2012 Event


Side Event in the UN First Committee

“Effective Use of Information to Empower/Influence Disarmament

and Non-Proliferation Efforts”

25 October 2012

On October 25, the Permanent Mission of Japan, together with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) held a side event to discuss with experts how to effectively use information in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.


This event was convened in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Secretary-General’s report on Disarmament Education in 2002. Participants in the UN First Committee were invited to debate how education can play a role in the actual policy-making process on disarmament and nonproliferation in the international community and how so-called social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be used to disperse information and raise the awareness of civil society.


The Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, Tsuneo Nishida, opened the event. In his remarks, Ambassador Nishida posed a few challenging questions on what meaningful measures governments, academia, NGOs and think tanks could take to involve motivated youth in actual policy making process. Any such measures, particularly those that include educating the younger generation on disarmament and non-proliferation, have become crucial in light of the serious threats we are facing from the illegal arms trade, weapons of mass destruction, and conventional arms. (Ambassador Nishida’s opening remarks can be found here.)


The subsequent session featured four distinguished panelists: Dr. William Potter, from the Monterey Institute of International Studies; Mr. John Ennis from UNODA; Mr. Mark Bromley from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); and Ms. Terue Okada from the University of Tokyo. During his remarks, Dr. Potter stressed the importance of disarmament and nonproliferation education. In spite of this significance which was recognized at the UN in the last decade, the current efforts of each State are insufficient, Dr. Potter also pointed out. Mr. Ennis introduced a number of examples of UN attempts to use social media effectively in disarmament and nonproliferation, such as the Poetry for Peace Contest, during which it uploaded testimonies of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki online and collected poetries from people all over the world who listened the testimonies. Mr. Bromley, meanwhile, explained that the proliferation of conventional arms has been a serious threat in societies of conflict areas and mentioned how policy makers and academia are now utilizing concrete information on arms diffusions and transfers in order to reduce the threat. Finally, Ms Okada introduced examples of practices of disarmament and nonproliferation education in Japan and stressed their importance.


After the presentations of the panelists, the discussion was opened to the floor. Participants discussed actively on the importance of dialogue among governments, academia, NGOs and think tanks, the possibility as well as challenges of using social media. One participant suggested that disarmament and non-proliferation issues need to be linked with other issues that people care deeply about on daily basis, such as civil war, gender and street violence and peace building. The event closed with the final remarks of the Japanese Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Mari Amano.


This event offered an opportunity for diplomats and UN officials in charge of disarmament and nonproliferation to consider how to use various data and information for formulating policies or reaching out to the public through education and social media. Japan will continue to make efforts in coordination with the UN and other relevant organizations to raise awareness on the importance of education in the field of disarmament and nonproliferation. In addition, Japan will take effective measures to share information and engage in dialogue with civil society in policy making.


Room filled with participants

Room filled with participants


Ambassador Nishida delivering his opening remarks

Ambassador Nishida delivering his opening remarks

Mr. Bromley from SIPRI

Mr. Bromley from SIPRI

Panelists (From right, Ambassador Amano, Professor Okada, Mr. Ennis, Ambassador Nishida, Dr. Potter, Mr. Bromley)

Panelists (From right, Ambassador Amano, Professor Okada, Mr. Ennis,

Ambassador Nishida, Dr. Potter, Mr. Bromley)