New York

06 September 2018

Secretary-General's remarks at General Assembly observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests [as delivered]

I am very pleased to be with you for this important observance.
Last month I visited Japan and met with survivors of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki.
Through the testimony of the survivors, the Hibakusha, we are reminded of the need to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.
On the annual observance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests we highlight the inextricable connection between testing and the elimination of nuclear weapons.
We also remember the victims of the disastrous era of widespread nuclear testing.
The legacy of more than 2,000 nuclear tests has touched people and communities in many regions, from the residents of Semipalatinsk and the steppe of Kazakhstan, to South Pacific islanders, and the Maralinga Tjarutja people of South Australia.
They include some of the world’s most vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile areas of the planet from the environmental point of view.
The catastrophic impact of nuclear testing has had profound effects on the environment, human health, food security and economic development.
That is why we should all welcome the robust norm against nuclear testing that has developed since the end of the Cold War, including through the voluntary moratoria implemented by most States that possess nuclear weapons.
Since the turn of the century, only one State has breached this norm.
Through the Security Council, the international community, responded decisively to each violation.
But what the nuclear tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have shown is that no ad hoc measure can replace a global, legally binding ban on nuclear-testing.
Every effort must be made to bring about the immediate entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT.
As I stated in my disarmament agenda, “Securing Our Common Future”, the CTBT has an essential role within the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
By constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, the treaty puts a brake on the nuclear arms race.
It serves as a powerful barrier against those States that might seek to develop, manufacture and use or acquire nuclear weapons in violation of their non-proliferation commitments.
Yet, more than 20 years since its negotiation, the Treaty has yet to enter into force.
The failure to do so prevents its full implementation and undermines its permanence in the international security architecture.
I reiterate the appeal made when I launched my disarmament agenda for the remaining eight States whose ratifications are required for the CTBT to enter into force to commit to sign the Treaty and complete their ratification processes.
I urge all not to wait for others to act before moving forward.
The complete and verifiable cessation of all nuclear tests is a vital pillar of a world free of nuclear weapons -- a safer and more secure world for all.
I am convinced we can achieve this, and I am ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to attain this goal.
Thank you.