Operating since 1980, UNIDIR is an autonomous institution within the United Nations that conducts independent research on disarmament and related problems; particularly international security issues.
Our specialized focus on disarmament and arms control sets us apart from other think tanks. Our status within the United Nations system enables us to engage with and support Member State deliberations. Our role is to provide ideas and advice and to facilitate dialogue that can advance multilateral arms control and disarmament.
Our vision is a stable and more secure world in which States and people are protected from threats of arms-related violence.
In a time of global volatility, the role of UNIDIR is ever-more important.
We conduct independent research on disarmament and issues relating to international security. Our mission is to support UN Member States, the United Nations, the disarmament policy community and other stakeholders in identifying and advancing ideas and practical actions that contribute to a sustainable and peaceful world.
We promote knowledge and the informed participation of all stakeholders; generate ideas to advance practical progress, facilitating dialogue among Member States, technical and expert communities, including the private sector and civil society; and provide advice to Member States, UN entities and other partners on concrete disarmament issues.
We live in a dangerous time. Chemical weapons have reappeared. Powerful and devastating explosives designed for the battlefield are now used in populated areas. And new weapons using artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are emerging, in violation of existing laws and conventions. This new reality demands that disarmament and non-proliferation are put at the centre of the work of the United Nations."
A changing world requires responsive and adaptable organizations to adapt. UNIDIR is engaging with a growing and increasingly diverse set of stakeholders, while informing and supporting policymakers, addressing challenges, facilitating debate, and offering new ideas.
We are implementing a range of activities including expert workshops, scenarios and table-top exercises, large high-level conferences and dialogues with policymakers. Our multi-year programming ensures depth in our research and analysis. Our visiting fellows programme increases our diversity.
In May 2018, the United Nations Secretary-General announced a bold new vision for global disarmament in Securing Our Common Future, An Agenda for Disarmament. This Agenda seeks to bring disarmament back to the centre of the UN's work, to reinvigorate dialogue and negotiations, stimulate new ideas and create new momentum on international disarmament so as to 'achieve a safer and more secure world for all'.
The Agenda lays out 40 clear actions with over 130 specific steps across the arms control and disarmament agenda including weapons of mass destruction, conventional arms, and new battlefield technologies. UNIDIR is a key partner in advancing this Agenda. We are tasked to take forward 10 of the 40 action items and we are currently involved in a further 16. With the support of many Member States and UN partners, progress is being made on its implementation. Click to learn more about the Secretary-General's Disarmament Agenda.
The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a unique opportunity to revisit the relationship between disarmament and development. Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the 17 SDGs provide a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
UNIDIR's work advances ideas and practical actions that contribute to the implementation of the SDGs. SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, justice and strong institutions recognizes that durable peace and lasting conditions for security are necessary for long-term development. Arms control advances progress towards achieving SDG 3 on good health and well-being, since armed violence is the leading cause of premature death and a key source of injuries, disability, psychological distress and disease. SDG 5 focuses on gender equality, and gender-responsive disarmament and arms control plays a role in eliminating violence against women and girls. UNIDIR’s work seeking solutions to urban violence contributes to SDG 11 on the safety, resilience and sustainability of cities and human settlements as well.
A recent UNIDIR briefing covered the link between disarmament and the Sustainable Development Goals.