New Disarmament Yearbook Chronicles Progress amid Growing Global Challenges

NEW YORK, 17 October (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — The Office for Disarmament Affairs today launched the latest volume of the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook.

The year 2021 saw global military expenditure increase to $2.1 trillion, the highest level in the past 30 years, heightened tensions between nuclear-weapon States and threats emanating from new technologies with potentially destabilizing effects, including in the digital space and outer space.  The 2021 Disarmament Yearbook chronicles the efforts of the world community to tackle these, and other, pressing global security challenges.

“In 2021, disarmament efforts continued to face significant headwinds, not least from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.  “Beyond significantly limiting the ability of intergovernmental disarmament forums to conduct their work, the pandemic complicated the delivery of humanitarian aid to conflict-scarred communities while eroding gains made in recent years towards greater economic and gender equality.”

“Nonetheless, the year also saw important moments towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons,” she said, noting the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the extension of a key nuclear arms control treaty by the Russian Federation and the United States, and the continued expansion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty with new States ratifying.  Last year also held promise for ongoing efforts to attract a new generation of experts and advocates.  “We saw an increase of 500 per cent in youth participation at disarmament and non-proliferation events,” Ms. Nakamitsu added.  “It is encouraging that future generations are stepping up to add their voices to finding disarmament solutions.  These, and other developments in 2021, serve as a reminder that progress on disarmament is not only needed, it is possible,” Ms. Nakamitsu said, adding that the recent rapid deterioration of the already antagonistic international environment drives home the need to intensify commitment to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control as instruments for security.

Gains were also made in partnership with the African Union and in collaboration with 10 countries by raising awareness on the negative impacts of the illicit proliferation of small arms and removing thousands of weapons from illicit circulation in connection with Africa Amnesty Month, which is part of the African Union’s Silencing the Guns initiative.

In August, the Conference on Disarmament held its first thematic session on youth, where it heard from four United Nations Youth Champions for Disarmament.  Later in 2021, the General Assembly adopted its second biennial resolution on “Youth, disarmament and non-proliferation”, reinforcing earlier calls for action to promote young people’s participation and empowerment in the work of disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Disarmament Yearbook, now in its forty‑sixth edition, has been prepared each year through a standing request of the General Assembly.  The comprehensive reference guide provides diplomats, experts, scholars and the interested public with an authoritative overview of trends and developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, together with key historical context and explanatory graphics to help readers understand the issues.

The latest Disarmament Yearbook is now available in PDF and e-book formats, as well as through an easy‑to‑use dedicated website.

For more information, please visit the Disarmament Yearbook website at:  https://yearbook.unoda.org/2021.

Contact:  Diane Barnes, Editor-in-Chief, email:  diane.barnes@un.org.

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