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Model United Nations
DISEC (Disarmament and International Security)
A Background

Multilateralism in the Field of Non-Proliferation

The ideas of multilateralism as pertaining to the non-proliferation of nuclear capable weapons, light weapons, small arms weapons, etc. has been the topic of diplomatic discussions throughout the Twenty and Twenty-First centuries. Unfortunately not much of the discussions have lead to substantial disarmaments and furthermore the non-proliferation of the current weapons to other nations or NGOs (i.e. The Taliban) either as trade or potentially as a sponsorship has neither ceased nor slowed. Currently the International neighborhood is under tremendous stress with many nations threatening the production of more nuclear capable weapons, and the ability of terrorist NGOs to get a hold of some of these weapons is of unparalleled concern. Many things should be considered when approaching these issues, including the history, the pitfalls of previous plans, the need for a mutual consensus of nations on disarmament, and how nations that are incompliant should be addressed.

A History of Disarmament

Disarmament has been an issue in the international field since the end of World War I, and has had limited progress in the ways of a total arms recession or even much advancement in any substantial arms reduction. Disarmament means by definition, reduction of arms. From 1932 to 1934, a disarmament convention was held in Geneva with no agreement reached. Following World War II the United Nations established committees on disarmament and in 1952 formed a Disarmament Commission. Talks were held from 1955 to 1957 on banning nuclear weapons. From the 1960s there was some limited success, including the nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963 (which was redrawn in 1996 by the U.N. as the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty) and the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty of 1968. In the 1970s, as a result of the policy of détente between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, more treaties were signed, limiting the increase of nuclear weapons and are as follows: the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty (1972) the First Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (1972), the Second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (1979), the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987), the First Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (1991) and the Second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (1993). However, these treaties did nothing to alleviate the continuing danger of nuclear proliferation.


The Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons of 1968 was originally signed by 115 nations and now has 140 signatures. However, India , Pakistan , and Israel , all states with nuclear capability, have not signed the treaty. India and Pakistan both conducted tests of their nuclear weapons in 1998, causing new fears of nuclear war. Also, since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 there have been several incidents in which materials used to make nuclear weapons have been smuggled out of Russia and into Europe , leading to new concerns about proliferation, and the lack of multilateralism in the face of non-proliferation.

The problems of non-proliferation have been in existence since the end of World War I with the realization of the vast destructive forces of new weapons of technology. There are many potential goals set out by the United Nations to approach these weapons and their uses, and there are many other unseen ways to approach this issue. The bottom line however is that the lack of multilateralism in the face of nuclear proliferation is a major problem internationally and needs to be conquered as a dividing point among nations.

For Further Information:

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DISEC vice Chair

Dan Crisp


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