– As delivered –
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly
8 September 2021
We are meeting together to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests for the twelfth time.
Today we commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site in Kazakhstan on 29 August 1991. We remember the victims of nuclear testing. We honour the survivors. We examine the legacy impacts of nuclear weapons, including that of nuclear waste.
More than 2000 nuclear tests have been conducted since the advent of nuclear weapons. While the rate of testing has declined, they have not stopped. These tests have long lasting health and environmental consequences. They devastate the communities they impact. They displace families from their homelands.
Nuclear testing is also catastrophic for the environment and today we will discuss the effect of nuclear testing on sea level and climate change.
Today, once again, many of you will reiterate the demand to end nuclear testing forever and outlaw nuclear weapons. This General Assembly has been committed to nuclear disarmament from its inception: the very first resolution passed in 1946 aimed to achieve global nuclear disarmament.
I welcome the progress that has been achieved towards nuclear disarmament in the past year, especially considering the additional challenges that the pandemic has brought.
This includes multilateral efforts, the 50th instrument of ratification for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was deposited with the United Nations on 24 October and therefore the Treaty entered into force on 22 January.
And the bilateral agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the “New START Treaty”, which was extended for an additional five-year period through February 4, 2026.
However, there is still much more to be done. I encourage postponed meetings to be rearranged, including the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to no later than February 2022 and the 4th Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia.
As my term as the President of the General Assembly comes to an end in a few days, I would like to take this opportunity to call on states that have yet to sign or ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, to do so as soon as possible.
I thank you.