– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

26 August 2020



Ladies and gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to today’s virtual event to commemorate the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

I would like to recognize the role of Finland and Kazakhstan in championing the cause to ban nuclear test explosions and indeed all other nuclear explosions.


This event is taking place at a time the world is facing an unprecedented threat from the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. I wish those who are suffering from the coronavirus disease a quick recovery and extend my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

I thank our healthcare workers and those on the frontlines combatting this disease and keeping our communities safe and healthy.

The threat from COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching effects on the health and livelihoods of people brings to the fore the need to collectively pursue actions to safeguard humanity, including the prioritizing of a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.


Earlier this month, we marked the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War. The two atomic bombs annihilated both cities, resulting in thousands of deaths and long-term effects.

Three quarters of a century after the creation of the United Nations, the nuclear threat still exists – thousands of nuclear weapons remain in stock and ready for use. Nuclear tests have been conducted over the years to produce even more powerful and sophisticated weapons, capable of even more carnage.

From 1945 to date, around 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted with devastating consequences. Their effects reverberate across generations, with profound impacts on people and the planet.



Nuclear disarmament is, and must, remain a priority for the United Nations. No weapon of mass destruction has the inherent capacity to cause so much destruction, with appalling humanitarian consequences. The very survival of humanity hinges on our resolute agreement that nuclear weapons are not to be used and should be forever eliminated. A nuclear weapons-free world is the only true guarantee to safeguard civilization from this existential threat.


The signing in 2017 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was a milestone in our efforts to protect humanity. I commend Member States that have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and urge those who have not done so to join in this important action.

In September 2019, I participated in the 11th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty here in New York. I call on all Member States to work together to realize the vision of the CTBT and its core objectives, in order to contribute effectively to the prevention of testing and proliferation of nuclear weapons in all aspects. At the same time, we must strengthen the ongoing process towards nuclear disarmament.

The CTBT must, however, move from its current status to a legally binding obligation for all Member States. I join the call of many in urging those Member States that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty to do so without delay, especially those whose ratification is needed for the Treaty to enter into force.

Next year we will hold the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This provides us with an opportunity to recommit to efforts toward the mutually reinforcing pillars of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


No one wins in a nuclear war – we know that any use of nuclear weapons would be a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe.

The international security environment today raises concerns about increasing competition and polarization, but skepticism regarding the disarmament machinery should not diminish our resolve to uphold the multilateral system and work together to show that the United Nations can deliver.

As we mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament remains as important as ever and must be our ultimate goal. Achieving a nuclear weapon-free world is a universal aspiration for ensuring peace and international security.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly

I call on everyone everywhere to support the ban on nuclear tests. Today’s event is a reminder that we need to be more resolute in the pursuit of our shared objectives. Indeed, an important contribution in this regard is the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 64/35 establishing the International Day against Nuclear Tests, to raise public awareness and further

promote political commitment to move towards a nuclear weapon-free world.


As we mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament remains as important as ever and must be our ultimate goal. Achieving a nuclear weapon-free world is a universal aspiration for ensuring peace and international security.

I share with many others the vision that one day nuclear weapons will be completely eliminated and nuclear weapon tests will be something of the past.

Thank you.