26 March 2012

Secretary-General, in Message, Urges States to Examine Assumptions about Potential Threats to Nuclear Security, Then Design, Test Their Response Plans Accordingly

26 March 2012
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message, Urges States to Examine Assumptions about Potential

Threats to Nuclear Security, Then Design, Test their Response Plans Accordingly

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Seoul Nuclear Security Symposium, as delivered by Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, on 23 March:

I welcome this opportunity to greet the participants in the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Symposium.  I congratulate the Korea Institute of Nuclear Non-proliferation and Control and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security for co-hosting this event on the important topic of global nuclear security governance.

We know from the tragic events at Fukushima and Chernobyl that nuclear safety is truly a global challenge.  Nuclear accidents anywhere can affect people everywhere.  Yet, next week’s Nuclear Security Summit is focused not on past crises, but on preventing future tragedies, by proactively facing the many challenges of nuclear terrorism, and by designing and coordinating effective measures — from local to global — to prevent or respond to such threats.

Strengthening the rule of law is a key priority.  This will require new efforts to achieve universal adherence to, and more effective implementation of, relevant international legal instruments.  The United Nations has a key role to play in this respect.  States must also examine their assumptions about potential threats and the adequacy of security measures, and then design and regularly test their response plans accordingly.

No country can tackle such issues alone, given the global scope of the market for illicit nuclear materials and the implications of nuclear terrorism for international peace and security.  Extensive cooperation is required not just between countries and international organizations, but also within countries, drawing on all relevant groups and expertise.

Clearly, the gravest nightmare is the threat posed by the use of a nuclear weapon.  Through their policies and treaties, United Nations Member States have recognized their shared responsibility to ensure that such an event never happens again, whether by a State or a non-State actor.

I call on all participants at this Symposium to consider how we can advance global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  The entire world has long recognized this as the most reliable way to prevent the use of such weapons.  The international community should continue its efforts to advance nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime and take a holistic view of nuclear safety, nuclear security, nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

I have long been impressed by the contributions of civil society in addressing challenges in nuclear safety, security and disarmament, and in advancing the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.  I thank the Seoul Nuclear Security Symposium for responding to my call, at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, to build stronger partnerships with stakeholders, including the nuclear industry, academia and civil society.  The Nuclear Industry Summit, also taking place on the eve of next week’s Summit, is also well placed to make a contribution to this process.  Thank you again for your commitment and engagement, and please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.