How does the DISEC work? by Selenay TÜFEKÇİOĞLU

Disarmament and International Security (First Committee)

History of DISEC

To prevent such great damage again after the Second World War, the international community has decided to establish a stable structure for peace to solve such conflicts with words before using weapons. This structure started to be formed in 1945 with the Yalta conference. The organs in the structure are divided into six to make organizations work more comprehensively in their fields. Of these, the first committee is working on the elimination of conventional weapons as well as threats to global security and mass destruction weapons. The second committee that deals with economic development and international trade, including reducing barriers to trade, so that developing countries use their full potential. The third committee works on the Universal Declaration of Social Welfare and Human Rights, international conventions, and absolute protection of the Geneva Conventions. While the fourth committee focuses on peacekeeping of high-profile affiliates such as the United Nations Relief and Labor Agency, the fifth and sixth committees are dealing with budget and legal issues, deciding whether they are financially and legally applicable by the General Assembly (History of the General Assembly First Committee).

Wide view of the Hall
General Assembly Seventy-second session, 93rd plenary meeting
Election of five non-permanent members of the Security Council

The First Committee of the 1946 General Assembly, established as a result of atomic bombs dropped on Japan, focused on the agenda of political and security issues. During the cold war, the first committee, which was the subject of discussion between superpowers, focused on balancing the armament between communism and Capitalism.
By 2011, the first committee also decided on combating desertification and controlling the prevention of noncommunicable diseases. By 2013, it adopted a decision requesting a meeting on nuclear disarmament to eliminate the danger of nuclear war (Disarmament and International Security – First Committee)

What is the aim of the DISEC:

“The Disarmament and International Security Committee” was first created in the United Nations Charter, under Chapter IV, with intentions of advocating, debating, and solving matters of international disarmament and security. So it can discuss a wide variety of world issues. Out of six General Assembly committees, DISEC is also known as the First Committee in the United Nations. DISEC, the First Committee of the General Assembly, is one of the most popular GA-style committees in Model United Nations. Other committees are Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) committee, the Economics and Financial (ECOFIN) committee, the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (SOCHUM) committee, the Special Political and Decolonization (SPECPOL) committee, the Administrative and Budgetary Committee, and the Legal Committee. Under the United Nation’s Charter Article 9, all 193 UN members are automatically eligible as representatives in DISEC’s body and have an equal vote.” (Kbonn, 2015)

DISEC deals with topics that center around disarmament, global issues, and threats to peace that jeopardize international security. Under Article 11 of Chapter IV of the UN Charter, “The General Assembly may consider the general principles of co-operation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armament.” While DISEC works to prevent the spread of armament, it is also concerned with ensuring global peace and sustaining global peace (Main Committees).

It should be noted that DISEC can not enforce states’ actions, sanctions, and armed struggles. It can only suggest all these actions to the Security council.

“In light of the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first resolution by DISEC was created in 1946 to address international concerns for the “Establishment of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy.”

74th session of GA (DISEC)

H.E. Sacha Llorenty Soliz    Bolivia (Plurinational State of)      Chairperson
Honorine Bonkoungou        Burkina Faso                                      Vice-Chair
Amal Mudallali                      Lebanon                                              Vice-Chair
Peter Horne                            Australia                                             Vice-Chair
Szilvia Balázs                          Hungary                                              Rapporteur


H.E. Sacha Llorenty Soliz Bolivia (Plurinational State of)   Chairperson

DISEC Working Mechanism 

DISEC’s working method can be described by 3 main sections.

  1. General Debate
  2. Thematic Discussion
  3. Action on Drafts

Stage 1

The agenda item is discussed in approximately 7 or 8 days.

Stage 2

The Thematic Discussion may take about 2 weeks. In this part debates are intense and high-level officials may contribute to the debates

Stage 3

The last stage is the voting stage. In the final stage, decisions are taken.

What should not the delegates forget:

In general, the establishment and issues such as cybersecurity and war, the spread of nuclear weapons, illegal weapons and drug trafficking are discussed in the DISEC committee. Delegates should not forget that DISEC is the first step of the security council and should not only focus solely on the solution. They should also seek a solution to the problems by remembering the political dynamics of the security council and P5 veto (CHAPTER IV: THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY)

In Model United Nations,

the DISEC committee is highly preferred by the first-timers around the world. If you are a first-timer, you should experience one of the GA committees in order to develop your MUN skills and learn more about the rules of procedure. If you are organizing an MUN, you should definitely give place to the DISEC committee as it is highly possible to host fruitful debates for first-timers and experienced delegates.

Before attending a DISEC committee, do not forget the visit the official UN DISEC Page


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