Pace University Expert on Disarmament Addresses United Nations General Assembly First Committee

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On behalf of global civil society organizations, political science professor and faculty advisor to the Pace Model UN program, calls for disarmament and arms control “driven by the needs and rights of people most affected by armed violence.”

Photos by Shant Alexander for Control Arms.

“Now is not the time for resting on laurels.”

A Pace University New York City political science professor and faculty advisor to the Pace Model UN program, Matthew Bolton, PhD, addressed the United Nations General Assembly First Committee, on behalf of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on disarmament, peace building and humanitarian issues.

“We call for an approach to disarmament that is driven by the needs and rights of people most affected by armed violence, not by the discretion of states and organizations most responsible for it,” said Bolton to representatives of the 193 UN member states, as well as UN agencies and NGOs. The First Committee has responsibility for disarmament and international security.

The NGO statement, endorsed by 11 organizations, congratulated states on “some noteworthy progress” in recent international discussions on the elimination of nuclear weapons, the recent Security Council resolution on small arms and light weapons as well as the Arms Trade Treaty, signed by over 100 states since June.

Members of the Pace University community played an important role in the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations in July 2012 and March 2013. Bolton was an advisor to Control Arms, the civil society coalition advocating for a “bulletproof treaty” and numerous students interned or worked with the campaign.

Despite these developments in global policy-making on controlling weapons, however, Bolton asserted that “now is not the time for resting on laurels.” The NGO statement identified numerous concerns, including the abuse of the consensus rule in disarmament forums, exclusion of meaningful civil society participation, lack of equal opportunities for women in decision-making and the marginalization of the voices of victims and survivors of armed violence.

“Creativity and new human-centered approaches must be a requirement for all states advocating nuclear disarmament, conventional arms control and reduced military expenditure,” said Bolton, reading the NGO statement. “We can and must replace stalemate and watered-down outcomes with alternatives that advance human security and social and economic justice.”

In addition to teaching classes on international politics, Bolton also leads Pace University’s New York Model United Nations program. Last weekend – 25-27 October – 25 Pace students participated in the National Model United Nations conference in Washington DC, representing Argentina, Denmark and Kenya in simulations of the First Committee and other UN decision-making bodies.

Pace was recognized by the conference with four awards, for students’ excellent diplomatic skills, public speaking abilities and political savvy. Given their success, Bolton asked his students for their advice on how to deliver his statement at the actual United Nations. “They were happy to oblige,” said Bolton.

Bolton is an expert on global disarmament policy. He is author of Foreign Aid and Landmine Clearance: Governance, Politics and Security in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan (I.B. Tauris, 2010) and a forthcoming travelogue Political Minefields (I.B. Tauris, 2014). He has written widely on the politics of landmines, cluster munitions, the Arms Trade Treaty and fully autonomous military robotics (“killer robots”). His recent lecture on the politics of landmines and military robotics is available on the Pace University’s iTunes U account.

Located only two express subway stops from the iconic United Nations complex on the East River, Pace University’s scholars actively engage with global policymaking debates. This June, Pace hosted an expert symposium on Robotic Weapons Control, and the university has partnered with the UN Commission on the Status of Women to create workshops on global policies that affect women and girls.
Pace University has a 60-year history of excellence in regional, national and international Model United Nations conferences and encourages its students to develop the skills and capacities needed to thrive as global citizens. Drawing students from around the world, Pace has numerous academic programs related to international affairs, including political science, peace and justice studies, global Asia studies, international management, Latin American studies, modern languages and cultures, women’s and gender studies and environmental studies.

Matthew Bolton, PhD
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
Pace University
1 Pace Plaza
New York, NY 10038
+1 (212) 346 1828

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