27 August 2010
Press Release
Note No. 6273

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

UN Commemorates First International Day against Nuclear Tests, Secretary-General

Says: ‘We Must Each Do Our Part to Build a Safer, More Secure World Today’


Twenty-nine August 2010 will mark the first observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.  The Day is meant to galvanize the efforts of the United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and media in informing, educating and advocating the necessity of banning nuclear tests to achieve a safer world.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests was established, at the initiative of the Government of Kazakhstan, by the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly through the unanimous adoption of its resolution 64/35 on 2 December 2009.  The Preamble of the resolution emphasizes “that every effort should be made to end nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives and health of people … and, that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”.

In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said that “there is real momentum behind this great cause”.  He referred to the successful conclusion of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and recent initiatives by world leaders and civil society in the field of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  He said he looked forward to “working with all parties to rein in spending on nuclear weapons and rid the world of the nuclear threat”.

The central pillar of this strategy is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which was adopted in 1996 but has yet to enter into force.  The Secretary-General called for achieving this goal by 2012:  “We cannot pass these challenges to succeeding generations.  We must each do our part to build a safer, more secure world today.”

In a number of Member States, the Day will be observed through activities, such as symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, media broadcasts and other activities.  Events will also be held at academic institutions and youth organizations.

At United Nations Headquarters, as an exception this year, the International Day against Nuclear Tests will be observed on 9 September.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the President of the General Assembly will convene a special meeting to be addressed, among other dignitaries, by the United Nations Secretary-General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

During the meeting, a new documentary on the history of nuclear testing, commissioned by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan, will be shown.

From 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., the East-West Institute and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan will hold a high-level consultation, “Prioritizing the NPT Action Plan”, in Conference Room 3 of the Temporary North Lawn Building.  Experts, policymakers, diplomats, and United Nations officials will discuss the challenges of operationalizing the action plan outlined by the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Also in the context of the Day, on 8 September, another panel will discuss the theme “Nuclear Weapons:  Security or Survival?”, co-hosted by the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan.  The event will be held from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the Teatro, Italian Academy, Columbia University, New York City, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue between 116th and 118th Streets.  (To register, please visit www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw.)

An exhibit on the effects of nuclear tests and related issues, with photos contributed by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan and by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, will be on display from 7 to 17 September in the Temporary North Lawn Building.

For further information on the Day and on the nuclear tests-related issues, please visit www.un.org/en/no-nucleartests, which is available in all six official United Nations languages.

Contacts:  United Nations Department of Public Information, Mikhail Seliankin, e-mail:  seliankin@un.org; United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Ewen Buchanan, e-mail:  buchanane@un.org; Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, Vera Mehta, e-mail:  veramehta8@yahoo.com.

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For information media • not an official record