Arms control aims to limit the number of weapons and to regulate their use by virtue of bilateral or multilateral agreements or arrangements. Disarmament, on the other hand, aims at the elimination of entire weapon system categories. The spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) poses a serious threat to international security.
Throughout history, countries have pursued disarmament to build a safer, more secure world and to protect people from harm. Weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, continue to be of primary concern, owing to their destructive power and the threat that they pose to humanity. The excessive accumulation and illicit trade in conventional weapons jeopardize international peace and security and sustainable development, while the use of heavy conventional weapons in populated areas is seriously endangering civilians. New and emerging weapon technologies, such as autonomous weapons, imperil global security and have received increased attention from the international community in recent years.
Measures for disarmament are pursued for many reasons, including maintaining international peace and security, uphold the principles of humanity, protect civilians, promote sustainable development, foster confidence and trust among States, and prevent and end armed conflict. Disarmament and arms control measures help ensure international and human security in the 21st Century and therefore must be an integral part of a credible and effective collective security system.
Under the joint project concerning the implementation of Resolution 1540, efforts have been made to promote interaction between states offering and in need of assistance. The aim is to identify the shortcomings that make states vulnerable to the proliferation of WMDs and to find appropriate solutions. Addressing problems common to the developing countries also helps improve these countries’ capacity to prevent the proliferation of WMDs.