New York

03 May 2016

Secretary-General's Remarks to Award Ceremony for the United Nations Poster for Peace Contest [as prepared for delivery]

It gives me great pleasure to join you this evening to celebrate the winning entries in the United Nations Poster for Peace contest.

This competition is a wonderful celebration of creativity, but it has an important purpose: to reaffirm the United Nations’ historic commitment to nuclear disarmament.

It commemorates the very first General Assembly resolution, which called for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Disarmament is part of the DNA of the United Nations, which was formed when the first and last use of nuclear weapons in war was fresh in people’s minds.

Since then, all countries have rejected the use of nuclear weapons. But until these weapons are completely eliminated, they continue to pose a threat to our common wellbeing. Fears of nuclear terrorism make disarmament even more urgent and important.

The aim of this poster competition is to raise awareness to spur action, and it has been a great success. We received over 4,000 entries from 123 countries.

I offer my sincere congratulations to the designers of the winning posters, Mr. Ivan Ciro Palomino Huamani, Ms. Michelle Minzhi Li and Ms. Anjali Chandrashekar.

I commend you for the talents you have displayed, and for using those talents to highlight such an essential cause.

Sadly for all of us, disarmament has proven to be a long-term ambition requiring patience and persistence. Throughout my time as Secretary-General, and especially in my five-point plan on nuclear disarmament, I have highlighted the steps that must be taken without delay.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last week, I attended a very important conference in Vienna marking the 20th anniversary of the singing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. But twenty years after it was signed, the treaty has not entered into force.

I urged the remaining eight countries, whose signing and ratification is required for the treaty to enter into force, to do so without further delay. 

I am heartened by discussions on nuclear disarmament that are underway between states right now in Geneva. While there remains much to be done, we are making progress.

I was especially pleased to hear that young people were strongly represented in the competition.

At a time of many global needs, it is important that young people are aware of the threat posed by nuclear weapons, and the vital importance of disarmament.

Young people did not create nuclear weapons, but it may be their task to eliminate them once and for all.

The energy and enthusiasm, talent and new ideas we see here today will help to meet that challenge.

Thank you.