23 October 2013
Press Conference

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

Press Conference to Announce Winner of Future Policy Award 2013


The treaty establishing the world’s first nuclear-weapon-free zone won the 2013 Future Policy Award for sustainable disarmament, beating 24 other nominated policies, Jakob von Uexkull, Chair of the World Future Council, announced at Headquarters today.


Known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean had made valuable contributions to advancing regional peace and security and had created a model for subsequent nuclear-weapon-free zones, Mr. von Uexkull said.  The award would be presented by the Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs at a ceremony at Headquarters later today.  (See Press Release DC/3461.)


“Policy progress on disarmament is particularly urgent,” he stressed, referring to the scourge of chemical warfare, pending nuclear weapon threats and global arms spending that soared over $1.7 trillion in 2012, diverting funds from human development.  “The 2013 award provides a road map that can inspire policymakers around the world,” he said.


Gioconda Ubeda, Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Ambassador of Costa Rica, accepted the award on behalf of the region’s 33 States.


“Five generations had benefited from the policy and because of the strength behind the Treaty, more generations will benefit in the future,” she said.  “The Treaty changed the history of Latin America and the Caribbean and its people.”


Agreeing, Virginia Gamba, Director of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy to the High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, said “progress on disarmament can deliver global benefits”.  Announcing the silver awards, she commended Argentina’s national programme for the voluntary surrender of firearms, which collected and destroyed 148,000 weapons and 1 million ammunition units, and New Zealand’s Nuclear Free Zone, Arms Control and Disarmament Act, one of the strongest existing legal prohibitions against nuclear arms.  Being from Argentina, she said she knew directly how important it was to promote a culture of peace.


Anders Johnsson, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, announced the honourable mentions:  Belgium’s law on anti-personnel mines and its law regulating economic and individual activities with weapons, which served to ban cluster munitions; Costa Rica’s abolition of the army in its 1949 Constitution; Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status; and Mozambique and South Africa’s agreement of cooperation and mutual assistance in combating crime, which resulted in the collection and destruction of 32,000 rifles and 24 million ammunition units.  Those examples showed that disarmament was possible, he said.


Answering reporters’ questions, Mr. von Uexkull said that the World Future Council favoured the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Western countries should stop taking a hypocritical stance and recognize that there was a State in that region with nuclear weapons.


In response to another question, he noted that the United Kingdom had continued spending on nuclear weapons.  When asked about the future of nuclear energy, he said the World Future Council was active in the creation of a renewable energy sector.


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For information media • not an official record