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Disarmament and non-proliferation ‘mutually-reinforcing,’ Security Council told

Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, addresses the Security Council's meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, addresses the Security Council's meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
21 September 2017 – The United Nations disarmament chief today warned against emerging technologies that make the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction easier, and stressed the need for effective approaches combining diplomacy, international cooperation and implementation of Security Council decisions.

“The Council’s engagement on weapons of mass destruction has always been grounded on a common understanding that measures for disarmament and non-proliferation are two sides of the same coin and are mutually-reinforcing,” High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said, as she briefed the 15-member body on the threat posed by the proliferation of such armaments.

She noted that the disarmament and non-proliferation efforts by the Council over the past 25 years have achieved important and historic outcomes, even as the international community continues to grapple with isolated cases of proliferation and the unresolved question of disarmament.

In responding to the 1991 invasion of Kuwait, the Council required Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction programme and mandated on-site inspections toward this end. It has since been confirmed that those obligations were carried out and the Council has effectively normalized Iraq’s international non-proliferation obligations, Ms. Nakamitsu said.

As for the Iranian nuclear issue, direct engagement and a shared commitment to dialogue and cooperation resulted in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the Council endorsed in resolution 2231. Two years later, international inspectors continue to verify the implementation of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments.

In Libya, timely action by the Council enabled international inspectors to help the Government secure and remove vulnerable stockpiles of chemical agents.

In Syria, successful engagement by Russia and the United States resulted in that country eliminating its declared chemical weapon programme under UN supervision and with unprecedented international cooperation.

“Regrettably, we continue to find evidence of the use of toxic chemicals as weapons” by the Government of Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), she added.

On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), she said their “provocative and dangerous” nuclear and ballistic missile activities have undermined international norms against nuclear proliferation and nuclear testing. She urged the Council to remain united and facilitate the resumption of diplomacy for a peaceful settlement.

Ms. Nakamitsu explained that resolution 1540, adopted in 2004, continues to stand as a pioneering achievement in cooperative action to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and related material.

For that resolution to remain effective, it is imperative to keep pace with global trends and emerging technologies that continuously lower the threshold for the acquisition and use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material, she said.

Ms. Nakamitsu went on to stress that the most effective approaches to non-proliferation must involve a mixture of active, robust and wise diplomacy, strong international cooperation and a solid commitment to fully implementing the decisions of the Council.



Sustainable development possible only if global community works together, Slovenia tells UN

Prime Minister Miro Cerar of the Republic of Slovenia addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Miro Cerar of the Republic of Slovenia addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
21 September 2017 – Effective international cooperation with the United Nations at its core is essential to address global challenges which have become even more complex and intertwined, the Prime Minister of Slovenia told world leaders today, urging unity among the international community.

Noting that the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are the “true test,” Prime Minister Miro Cerar stressed that now is not the time to go back on commitments.

“We need to turn them into real progress that will benefit people around the globe,” he urged, addressing the general debate at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

Noting that partnership and collaboration among the entire global community is vital not only for achieving sustainable development, but also for addressing the challenges associated with the scale of migration and refugee flows seen around the world.

In his address, the Prime Minister also underscored the importance of respect for human rights, including rights of children and women, rule of law, and gender equality and women’s empowerment.

He also noted the reform efforts initiated by Secretary-General António Guterres, and expressed his country’s support for the same.

The Prime Minister, further spoke of the need to combat terrorism in all its forms as well as violent extremism around the world, as well as advance the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda and urged for full implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

In that context, the Prime Minister strongly condemned the violations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of numerous Security Council resolutions as well as its own international commitments.

“They pose a serious threat to peace and security in the region and wider,” he stressed.



Human rights a precondition for peace; dialogue ‘only way’ to make it sustainable, Montenegro tells UN

President Filip Vujanović of Montenegro addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
President Filip Vujanović of Montenegro addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
20 September 2017 – Reiterating Montenegro’s strong commitment to multilateral cooperation, President Filip Vujanović told the Assembly today that his country puts good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation in the Balkans at the top of its foreign policy agenda.

He noted the region’s success in dialogue and cooperation as the only way to achieve sustainable peace, announcing that early next year Montenegro would organize a regional conference to help in defining new mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution.

Montenegro unequivocally supports nuclear non-proliferation, he said, calling the Non-Proliferation Treaty “a foundation for improvement of the global stability.” The country “strongly condemns nuclear weapons tests conducted by North Korea as an act that violates international obligations […] and poses a serious threat to global peace and security.”

Stressing that respect for human rights is a precondition for peace, stability and development, the President said his country attaches special attention to: strengthening the position and role of women in society and prevention of violence against women; child protection and development; fight against discrimination of LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex] population and persons with disabilities.

Turning to humanitarian assistance, which is much needed for civilians in conflicts and natural disasters, Mr. Vujanović said Montenegro has invested significant efforts to ensure appropriate legislative and strategic framework for financing international development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.



