United Nations Secretary-General's message, 26 September 201


United Nations Secretary-General's message on the
International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

delivered by Péricles Gasparini, Chief, UNODA at Vienna

26 September 2016

Director-General Amano,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be here with you today, and proud for having given the opportunity to read the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon’s message on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

And I quote,

“Nuclear disarmament is one of the founding principles of the United Nations. It was the objective of the first General Assembly resolution. Disarmament is in our DNA.

I have been proud to advance the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. In 2008, I launched a Five Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament to spur Member States to greater action. In the years since, I have done my utmost to convince States of the urgency of this task.

As we scan the global horizon, we face growing nuclear dangers. Progress in multilateral nuclear disarmament has come to a standstill.

Tens of billions of dollars have been pledged to maintain and upgrade nuclear weapon systems.

One country – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – has repeatedly defied the norm against nuclear testing and the will of the international community in the reckless pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

Sadly, many countries continue to include nuclear deterrence in their security doctrines. But recent developments have shown that nuclear weapons do not ensure peace and security. Rather, their development and possession has become a major source of international tension.

Meanwhile, we see growing divisions on the future of multilateral nuclear disarmament. The next review cycle of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons begins in 2017. The world cannot afford another round of inaction.

There are many paths to a world free of nuclear weapons. What matters is that all States act now, without delay, to fulfil their disarmament and non-proliferation commitments.

Let us pledge to work for the total elimination of nuclear weapons with urgency and a sense of collective purpose. Our very survival depends upon it.”

End of quote,

Besides what Member States can do for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, we can all contribute responding to this call made by the UN Secretary-General in our own ways:

  • UNODA, for its part, is engaged with Member States from NY, Geneva, Vienna and its three Regional Centres in the field (Lima, Lomé and Katmandu) assisting Member States working towards this goal
  • in Vienna, for example,
    • we launched a 28 entities partnership to develop training courses on disarmament, non-proliferation and development-related issues with the support of Austria, Canada, Germany, Finland and Spain
    • we invited a mix of global to regional organizations (including, e.g., CTBTO, IAEA, LAS, OPCW, OSCE and UNESCO), NGOs (NOG Committee for Peace) and academia (e.g., UN mandated University for Peace)
    • the first course will be organized next month at the League of Arab States Headquarters for the Middle East, in Ad Ababa for Africa, and in Bangkok for Asia and Pacific
    • a course for Latin America and the Caribbean will be organized in 2017
    • 140 women will be trained with full scholarship, thanks to the a contribution made available by Germany
  • We are looking for funds to offer 200 scholarships for the OSCE region in 2017
  • And a new series of courses may be made available in Vienna with VCDNP in 2017 to provide support to staff from Permanent Missions who need induction courses to the work of the organizations working on Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Development-related issues
  • Yes, we are investing on education, capacity-building of the current and next generations of diplomats, military, police, customs and officers, as well as scientist, journalists and others professions
  • We will provide them with better tools to understand the challenges and opportunities ahead of us to ensure the total elimination of nuclear weapons
  • we count on your support too

Thank you

Mr Pericles Gasparini Chief of UNODA Office in Vienna delivering UN Secretary General Speech

Participants attending the Non-Aligned Movement event on the International day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons