High Representative Angela Kane reports on disarmament progress in 2013

United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said on Wednesday that 2013 was full of activity for disarmament, with progress of the Arms Trade Treaty a "fantastic achievement."


Kane said the Arms Trade Treaty needs 50 ratifications to take effect. She said that if the ratifications do not happen by the end of 2014, it will happen in 2015.


"When you look at the fact that all the other items in the world are regulated by trade regulations - it can be clothes, it can be fruit, it can be bananas, tomatoes, you name it - arms exports, arms imports have never been regulated before," Kane said. "So in effect, it isn't really a disarmament regulation per se, but a trade regulation."


She said that arms trade has expanded in recent years, and stands at $85 billion annually.


"It is both a trade regulation and it will also contribute to transparency, tremendous transparency in the arms trade, meaning there are no more shady deals being made by arms brokers," Kane said.


She said another significant development during the year was the disarmament of chemical weapons in Syria. After Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. began working with Syria to destroy chemical weapons stores.


"I think that there has been a tremendous and very constructive cooperation," Kane said. "It's absolutely unprecedented. It was brokered, let's not forget by the United States and the Russian Federation and it was very much a surprise, I think to all of us, how quickly it went.


Kane said more work needs to be done in nuclear disarmament.


"There's an increasing urgency on the part of those countries that do not have nuclear weapons to say to the nuclear weapons powers: You need to disarm, you need to fulfill your side of the bargain," Kane said. "Having a high-level meeting with many ministers underlined the fact that more needs to happen."


Kane was elected to be high representative in March 2012. The Office of Disarmament Affairs promotes nuclear and weapons of mass destruction disarmament and non-proliferation. It also promotes disarmament of conventional weapons, such as small arms.