Ban Ki-moon and the nuclear dead end

August 29, the International Day against Nuclear Tests reminds UN Secretary General the lack of progress on eliminating nuclear weapons. 

The International Day against Nuclear Tests was celebrated yesterday, but there is not much to celebrate for. Although this event has fostered an environment with more optimism towards a world free of nuclear weapons there are still many challenges.

For example at the 2015 Review Conference on the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons parties to the Treaty failed to come to an agreement on substantial parts of the draft Final Document.

UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon regretted the "lack of progress on eliminating nuclear weapons." He is one of the strong advocates for a "world without nuclear weapons."

He told the security council on August 23, "the disarmament agenda has stalled in several areas," referring to continued nuclear testing in North Korea and a modernization multimillion nuclear program in the US. Also he argues it is disappointing to see arguments used to justify nuclear weapons in the Cold War resurge.

The elimination of nuclear weapons was a founding principle of the United Nations over 70 years ago. Yet the UN continues its campaign against them.

 This day is celebrated on August 29 because in 1991 the Republic of Kazakhstan passed a resolutino to voluntary close the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site.

“When the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN and opened for signature in September 1996, it put a lid on over 2,000 nuclear tests.” said Dr. Rebecca Johnson, to IPS. The CTBT has been successful as only a handful of tests have been conducted by India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The CTBT global verification system has been very helpful as well. It has revolutionized the warning systems for earthwakes and tsunamis and also detects underground nuclear tests by North Korea, said Dr. Johnson who is also Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy.  

"Since its adoption 20 years ago by the General Assembly, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has yet to enter into force. Given the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons to our collective human and environmental security, even our very existence, we must reject this stalemate."

"On this Day, I call on all countries and peoples to work for the CTBT’s entry into force as soon as possible so that we may advance toward a nuclear-weapon-free world," concluded Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

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