UN Secretary-General reminds world of priority for Disarmament

On May 24, the International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres released a video message highlighting the importance of disarmament, in particular nuclear disarmament.

Today the global security environment is threatened from many sides‘ said Mr Guterres. ‘Regional nuclear challenges persist. And tensions between nuclear armed rivals have intensified.’

Countries continue to prepare for war in space. And they continue to develop new weapon tehnologies including through cyber means, artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons that could attack at unprecedented speed.’

The video was released on the first anniversary of the launch of Securing our common future: An agenda for disarmament, in which the UNSG highlights key disarmament objectives, makes the links between disarmament and achieving the sustainable development goals, and advances common security approaches to international conflicts in order to enable countries to disarm without jeopardising their security. 

States need to build security through diplomacy and dialogue, not by building new weapons,’ said Mr Guterres in his video message. ‘In our turbulent world, disarmament is the path to preventing conflict and sustaining peace. We must act without delay.’

International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament

International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament and the launch of Securing our common future last year were supported by a joint appeal of women legislators Common security for a sustainable and nuclear-weapon-free world. The legislators, all members of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, noted that:

The United Nations was established with an array of mechanisms through which nations can resolve conflicts, negotiate disarmament and achieve security through diplomacy not war. These have been supplemented by additional common security mechanisms such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We urge governments to make better use of these common security mechanisms, and especially to replace reliance on nuclear deterrence with reliance on common security.

This year the day was commemorated by a number of actions around the world including by a Joint Letter from Women’s Organisations calling on President Trump, President Moon and Chairman Kim to End the Korean War.

The letter calls, in particular on the leaders to:

  1. End the Korean War and declare a new era of peace. The failure to agree on a peaceful settlement to the war is the root cause of conflict today. Taking military conflict off the table is the single most effective trust-building measure you can take. 
  2. Halt all escalatory military exercises and weapons testing. Contrary to commitments made in Panmunjom and Singapore, US-ROK war drills have resumed, and the DPRK has subsequently engaged in weapons testing. Such measures are destabilizing and directly undermine the necessary conditions for dialogue.
  3. Resume dialogue toward the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula and region, and the removal of sanctions, which harm vulnerable citizens and threaten future generations.

The letter was organised by Women Cross DMZ, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Korean Women’s Movement for Peace.