Achievement of global nuclear disarmament is regarded as the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations (UN). This was also the priority at the first resolution of the General Assembly in 1946, which saw the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission — although dissolved in 1952 — with an obligation to design specific proposals to control nuclear energy and the eradication of atomic weapons and all others capable of mass destruction. The UN has been at the front line of several key diplomatic efforts for advancement of nuclear disarmament.
The United Nations General Assembly, in 1959, approved the general and complete disarmament objective. The first Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament also realized that nuclear disarmament should be the major objective in the field. This goal has been actively promoted by every Secretary-General of the United Nations. Despite this diligence, about 12,512 nuclear weapons are still remaining today. Countries in possession of these weapons have long-term, well-funded plans for modernization of these arsenals.
Public awareness on matters that concern disarmament.
In December 2013, the United Nations’ General Assembly, in its resolution 68/32 declared September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This declaration was a result of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, held in New York on September 26, 2013. This act was seen as part of the efforts of the General Assembly to seek more engagement and to raise public awareness on matters that concern disarmament.
Also, in 2009, the General Assembly also made a declaration of August 29 of every year as the International Day against Nuclear Tests in resolution 64/35. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in resolution 68/32, advocated the “urgent commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer and use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.”
Provision of a platform to promote activities of the Day.
Furthermore, the Assembly expressed its interest in commemorating the day, in resolution 69/58, as it requested the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General to put in place necessary arrangements for its commemoration and promotion. The arrangement could be through organization of a yearly of the Assembly for the commemoration of the International Day and provision of a platform to promote activities of the day. There was a repetition of these requests and call by the Assembly in its resolutions of subsequent years.
Annual observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been ensured since 2014. According to the General Assembly’s resolutions, the United Nations system, Member States, civil society, academia, the mass media, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, and individuals are urged to commemorate and promote the Day through the enhancement of education and public awareness about how nuclear weapons threaten humanity, and the need for their complete elimination. In 1978, the General Assembly had its very first Special Session Devoted to Disarmament.
Activities of the event will contribute to mobilizing new efforts.
For observation of the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the United Nations (UN) is rendering support to events in Geneva and New York. All over the world, United Nations Information Centres are implored to increase awareness for the commemoration of the International Day. The hope of the Assembly is that activities of the event will contribute to the mobilization of new International efforts towards the achievement of the general goal of living in a world that is free of nuclear weapons.