Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to DISEC

The United Nations General Assembly First Committee (also known as the Disarmament and International Security Committee or DISEC) is one of the six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It deals with disarmament and international security matters.

The First Committee meets each year in October for a 4-5 week session. Each of the 193 members of the UN can visit. It is the only Main Committee of the General Assembly qualified for verbatim records.

Committee History and Purview

In 1945, when the United Nations was founded, DISEC was created as one of the six main committees of the UN General Assembly. Until 1978 it was known as the Political and Security Committee (POLISEC), however it was then changed to the DISEC, as it became clear that a single committee would be overwhelmed by the range of topics.

It was then decided that the board of trustees should concentrate on demilitarisation. In the seasons of the Cold War, DISEC quickly became the most important platform for discussions on disarmament, alongside the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament. Brought about by the worldwide political circumstance in those years, demilitarization, particularly concerning atomic weapons, was very questionable, and mostly discussed by the nuclear powers. DISEC offered a platform where the non-nuclear states were included into the debates on the matter.

The General Assembly (GA) was set up under Chapter IV of the United Nations (UN) Charter. Since the General Assembly is the fundamental organ of the United Nations and has representation from each UN part states, it can examine a wide assortment of world issues. Because of the broad range of subjects talked about by the UN, the General Assembly is comprised of six unique councils. These boards of trustees are the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) panel, the Economics and Financial (ECOFIN) council, the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (SOCHUM) advisory group, the Special Political and Decolonization (SPECPOL) the Administrative and Budgetary committee, and the Legal committee. 

DISEC, the First Committee of the General Assembly, is a standout amongst the most prominent GA-style boards in Model United Nations.

In light of the occasions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first resolution by DISEC was made in 1946 to address universal worries for the “Foundation of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy.”

DISEC manages subjects that center around disarmament, global issues, and threats to peace that jeopardise 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”

The Committee contains all member nations of the United Nations, and despite the fact that its mandate is restricted to proposals, it has turned out to be a standout amongst the bodies in the United Nations, as its resolutions deal with some of the most complex topics in the international community. The Committee works in close cooperation with the United Nations Disarmament Commission and the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament. It is the only Main Committee of the General Assembly entitled to verbatim records coverage


The work of the Committee falls under seven thematic clusters:

  • Nuclear weapons
  • Other weapons of mass destruction
  • Outer space (disarmament aspects)
  • Conventional weapons
  • Regional disarmament and security
  • Other disarmament measures and international security
  • Disarmament machinery

Working Methods

Work of the Committee generally starts in late September and finishes before the end of October or early November. Crafted by the body is part into three phases:

  • General Discussion
  • Topical Talks
  • Activity on Drafts

Amid the primary stage, the general debate, the Committee examines its plan things for around eight days. This time of discussion is then followed by about fourteen days of thematic talks on every one of the seven clusters. During this stage, the body hears testimony from high-level officials in the field of arms control and disarmament. It also holds hearings in the form of interactive panel discussions with various representatives from disarmament entities. In the last stage, the body votes on any resolutions or decisions that it has drawn up during its session.

Reporting Bodies

The Committee has two principle bodies that answer to it: the Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

The Disarmament Commission meets yearly in New York for three weeks hosting both plenary meetings and working groups. The work of the Commission is usually divided between two working groups, with each group tackling one topic from the whole range of disarmament issues for that session, one of which must include nuclear disarmament. The Commission reports to the General Assembly via the First Committee at least once a year.

While the CD isn’t formally part of the United Nations machinery, regardless it reports to the General Assembly every year, or more regularly, as appropriate. Its financial plan is likewise incorporated into that of the United Nations. The Conference meets in Geneva triannually and centers around the following issues:

  • Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament
  • Prevention of nuclear war
  • Prevention of an arms race in outer space
  • Effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
  • New types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons including radiological weapons
  • Comprehensive programme of disarmament and transparency in armaments

Common Themes and Objectives

As should be expected, the points are brought together by their arms-and security-related topics. The following broad topical themes encompass a large majority of the topics listed above:

  • National, Regional, and Global Security
  • Biological, Chemical, Technological, and Nuclear Weapons
  • Arms Trade

Key consideration while investigating the subjects above:

  • National capabilities and limitations
  • Mitigation of conflict
  • Oversight and monitoring mechanisms

Because of the nature of these topics, delegate research and resolution writing must be very detailed in nature and focus on the operationalization of ideas. Additionally, because of the divisive nature of many of the themes listed above, the most effective ideas and delegates will be inclusive and focus on international cooperation. 

— Aditya Behere (TYBBA G005)

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