Ban welcomes new UN centre pushing for disarmament in Asia-Pacific

18 August 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the launch of a new United Nations facility promoting disarmament and non-proliferation in the Asia-Pacific region.

The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, based in Kathmandu, Nepal, will focus on nuclear proliferation, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, landmines and explosive remnants of war, terrorism and organized crime, and armed conflicts.

“Each of these issues is as vast and diverse as the region itself,” Mr. Ban said in his message – delivered by his Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar – to the ceremony marking the opening of the facility.

He noted that these challenges are not unique to the Asia-Pacific area, and that the world body’s work to boost global peace and security has “consistently stressed the importance of progress in disarmament and non-proliferation at all levels, national, regional and international.”

Established in 1987 by the General Assembly, the Regional Centre provides support, on request of the 43 Member States in the area, for peace and disarmament activities and encourages dialogue among nations.

Formerly headquartered in New York, the facility was relocated to Nepal after the UN and the Asian nation’s Government signed an agreement last July. It relies on voluntary contributions for its staffing needs, operations, activities and initiatives, and so far this year has received contributions from such countries as Turkey, Pakistan and Thailand.

“The UN is most effective when it acts in partnership with our Member States,” the Secretary-General said, calling on all Asia-Pacific countries to work closely with the Regional Centre.

Also in attendance at today’s ceremony was Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav, who was elected last month, along with other senior Government officials, diplomats, regional organizations’ representatives, civil society and journalists.

To foster dialogue in the region, the Regional Centre organizes two annual conferences – in Japan and the Republic of Korea – on disarmament and non-proliferation.

This year, the gathering in Japan, to be held later this month, will focus on nuclear disarmament, while participants at the meeting in the Republic of Korea this November will discuss the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which marked the 40th anniversary of its opening for signature in July.

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