UN must reform, ‘win our trust’ by proving it can deliver, UK leader tells General Assembly

Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
20 September 2017 – The world is currently facing a raft of challenges “that test who we are,” the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom told the General Assembly, noting that while many, such as terrorism – which struck her country five times this year – did not recognize international borders, they could be addressed by a strong, agile United Nations that upholds global order and values.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s annual general debate, Theresa May noted that climate change is degrading and depleting the planet, and millions were fleeing their homes in search of a better life. Moreover, there are massive inequalities around the world and weaknesses in the global trading system, both of which are pushing some countries towards protectionism.

“As the global system struggles to adapt, some countries are deliberately flouting international rules,” she said, citing the “unforgivable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime,” and the threat of nuclear weapons use by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Calling on countries to defend the international order and the values of fairness, justice and human rights underpinning the multilateral system – including through agreements such as the Paris Accord and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – she said the international system, with the United Nations at its heart, is the “amplifying force” for those values.

Indeed, “we have to strive harder” to defend and reform the UN, she stressed, and those who flouted the rules and spirit of the Organization must be held to account. Noting that the United Kingdom had long supported the UN, she nevertheless said the Organization suffers from a gap between its purposes and their delivery.

“Member States must embark on the Secretary General’s reform agenda,” she said, calling for better cooperation, improved gender equality and reduced competition on the ground. As an outward-looking, “global Britain” – and the world’s second largest donor – the United Kingdom would continue to support the Organization.

However, she stated: “The UN and its agencies must win our trust” by proving they can deliver. In that regard, the UK would now set aside 30 per cent of its funding, to be paid only to those parts of the UN that achieve sufficient results.



‘To each his own’ not a viable alternative in a world facing shared challenges, Swiss President says

President Doris Leuthard  of the Swiss Confederation addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak
President Doris Leuthard of the Swiss Confederation addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak
19 September 2017 – With the world facing complex challenges such as climate change, humanitarian disasters and migration, all spanning geographical borders and requiring collective efforts to address, the President of Switzerland told delegations in the General Assembly today that a strong multilateral system centered on a strong United Nations must be established.

“We need a strong United Nations and the fact that we need to repeat this today should set the alarm bells ringing,” stressed Doris Leuthard in her address to the Assembly’s annual general debate, noting at the same time that it is important to recognize the milestones UN Member States have achieved in tackling global challenges, coming together to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The success of those efforts will depend on how well those instruments are implemented,” she said, also welcoming reforms outlined by the Secretary-General in the areas of peace and security, development and management, expressing particular support for the priority placed on prevention, as the price to pay for conflict in humanitarian, economic and financial terms was much higher than the costs of prevention activities.

Citing the migration crisis in Europe as a challenge requiring cooperation, she stressed: “We need solutions based on solidarity between countries. All countries must do their part.” Turning to the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, she said Switzerland is committed to non-proliferation and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. “Only negotiations and a diplomatic process will make it possible to find a solution to the security problem posed by the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula,” she added.

On other pressing issues, Ms. Leuthard said access to the Internet, the impact of digitization on sustainable development and cybersecurity must be addressed hand in hand. In addition dialogue is essential and must be conducted on large scale and include all relevant parties. Yet, political dialogue has proven insufficient on the issue of climate change. “The Paris Agreement must be quickly implemented,” she said, noting the importance of the private sector’s role in devising solutions.

Indeed, scientific diplomacy has allowed for making the correct decisions, and politicians must base their decisions on evidence-based policy, she said, convinced of need invest in effective multilateral system. “To each his own is not a viable alternative,” she asserted.

Also addressing the Assembly, Albert, II, Prince of Monaco, said the international community could not fail to act in the face of global threats, including the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula, and must deter those who expose humankind to disaster. Monaco lent its support to collective action for peace and security, he said, noting his country’s membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe.

“Working to stop mass suffering is imperative,” he said, expressing support for the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for the Syrian Arab Republic.

He went on to say that famine in Africa, largely exacerbated by war, has become a humanitarian disaster. Through work with various international organizations and the development of its own strategic plan for public assistance, Monaco is working to guarantee food security and fight corruption. Key to those ideals is the fight against impunity, and his country was committed to respect for justice and peace. Attacks claiming innocent lives affected all of us, regardless of where they took place, he noted.

Climate change remains an imminent threat to humankind, he said. Recent natural hazards put into focus the importance of the Paris Agreement and the need to adapt, he continued, stressing that a change in lifestyle is “long overdue.” Calling attention to “glaring inequalities,” he urged moving forward with a resolve to eliminate sexual exploitation, pointing out that that included those abuses in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Recalling Monaco had presented its first report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to the high-level political forum in the summer, he said Goal 14 on aquatic marine life was of particular importance to his country.

“Our ability to save the ocean from its gradual decline will enable us to save our planet,” he said. In that regard, he outlined Monaco’s various activities on the safeguarding of marine protected areas and other related issues. He concluded by emphasizing that science should guide all States as they worked towards a better world.