Ban stresses crucial role of science in addressing current global challenges

1 July 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underlined the role of science and technology in helping humanity to address global challenges such as climate change, infectious diseases, terrorism, hunger, disaster preparedness and nuclear disarmament.

In a message to the 59th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs that opened in Berlin, Mr. Ban thanked the organization for its efforts over the past half a century to bring scientists and policy-makers together to advance common interests in peace, security and human welfare worldwide.

“Your efforts were especially welcome during the Cold War in helping to end the nuclear arms race, and they remain vital today as we continue to seek progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” said the Secretary-General.

He noted that his predecessors and he have been working to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction since 1946, when the General Assembly first adopted the goal for the United Nations.

“With active support from the Pugwash organization, along with determined efforts throughout civil society and by concerned Member States, the potential for progress in these fields is considerable indeed,” said Mr. Ban.

The Pugwash Conference seeks to promote constructive dialogue on sensitive matters of international security.

Mr. Ban pointed out in his message that opportunities to advance the nuclear disarmament cause include the forthcoming review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), efforts to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, international gatherings to strengthen nuclear safety and security, and a conference next year to negotiate an arms trade treaty.

“When the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 1995 Peace Prize to Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash organization, it expressed the hope that the award ‘will encourage world leaders to intensify their efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons’,” said Mr. Ban.


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