Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (5 February 2021) on the announcement of the appointment of Prof. Robin Geiss as Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR):
The appointment by Secretary-General Guterres of Prof. Robin Geiss as Director of UNIDIR is good news for everyone who cares about disarmament and arms control. Prof. Geiss is an expert with an excellent international reputation who will also help UNIDIR tackle the pressing future arms control issues we face. Germany has for many years been one of the major promoters of UNIDIR’s important work. We are already cooperating closely and successfully with UNIDIR, especially on developing arms control instruments for new technologies through the Federal Foreign Office’s initiative “Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control”
UNIDIR is the United Nations’ central research institute for disarmament, arms control and non‑proliferation. The focus of UNIDIR’s work is on policy-oriented, scientific research into all relevant aspects of this field, including nuclear issues, chemical weapons, biological weapons and small arms. With Federal Foreign Office support, a research focus on the military use of new technologies has been built up in recent years. UNIDIR is also well‑known for organising important specialist conferences and providing independent expert advice to the United Nations Security Council. In 2020, the Federal Foreign Office contributed more than 1 million euro in funding for the work of UNIDIR.
Prof. Robin Geiss earned his doctorate in law in 2001 at Kiel University and also holds an LLM in International Legal Studies from NYU School of Law. His professional experience includes working as a legal advisor for the International Committee of the Red Cross; he has held a number of professorships at various international universities, most recently at the School of Law of the University of Glasgow, where he served as Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security; furthermore, he has held the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.