Remarks by Ambassador Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Side Event on “World Military Spending and Transparency:
Recent Trends and the UN Report on Military Expenditures”
18 April 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all who have gathered here today for this meeting co-organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) titled “World Military Spending and Transparency: Recent Trends, and the UN Report on Military Expenditures.”
I was told that this is the first time in the history of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) that a side event has been held in collaboration with the UNODA and a renowned think tank like SIPRI. Japan is pleased to take part in supporting such an event, which contributes to the discussions at the UNDC, especially with regard to the agenda item on confidence building measures on conventional arms. As a strong proponent for the revitalization of the UNDC, we believe an interactive discussion among Member States, UN Secretariat and members of academia and civil society will strengthen the functioning of the UNDC.
I would like to touch upon two key areas in order to highlight the importance of improving transparency in the field of arms control.
First, we should make the best use of existing UN instruments related to military expenditures and arms trade, and continue to update, improve and strengthen them. Such effort will not only increase transparency and build confidence among Member States, but also enhance accountability of governments.
The United Nations has frameworks such as the Reporting of Military Expenditures, the Register of Conventional Arms, and the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons. An Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to be negotiated this July will also become an important instrument to enhance transparency and build confidence among nations. Japan has not only advocated the establishment of these frameworks but also actively participated in improving their functioning. For example, a Japanese expert took part in the Group of Governmental Experts for Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditure, and helped reach an agreement to revise the system to meet the current needs.
The second key area is to focus on the synergy among the work of Member States, UN Secretariat and major think tanks and civil society members that are active in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
While Member States try their best to promote dialogue and increase transparency on military expenditure through the use of UN instruments, it will not be sufficient to ensure transparency among them. Information on military development gathered by think tanks from open sources and the examination of data reported through each of the UN instruments by non-governmental institutes play an important role by complementing and strengthening the UN system of voluntary notification.
In this regard, it is beneficial to make full use of the UNDC, the deliberative body of the UN in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, to hold a candid discussion among Member States, the UN Secretariat and members of academia and civil society. I hope that today’s meeting will prove to be a good example of a productive collaboration among all stakeholders in this field. I look forward to an active discussion on the role of the Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures
within the UN, the results of SIPRI’s most recent study, and how we can make use of these activities in the UNDC.