Political Division is responsible for advancing Ireland’s policy on disarmament and non-proliferation, which advocates the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the prevention of further proliferation of nuclear weapons capability, a complete ban on the use of cluster munitions, greater controls on the trade in small arms and light weapons and the implementation and strengthening of treaties banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of chemical and biological weapons. Disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons have historically been key foreign policy objectives for Ireland, which was the first State to both sign and ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ireland continues to play a key role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime some 40 years after ratification. We fielded a strong team at the 2010 NPT Review Conference in New York where, along with our partners in the New Agenda Coalition and in the Vienna Group of Ten, we were centrally involved in the negotiations leading to the adoption by consensus of the Conference Final Document. The Head of Delegation, Alison Kelly, chaired delicate negotiations on the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution which calls for an “effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems”. Although the resolution was adopted in 1995, no progress had been made in its implementation. Under Ireland’s stewardship, an agreement was reached setting out practical steps to this end, including a conference in 2012 and appointment of a facilitator to support implementation of the resolution.
Political Division also led Ireland’s efforts to bring an end to the humanitarian suffering caused by the use of cluster munitions. Our efforts bore fruit in May 2008 when Ireland hosted and chaired the Dublin Diplomatic Conference in Croke Park at which the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) was negotiated and adopted by consensus.. The Convention is an immediate and unconditional ban on all cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians and is a major achievement in Irish foreign policy. The Convention opened for signature at a ceremony in Oslo in December 2008, where Ireland, as a demonstration of our firm commitment, and following enactment of the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act 2008, both signed and ratified. In February 2010 the CCM reached its thirtieth State ratification, which triggered the entry into force of the CCM on 1 August 2010. The first Meeting of States Parties will take place in November 2010 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Ireland is assisting in preparations for that meeting and is active in promoting the universalisation of the Convention.
The work of the Division is supported by Irish Missions accredited to a number of international organisations – our missions to the UN in Geneva and New York, our Embassies in Vienna (International Atomic Energy Agency), The Hague (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and Paris (export control regimes). The Division also works closely with a number of Government Departments, in particular the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation, which has responsibility for licensing exports of military goods and dual-use goods from Ireland, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, which has responsibility for nuclear safety, and, together with the Department’s Legal Division, with the Department of Defence in relation to international humanitarian law developments. It chairs the Interdepartmental Committee on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which brings together all Government Departments and Agencies with responsibilities in that area and is represented on the National Committee on International Humanitarian Law, which is chaired by the Department’s Legal Division.
At EU level the Division is also responsible for Ireland’s input into the development of the Union’s policy on global disarmament and non-proliferation.
Disclaimer: The following is a list of some useful websites in the field of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. As per the disclaimer at http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=8801 the Department of Foreign Affairs assumes no responsibility for the content of external internet sites.
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Websites:
Anti Personnel Mine Ban Convention
Arms Control Association
Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)
Cluster Munition Coalition
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO)
Convention on certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)
International Action Network on Small Arms
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
International Small Arms Control Standards
International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
Middle Powers Initiative
Mines Advisory Group
Monterey Nonproliferation Strategy Group
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Partnership for Peace
Reaching Critical Will
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations First Committee
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons
United Nations Volunteers