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Transparency and military confidence-building in the United Nations

UN Database on Confidence-building Measures

UN General Assembly Resolution 69/64 of 2004 emphasises the significance of confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the field of disarmament and conventional arms control and recognises their contribution to peace and security. In many cases CBMs have created the necessary trust and transparency for important disarmament and arms control initiatives.To provide information on corresponding measures the UN Secretary-General has set up an electronic database, including the current German contribution, which can be found using the following link:

UNODA Database on Confidence-building Measures

UN Register of Conventional Arms

Since 1992 the Register, established under Resolution 46/36 L of 6 December 1991, has listed information on imports and exports of conventional major weapons systems, which UN member states provide by 31 May for the previous calendar year. The purpose of the Register is to increase confidence-building through greater transparency in the field of conventional arms, thus preventing the excessive and destabilising accumulation of weapons.

Imports and exports of the following weapons categories must be reported:

  • battle tanks,
  • armoured combat vehicles,
  • large-bore artillery pieces,
  • combat aircraft,
  • attack helicopters,
  • warships and
  • rockets and rocket launchers

In 2013, government experts proposed in their report that unmanned armed drones be included as a sub‑category in Categories IV and V. The member states are also called upon to voluntarily provide data on national weapons stockpiles and on procurement from national production in these seven categories, as well as giving information on their policy guidelines, legislation and administrative procedures for arms imports and exports. Since 2003 states can also report on imports and exports of small arms and light weapons (SALW). The aim of the German Government is to create a separate Category VIII, analogous to the provisions in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The German reports can be accessed here:

UN Register of Conventional Arms

The UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures (MilEx)

The basis of MilEx is Resolution 35/142 B of 12 December 1980. The member states are encouraged to submit, by 30 April, a standardised reporting form on the previous year’s actual military expenditure. MilEx is designed to increase confidence-building and thus promote the reduction of military spending.

At the initiative of Germany and Romania, a UN commission of governmental experts was established in November 2010 to review MilEx, which has remained almost unchanged since its introduction, and to draw up proposals for improving it. The aim is to strengthen this instrument’s effectiveness as a CBM against the background of the global rise in military expenditure and to reverse the decline in participation in MilEx. The results and recommendations of the commission were submitted in a final report to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in October 2011 and were adopted by the General Assembly on 2 December 2011 in Resolution 66/20, which was co‑sponsored by Germany and Romania.
The German reports on the UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures (MilEx) can be accessed here:

UN Register of Conventional Arms

Final report of the commission of governmental experts

UN‑Resolution 70/21 (“Objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures”) of 11 December 2015


Last updated 16.08.2016

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