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John Duncan » Special Representative to the London Conference on Cyberspace, London

A farewell to Disarmament and Arms Control

Tomorrow I will take my leave of Geneva and the post of UK Ambassador for Arms Control and Disarmament. I will not attempt to imitate some of my illustrious predecessors "Parting Shots" now captured for posterity in Mathew Paris’ BBC series and book. But those of you who have followed my contributions on this blog and on Twitter might welcome some final reflections on the past five years and how we … Read more »A farewell to Disarmament and Arms Control

Diplomacy and Negotiation: Required reading?

This week the Conference On Disarmament reconvened under a new Secretary General Kassym-Jomart Tokayev from Kazakhstan, but until now there has been little sign that the CD is about to break out of the deadlock that has prevented the start of negotiations of a new treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, or FMCT as it is known. This is not to say that breakout is … Read more »Diplomacy and Negotiation: Required reading?

Government 2.0 – The challenge of Social Media in Modern Diplomacy

Earlier this year I travelled to Los Angeles for a meeting on Government 2.0 and to give my perspective on how modern diplomacy has been affected by the advent of Social media such as FaceBook, Twitterand the blogging phenomena. All this was several weeks before the so called Arab Spring, which has only served to underline the importance of these new means of communication. The sheer power of the internet … Read more »Government 2.0 – The challenge of Social Media in Modern Diplomacy

Regulating the Arms Trade: A conversation with Civil Society

Last month I returned to the United Nations in New York for the resumption of the negotiations on the new Arms Trade Treaty In my monthly Podcast I discuss the ATT project with members of Civil Society. I hope you will find it an interesting exchange between two very different perspectives – the sporting and hunting to fraternity and the leading NGOs arguing for the ATT. You can download the … Read more »Regulating the Arms Trade: A conversation with Civil Society

Looking forward to the next round on the Arms Trade Treaty

In just under two weeks time the United Nations arms control community will reconvene in New York to commence this year’s work on the New Arms Trade Treaty. This will involve detailed, but essential work on what the new treaty should actually say, as we prepare for next year’s Diplomatic Conference on the ATT.  In the UK there has been an increased level of interest in the ATT, both amongst … Read more »Looking forward to the next round on the Arms Trade Treaty

Back to Arms Control and Disarmament

December and January are usually the  quiet months in the field of Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. A time to take stock and reflect on the year ahead. 2010 was overall a better year with a number of signs that we are emerging from a decade of deadlock. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen that I launched a new Podcast in early January in which … Read more »Back to Arms Control and Disarmament

Regulating the Arms Trade: The throne of weapons

Like so many others I have spent much of the last few days blocked by the bad weather that has hit Western Europe. The wonders of modern technology mean one is rarely completely out of touch with the office, but after you’ve dealt with all the emails on the BlackBerry and the iPhone, I find that catching up with my podcasts is the best antidote to the "Hurry up and … Read more »Regulating the Arms Trade: The throne of weapons

Remembrance Sunday: A personal reflection on a Celtic corner on the Somme

Feature image for:  Remembrance Sunday: A personal reflection on a Celtic corner on the Somme

The Battle of the Somme in 1916, remembered as one the bloodiest of the First World War, is less rarely thought of as a place where the Celtic nations of Britain and France once fought alongside each other together. Given last week’s announcement of greater Anglo French Defence Co-operation, I thought I would share this long forgotten episode with my readers. Visitors to the Somme Battlefields will usually call at … Read more »Remembrance Sunday: A personal reflection on a Celtic corner on the Somme

The Oslo Treaty: Looking back on the negotiations

Feature image for:  The Oslo Treaty: Looking back on the negotiations

This week the Oslo Treaty banning Cluster Munitions came into force in the UK. Next week the States who have signed this new Treaty will gather in Laos, one of the countries worst affected by these weapons and their deadly legacy of unexploded bombs. As the chief British negotiator for this treaty it is a moment to reflect. In my experience it is quite rare to be allowed to see … Read more »The Oslo Treaty: Looking back on the negotiations

Leaving New York

Tonight I return to Geneva after almost exactly a month In New York covering the UN General Assembly High Level (i.e. ministerial) Meeting (HLM) on Disarmament and then the UNGA First Committee. I leave behind some members of my team for the formal voting, but my job is essentially done. Few of the draft resolutions will change much now and the UK position have been agreed with our ministers. So … Read more »Leaving New York