5 May 2010

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

Film ‘Countdown to Zero’ Delivers Message about Danger of Nuclear Weapons

‘with Passion and Power’, Says Secretary-General at New York Screening

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a screening of Countdown to Zero, in New York, 5 May:

Welcome to an afternoon at the movies.

I want to thank all involved in making this important film, Countdown to Zero.

We have already seen the power of movie-making such as this.  Mr. Bender’s previous documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, has become legend.

At a critical moment, it helped put climate change on the global agenda.

Thank you for that, Mr. Bender and Mr. Skoll.

And thank you, now, for your vision in making this film.  Along with climate change, disarmament is among the greatest challenges of our time.

With support like yours, we will succeed.

Michael Douglas, thank you as well.

You are a towering figure — not only in the movies, but in the peace movement.

Thanks to people like you, peace and the movies have joined forces in perhaps the most noble cause of humankind.

This film was first screened in Paris three months ago.

I am sorry to have missed it.  But I cannot think of a better time or place to see it than now, this week at the United Nations.

The talks we are hosting on disarmament and non-proliferation are of fundamental importance.

Everywhere, we see new momentum for change:  the recent START treaty, the Washington Summit on nuclear security.

This week, already, we have made important progress.

We welcome President Obama’s leadership on nuclear transparency, and we urge others to follow this example.

We have also urged the negotiators to think big, to be bold and take risks, to aim for the prize — a nuclear-free world.

Like you here today, I carry our message wherever I go:  Disarm Now.

Nuclear weapons pose a clear and present danger.

This documentary delivers that message, with passion and power.

We also see that passion — and that power — in the social movement that you embrace.

I applaud you for it.  Global Zero is grass-roots activism at its finest.

Three hundred fifty thousand people around the world have signed up.

This movie will add to your strength in numbers.  It will amplify your voice.  It will build public pressure for change.

And that is key.

Because with political will, real change is possible.

Thank you, Global Zero.

And now, let us enjoy the movie.

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For information media • not an official record