Explanatory Memorandum

GCD is an obligation under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) (NPT) and has been the subject of UN policy since the its early days. There is an unrealised commitment to hold a 4th Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Disarmament.

SCRAP suggests using proven agreements as a basis for GCD, a priority for the international community reiterated recently by the UN Secretary-General in his Securing Our Common Future Disarmament Agenda.

GCD can ease the humanitarian concerns many states have about a range of weapons, including the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. GCD has long been a goal of the developing world to prevent humanitarian disasters and to boost sustainable development through disarmament and development.

SCRAP’s focus on a rapid and holistic approach is designed to demonstrate its practicality and to help change the paradigm from a fragmentary and step-by-step approach to one that offers a highly challenging and yet demonstrably practical message to vested interests. Rather than focusing on the trade of weapons, SCRAP emphasizes the humanitarian concerns of deployment, possession and production.

SCRAP’s proposal emphasises the need to focus not only on weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but also on conventional weapons and on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs), the SCRAP proposal can help bypass real and diplomatic obstacles to nuclear disarmament. Many countries that seek or possess nuclear weapons have regional security concerns around conventional weapons threats, for example Israel, Pakistan, China and Russia. Ignoring this dimension damages the credibility of nuclear only disarmament campaigns. By showing that conventional disarmament is practical, we hope to show that introducing it into the disarmament debate is not just another roadblock to nuclear disarmament.

With respect to nuclear and WMDs, it is clear we need to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. SCRAP uses the UN-authorised regime imposed on Iraq, the world’s most effective, proven and comprehensive mechanism for WMD disarmament, and suggests the international community impose it on itself. Not withstanding the highly politically controversial nature of the inspection regime, and the war, the inspection system itself worked. It can be used as a foundation for global application.

There are latent and converging interests in addressing major conventional weapons holdings and proliferation, as well as WMD and there is much to be gained by developing conventional and WMD control and elimination strategies in a mutually reinforcing manner. Globally, the core constituency actively pursuing nuclear and WMD non-proliferation and disarmament can usefully combine with the broader coalitions interested in controlling conventional armaments in the context of weak states and poor levels of development. Zero WMD in the world can be accomplished through a climate of confidence and controls on conventional armaments and new technologies.

The nuclear weapons states talk about the need to create the conditions for zero nuclear weapons but have no concrete plan to that end. SCRAP presents them with one.

How can you become involved in SCRAP?

SCRAP proposes timetables and a draft treaty for consideration at the United Nations General Assembly, which takes place in September every year. Support our efforts to have SCRAP introduced at the UN General Assembly by sending a letter of support to your government.

If you are a SOAS student interested in working for SCRAP, please fill in this form here