The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Occasional Papers is a series of ad hoc publications presenting, in edited form, papers or statements made at meetings, symposiums, seminars, workshops or lectures that deal with topical issues in the field of arms limitation, disarmament and international security. They are intended primarily for those concerned with these matters in Government, civil society and in the academic community. This paper provides historical background on the special sessions of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (1978, 1982 and 1988) and discusses efforts to convene a fourth special session. The Assembly has used these sessions to enable Member States to participate in the process of developing or strengthening global norms in disarmament. Complementing work done elsewhere in the multilateral disarmament machinery, the sessions enable consideration of how the various parts of the disarmament puzzle fit together in a coherent whole.