Capable of dealing apocalyptic damage to civilian targets and thus civilization as a whole, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have always been at the epicenter of the First Committee’s agenda. In the first resolution of the Commission for Conventional Arma ments, adopted in 1948, the WMD was defined to include “atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above.”2 As the discussion on the disarmament of known WMD, such as the nuclear bombs, has never been halted, the terrifying power of such weapons has prompted member states to gradually commence the explorations into the means to prevent the birth of their yet unknown future variants. Henceforth, there have been two tracks in dealing with the issue: one that seeks to identify the possible new WMDs and thereby formulate specific agreements on the prevention of them, and the other that introduces a more general prohibition approach which expects a mechanism to inhibit states from developing new types of WMDs in the first place.
This topic was once marginalized by the international community as the world became seemingly more peaceful and thus less likely to witness a new type of WMD after the Cold War, but recent escalations in regional and global tension have brought this issue back to where it was.
Should the delegates choose to address this challenge with the specific agreement approach, a detailed list of possible future WMDs is expected to be made, followed by relevant arrangements to prevent them. Otherwise, a comprehensive general prohibition mechanism is expected to be formulated based on common consensus and multilateral cooperation.