On Monday January 23, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced his commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Speaking by video message to the opening of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, Mr Guterres said: “As Secretary-General, I am firmly resolved to actively pursue the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction and the strict regulation of conventional weapons. I am committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The Conference on Disarmament, established by the United Nations as the principle negotiating body for multilateral nuclear disarmament agreements, meets from 23 January – 31 March, 15 May – 30 June 2017 and 31 July – 15 September 2017 to consider a range of disarmament proposals.
One of these is a request by the UN General Assembly for the CD to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention – a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons – and to review progress on this at a UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to be held no later than 2018.
‘Disarmament is an integral element of a peaceful and prosperous world. It is one of the pillars on which the United Nations was built‘, Mr Guterres told the Conference on Disarmament. ‘Disarmament can play an important role in ending existing conflicts and preventing the outbreak of new strife. Disarmament and arms control processes provide the breathing space for confidence to be built, stability to be strengthened and trust to be established. This was true during the Cold War and it is true now.
‘The need for a breathing space is urgent. Global tensions are rising, sabres have been rattled and dangerous words spoken about the use of nuclear weapons. The world looks to you, as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body, to provide rationality and diplomatic solutions, to promote security through peaceful action, and to create the instruments we need to develop confidence, trust and international stability. You have a responsibility to all States and all peoples. Now is the time to live up to it.’
UNFOLD ZERO marked the opening of the Conference of Disarmament on Jan 23 with a public action in the Place de Nations just outside the UN in Geneva.
The action included a 3D art depiction of a nuclear missile about to be fired, with symbolic chains to hold it back. Public were invited to hold or stand on the chains to ‘prevent’ the nuclear missile firing.
The action highlighted the risks from the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons, many of which remain on high alert, ready to be fired within minutes. The UNFOLD ZERO action called on public to support United Nations initiatives to abolish nuclear weapons.
Click here for photos of 3DnukeGeneva.
Civil society and parliamentary support for UN and nuclear abolition
On January 24, UNFOLD ZERO and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament hosted a consultation on UN nuclear disarmament initiatives with international non-governmental organisations based in Geneva.
The event was part of a series of consultations in Vienna, Washington DC, New York, London and other centres to build civil society cooperation and parliamentary action for a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The consultation in Geneva was timed to coincide with the opening of the Conference on Disarmament and the anniversary of the very first resolution of the United Nations, which calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.