On October 3, the Permanent Mission of Poland organized a side event on disarmament and education in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The Permanent Representative of Poland, H.E. Mr. Boguslaw Winid moderated the panel. In his opening remarks, he presented a brief overview of the achievements in the field of disarmament education. Ambassador Winid highlighted the relevance of the United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education (A/57/124) and considered it as an integral part of peace education. The study tackles new elements such as the growth in the significance of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and small arms, as well as gender perspectives on security issues. Its main contribution was the 34 recommendations for action to be undertaken by governments, regional organizations, the United Nations, and other international organizations, municipal and religious leaders.
H.E. Ms. Beata Pęksa, Director for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, pointed out that social media plays a great role in promoting disarmament education. In addition, Ambassador Pęksa underlined that Member States should act as responsible players and share information to promote global security. H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico, emphasized the concept of sustainable peace in context of prevention and crisis management. He linked sustainable development to non-proliferation education and presented Mexico’s latest project: A summer school on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation in Mexico City.
H.E. Mr. Toshio Sano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, stressed the importance of raising awareness for disarmament issues through education. Ambassador Sano drew attention to the empowerment of youth and their use of new technologies. H.E. Mr. Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, proposed the need of an action plan, which could refine and develop further the 34 recommendations for action. He noted that a global standard for non-proliferation education is essential for raising international awareness.
Ms. Soo Hyun Kim, Political Affairs Officer from the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), informed the audience about UNODA’s work in the field of disarmament education. The latest Posters for Peace contest inspired citizens across the globe to use their artistic talents to promote a world free of nuclear weapons. UNODA’s essay contests as well as media and film-screening events provide a platform for communication and interaction.
Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, Program director of Hibakusha Stories/Youth Arts New York, underscored the importance of disarmament education for young diplomats. The panelist illustrated the need for a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons. There was a question about funding for disarmament education. The panelists agreed that a close cooperation between Member States and the United Nations is essential to guarantee worldwide financial support for disarmament education.
Drafted by Julia Bhattacharjee