Annual Disarmament Report for 2021 adopted by the Cabinet
The Federal Government adopted the Annual Disarmament Report for 2021 at its Cabinet meeting today. The purpose of this report is to inform Parliament and the public of the guiding principles and priorities as well as key developments in the sphere of German disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control policy in 2021.
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine: Security and arms control architecture under fire
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine constitutes a watershed in security policy, which will also have a serious impact on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. In particular, the efforts to strengthen and renew the security and arms control architecture in Europe, which has been eroding for many years now, have suffered a grave setback. New approaches, for instance within the framework of the dialogue formats on nuclear arms control established between Russia and the United States last year, have stalled for the time being.
Germany is committed to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation
Although the international situation made it difficult to achieve progress in the sphere of arms control even in 2021, Germany continued its commitment to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation and – in close cooperation with like-minded partners – has worked hard to preserve and further develop multilateral regimes, to instigate new arms control policy rules and instruments and to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
One important milestone, the NPT Review Conference, which was actually due to take place in 2020, had to be postponed several times due to restrictions relating to COVID-19 and could not be held last year, either. To help ensure the success of this extremely important conference, the German Government was, among other things, engaged in intensive diplomacy, for example in the Stockholm Initiative, in the European Union and with its partners in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative. The aim of these efforts was to build political bridges, put forward proposals and explore approaches on which a consensus can be reached.
New technologies: A challenge for the arms control architecture
The Annual Disarmament Report for 2021 also highlights the fact that spheres of technological innovation, such as growing digitalisation and automation, the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems, hypersonic missile technology or new developments in biotechnology pose new challenges for the arms control architecture. In 2021, therefore, the German Government continued the initiative Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control, which provided impetus for international debate on these pressing issues.