15 April 2021

Office for Disarmament Affairs Launches United Nations ‘What If – Spesterra’ Youth Video Challenge

NEW YORK, 15 April (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — The United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 the “International Year of Peace and Trust”.  It is also the first year of the Decade of Action to usher in ambitious steps to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Against that backdrop, the Office for Disarmament Affairs will launch the “What if — Spesterra” Youth Video Challenge to stimulate young people’s interest and knowledge about the vital way disarmament contributes to a safer, more secure and sustainable world for all.

The Sustainable Development Agenda makes clear there cannot be development without peace and security.  Disarmament and arms control are integral to creating these conditions:  fields need to be landmine-free before farmers can cultivate them; neighbourhoods need to be safe from gun violence in order for commerce to flourish; and roads blocked by armed groups cannot serve a country’s progress.  The world needs to be free of nuclear weapons that cast an existential shadow over humanity.  Unchecked military spending and growing stockpiles of weapons have not brought us closer to peace, and no number of weapons protected populations from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coined from the Latin words spes, which means "hope", and terra, which means "land", the “What if — Spesterra” Youth Video Challenge calls on young people across the globe to imagine:  “What do you think the world would look like if more money were spent on peace and development and less on arms?”

Making use of multimedia productions like short films, animations, documentaries and music videos, young people are invited to showcase their vision of what would happen if we put people at the centre of our disarmament efforts to save lives and make our world a safer place.

The Challenge will be launched on World Arts Day, 15 April, and close on Youth Skills Day, 15 July.  Youth between the ages of 18 to 24 years can enter their creative two-minute twenty-second video submissions.  The 15 winners will attend an intensive summer course on disarmament.  They will also develop concrete recommendations on ways to reduce military spending in order to secure our common future, which they will present, alongside the winning videos, at a side event during the seventy-sixth session of the United Nations First Committee.

For more information please visit:, or contact Soo Hyun Kim, Political Affairs Officer, at email:

For information media. Not an official record.