Walsh School of Foreign Service

Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 as the international community’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. The CD and its predecessors have negotiated a number of major multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. However, in recent years, the CD has been unable to make progress against its own schedule as a great debate over what to prioritize – counter-proliferation or disarmament – has divided its 65 members. This has led to new efforts to revitalize the CD so that it can move forward with its disarmament agenda.

Unfortunately, the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are not CD members and thus not directly represented within these debates. Nevertheless, the PICs retain important national security interests in the outcome of the CD proceedings. Human security in the Pacific Islands is clearly tied to the mitigation of global high-end security threats, including those posed by emerging Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Robotics, and Information and Communications (NBRIC) technologies and more traditional Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons. For this reason, it is important for PICs to possess the diplomatic capacity required to assess whether developments within the CD advance or impede their national security interests and intervene in international discourse on counter-proliferation and disarmament issues when necessary.

The Federation of American Scientists and the Pacific Islands Society recognize that young experts in foreign policy play a key role in PIC engagement on counter-proliferation and disarmament issues. The two organizations have therefore partnered to launch the “Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project” to provide these young experts in foreign policy with an international forum to voice their ideas. Specifically, Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament have been asked to draft a hypothetical statement from their country to the Conference on Disarmament that advances their country’s national security interests against the CD schedule. The Federation for American Scientists will then post these statements on the FAS Strategic Security Blog. At the conclusion of the project, the statements will be bound and the full collection will be delivered to the Conference on Disarmament.

The “Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project” is currently accepting applicants from the following PIC member states Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu as well as French Polynesia, New Caledonia, American Samoa, Tokelau, Guam, Timor-Leste, Wallis and Futuna, Hawai`i, and the Northern Mariana Islands. To put forth an application for consideration, please email your resume, statement of interest, and a draft “Statement to the Conference on Disarmament” to ewalsh@fas.org. The draft statement should be similar in length and substance to those regularly provided to the CD by member states.