UP Professor Heads
UN Advisory Body
lead disarmament, security board
By Gerry Lirio
MANILA, Philippines—Carolina Hernandez, professor
emeritus at the University of the Philippines, has been
named chair of the United Nations Advisory Board on Disarmament
Matters which advises the UN Secretary General on matters
involving global security, nuclear arms and energy.
Hernandez, who first joined the UN Advisory Board in
January 2006 at the invitation of former UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan, was informed of her appointment as
chair of the 20-member international advisory committee
in a letter dated Dec. 29, 2008, signed by Sergio Duarte,
UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
The 67-year-old Hernandez replaces Polish diplomat Adam
Daniel Rotfeld of the Polish Institute of International
Affairs. The other members of the international body are
diplomats and security experts from United States, United
Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, China, Israel,
Belgium, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
Hernandez is its first Filipino member and chair.
She will fly to the US next month to formally accept
the appointment and to preside over the body’s first
meeting for the year on Feb. 18 in New York.
“I feel honored, I am pleased, but at the same
time I feel some concerns that I can live up to their
expectations,” she told the Inquirer.
Most senior member
Rotfeld’s letter did not say how Hernandez came
to be chosen, but Hernandez theorized that she was probably
the most senior member of the body and because of her
performance on the board the last two years.
Hernandez was particularly excited about her new posting
under the leadership of current UN Secretary General Ban
She said that when the Korean diplomat succeeded Annan
in October 2006, he passed several major reforms regarding
peacekeeping and UN employment practices. Ban has also
taken particularly strong stands on global warming, pressing
the issue repeatedly with US President George W. Bush.
In Darfur, he helped persuade Sudanese President Omar
As Bashir to allow peacekeeping troops to enter Sudan.
In her first New York meeting as chair of the international
disarmament body in February, Hernandez is expected to
steer discussions on the continued use of nuclear energy
as a result of declining energy resources.
Nuclear energy debate
The board last August had a spirited exchange of views
on rising global demand for energy and its impact on international
and peace security. Some members had opposed the use of
nuclear energy, while others had proposed the peaceful
of the controversial energy source.
One board member said that as long as energy problems
persisted around the world, there would be a “nuclear
energy renaissance” not only in the Middle East,
but in other regions of the world.
Hernandez said it was a great learning experience and
a great opportunity and responsibility to help develop
“We have called the world’s attention to
issues linked to disarmament and non-proliferation of
arms beyond the weapons of mass destruction, biological
and chemical warfare, small and light weapons,”
Hernandez gained prominence when she helped investigate
the December 1989 coup attempt with the Davide Commission,
and later the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny as a member of
the Feliciano Commission.
She was designated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
in 2004 as a presidential adviser overseeing military
reforms. She quietly resigned after Ms Arroyo appointed
former national police chief Hermogenes Ebdane as secretary
of national defense, which was against the recommendation
of the Feliciano Commission in January 2007.
She is going to head the UN advisory body in her private
capacity, not as a representative of the Arroyo administration.