"THE WORLD is over-armed and peace is under-funded."

Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has been an unwavering advocate for disarmament. The above quote comes from a speech he gave in 2009 in Mexico City at the 62nd annual United Nations Department of Public Information conference with NGOs. It is also the title of his recent opinion piece which appeared in news journals around the world. The slides that follow are a collection of quotes from the Secretary-General on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, responsible transfers of conventional weapons, military spending, the role of civil society in disarmament, illicit trafficking in small arms, and the role of women in achieving sustainable peace and security.


On the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

"PROGRESS ON DISARMAMENT CANNOT AWAIT A WORLD FREE OF WAR, nuclear proliferation or terrorism. Progress on non-proliferation cannot await the elimination of the last nuclear weapon. Advancing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy cannot be held hostage to either disarmament or non-proliferation. From the earliest days of the NPT, the international community understood that these goals must be pursued simultaneously. They are interdependent and mutually reinforcing."

Full Text, 3 May 2010, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On Nuclear Disarmament

"THOUSANDS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS REMAIN ON HAIR TRIGGER ALERT. More States have sought and acquired them. Nuclear tests have continued. And every day, we live with the threat that weapons of mass destruction could be stolen, sold or slip away. As long as such weapons exist, so does the risk of proliferation and catastrophic use. So, too, does the threat of nuclear terrorism....Nuclear disarmament is the only sane path to a safer world. Nothing would work better in eliminating the risk of use than eliminating the weapons themselves."

Full Text, 24 September 2009, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On Responsible Conventional Weapons Transfers

"WHILE NUCLEAR WEAPONS THREATEN US with mass destruction, on a cumulative basis conventional weapons wreak tremendous death and destruction every day in conflicts across the globe. It is, therefore, vital to encourage responsible conduct in conventional weapons transfers. We must also explore ways to lessen the pressure on States to engage in conventional weaponry build-ups, while safeguarding the legitimate right to self-defence of all Member States."

Full Text, 9 April 2007, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On Women, Peace and Security

"SUSTAINABLE PEACE IS POSSIBLE ONLY WITH WOMEN'S FULL PARTICIPATION, their perspectives, their leadership, their daily, equal presence wherever we seek to make and keep the peace."

Full Text, 7 June 2010, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On the Role of Civil Society in Disarmament

"BE BOLD. THINK BIG, FOR IT YIELDS BIG RESULTS. And that is why, again, we need people like you. People who understand that the world is over-armed and that peace is underfunded. People who understand that the time for change is now."

Full Text, 3 May 2010, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On Military Spending

"[IN 2011], GLOBAL MILITARY SPENDING REPORTEDLY EXCEEDED $1.7 TRILLION, more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN's budget for an entire year. This largesse includes billions more for modernizing nuclear arsenals decades into the future. This level of military spending is hard to explain in a post-Cold War world and amidst a global financial crisis. Economists would call this an 'opportunity cost'. I call it human opportunities lost. Nuclear weapons budgets are especially ripe for deep cuts. Such weapons are useless against today's threats to international peace and security."

Full Text, 30 August 2012, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General


On the Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms

"ILLICIT SMALL ARMS REMAIN THE WEAPONS OF CHOICE for those who seek to challenge legitimate State power, to spread fear and insecurity, or to pursue criminal goals. The human cost of the massive and destructive use of small arms and light weapons in armed conflict, piracy, gang warfare and crime-related violence is well documented. More than half a million people are killed each year. Civilians suffer most — particularly the poor."

Full Text, 27 August 2012, BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General