UN High Rep connects peace day and SDGs with nuclear abolition

Peace and sustainable development require action on disarmament – especially nuclear disarmament – remarked Mr. Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, at a special UN event yesterday commemorating the International Day for Peace.

The event, which was organised by the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to UN, featured 3 Nobel Laureates – Ms Leymah Gbowee, Ms Shirin Ebadi and Ms Tawakkol Karman – along with Mr Kim discussing the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the words of your fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Alfonso Garcia Robles, “There is an organic relation between peace and disarmament,” said Mr Kim. ‘There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world, when even one is too many. The human and environmental costs of the use of even a small fraction would be horrific.’

Mr Kim lamented that ‘unfortunately the dependence by some States on nuclear deterrence is deepening, not weakening. Billions of dollars are being spent upgrading nuclear arsenals. Sadly, divisions continue to grow over the future of multilateral disarmament.’

He appealed directly to the Nobel laureates and others present at the event to ‘use your collective moral authority to convince all people of the need to press their governments to fully implement their disarmament commitments.’

Click here for the full speech of Mr Kim Won-soo

Outreach to legislators and religious leaders

Mr Kim has also reached out to other constituencies to promote the link between nuclear disarmament and sustainable development, especially legislators and religious leaders.

Mr Kim being presented with the joint statement of legislators and religious leaders
Mr Kim being presented with ‘Our Common Good’, the joint statement of legislators and religious leaders for a nuclear-weapon-free world

In October last year, for example he spoke about this connection at the Assembly of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament which was held in conjunction with the Prague Agenda Conference (click here for a video of his speech).

At that event he was presented with ‘A Nuclear Weapon Free World: Our Common Good’, a joint statement of legislators and religious leaders. The statement notes that ‘over 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world’s arsenals costing $100 billion annually – funds that could instead be used to reverse climate change, eliminate poverty and address other social and economic needs.’

And earlier in 2015 he spoke on nuclear disarmament, ethics and sustainable development at en event entitled Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass, organised by the Global Security Institute and the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN. Click here for the video of his speech at that event.

Kim Won-soo speaking at the Moral Compass event at the UN
Kim Won-soo speaking at the Moral Compass event at the UN

[Note: the feature photo for this article is of Kim Won-soo speaking earlier this year at the Hiroshima Memorial in Japan]nike