Crisis and Post-Conflict Areas.