United Nations General Assembly First Committee

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United Nations General Assembly First Committee
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HeadquartersNew York, United States
Ion Jinga
Parent organization
United Nations General Assembly
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The United Nations General Assembly First Committee (also known as the Disarmament and International Security Committee or DISEC) is one of six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It deals with disarmament and international security matters.

The First Committee meets every year in October for a 4–5 week session, after the General Assembly General Debate. All 193 member states of the UN can attend. It is the only Main Committee of the General Assembly entitled to verbatim records.


The work of the Committee falls under seven thematic clusters:[1]

  • Nuclear weapons
  • Other weapons of mass destruction
  • Outer space. (disarmament aspects)
  • Conventional weapons
  • Regional disarmament and security
  • Other disarmament measures and international security
  • Disarmament machinery

Working Methods[edit]

The work of the Committee usually begins in late September and ends by the end of October or early November. The work of the body is split into three stages: (1) general debate, (2) thematic discussions and (3) action on drafts.

During the first stage, the general debate, the Committee discusses its agenda items for around eight days. This period of debate is then followed by two weeks of thematic discussions on each of the seven clusters. During this stage, the body hears testimony from high-level officials in the field of arms control and disarmament. It also holds hearings in the form of interactive panel discussions with various representatives from disarmament entities. In the final stage, the body votes on any resolutions or decisions that it has drawn up during its session.[1]

Reporting Bodies[edit]

The Committee has two main bodies that report to it: the Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD).[1]

The Disarmament Commission meets yearly in New York for three weeks hosting both plenary meetings and working groups. The work of the Commission is usually divided between two working groups, with each group tackling one topic from the whole range of disarmament issues for that session, one of which must include nuclear disarmament. The Commission reports to the General Assembly via the First Committee at least once a year.[2]

While the Conference on Disarmament is not formally part of the United Nations machinery, it still reports to the General Assembly annually, or more frequently, as appropriate. Its budget is also included in that of the United Nations. The Conference meets in Geneva triannually and focuses on the following issues:[3]

  • Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament
  • Prevention of nuclear war
  • Prevention of an arms race in outer space
  • Effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
  • New types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons including radiological weapons
  • Comprehensive programme of disarmament and transparency in armaments

The Committee also hears reports from any expert groups established they establish.


The following make up the bureau of the First Committee for the 73rd Session of the General Assembly:[4][5]

Name Country Position
H.E. Mr. Ion Jinga  Romania Chairperson
Ms. Marissa Edwards  Guyana Vice-Chair
Mr. Noël Diarra  Mali Vice-Chair
Mr. José Ataíde Amaral  Portugal Vice-Chair
Ms. Muna Zawani Md Idris  Brunei Darussalam Rapporteur

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The GA Handbook: A Practical Guide to the United Nations General Assembly (PDF) (2nd ed.). New York: Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations. 2017. ISBN 978-0-615-49660-3.
  2. ^ "United Nations Disarmament Commission". United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  3. ^ "An Introduction to the Conference". United Nations Office at Geneva. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Bureau of the 73rd Session". General Assembly of the United Nations. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. ^ United Nations Handbook 2018–19 (PDF) (56th ed.). Wellington: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand. 2018. ISSN 0110-1951.