UNIDIR was established by the General Assembly and its mandate is found in Article II, paragraph 2, of its Statute.
The work of the Institute shall aim at:
Providing the international community with more diversified and complete data on problems relating to international security, the armaments race and disarmament in all fields, particularly in the nuclear field, so as to facilitate progress, through negotiations, towards greater security for all States and towards the economic and social development of all peoples;
Promoting informed participation by all States in disarmament efforts;
Assisting ongoing negotiations on disarmament and continuing efforts to ensure greater international security at a progressively lower level of armaments, particularly nuclear armaments, by means of objective and factual studies and analyses;
Carrying out more in-depth, forward-looking and long-term research on disarmament, so as to provide a general insight into the problems involved, and stimulating new initiatives for new negotiations.
The United Nations Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters serves as the Board of Trustees of UNIDIR. The Board governs the activities and operations of the Institute, including financial matters. UNIDIR engages with the Board for substantive guidance and advice on a regular basis.
The members of the Board are chosen by the United Nations Secretary-General from all regions of the world for their knowledge and experience. The Secretary-General reports annually on the activities of the Board.
The Director of UNIDIR is appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to chart the strategic and tactical direction of UNIDIR. The Director is an ex oficio member of the Board of Trustees.
The Director reports annually to the Board on its work programme and financial plans. These reports are approved by and submitted to the General Assembly.
The General Assembly periodically considers UNIDIR. From time to time it has examined UNIDIR’s financial and operating status. The most recent time was in 2019.
UNIDIR provides regular briefings to Member States and interested stakeholders on its work. A recent briefing covered the link between disarmament and the Sustainable Development Goals.