Highlighting recent progress in efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged nations to build on the momentum, laying out a number of steps to move the process forward.
Speaking at a meeting in New York focusing on his five-point action plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Mr. Ban cited “encouraging” developments over recent months, including the renewed commitment by the leaders of the United States and Russia, a breakthrough in the Conference on Disarmament, and the “historic” Security Council summit in September.
“We need to sustain this momentum, and build on it,” he stated, noting that the review conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to be held in May 2010, is just a few months away. “Now is the time.”
The Secretary-General’s action plan, presented in October 2008, begins with a call for the parties to the NPT to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification.
In addition, it is based on the following key principles: that disarmament must enhance security; be reliably verified; be rooted in legal obligations; be visible to the public; and must anticipate emerging dangers from other weapons.
“My Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Non-proliferation is founded on a fundamental principle: nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing and inseparable,” Mr. Ban stated. “They should be pursued in tandem.”
To build on recent momentum and “move the ball forward,” Mr. Ban urged States to facilitate the adoption of agreed measures on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and encouraged them to consider the proposal by Costa Rica and Malaysia for a nuclear weapon convention.
Second, noting that the Security Council Summit should not be a one-time event, he encouraged the 15-member body to meet annually, at the Foreign Minister level, to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.
“The Council’s nuclear-weapon States might also wish to consider the adoption of a joint declaration for the 2010 NPT Review Conference addressing nuclear disarmament issues,” he suggested.
He also called for greater efforts to advance the rule of law in the field of disarmament, and to enhance transparency and accountability. Lastly, he called for complementary measures while pursuing nuclear disarmament.
“The world should pursue several related measures, including eliminating others weapons of mass destruction; combating WMD [weapons of mass destruction] terrorism; and bans on missiles, space weapons. We also must not lose sight of conventional weapons disarmament.”
In addition, he encouraged Member States to consider convening a session of the General Assembly to examine the impact of armed violence on development at next September’s summit meeting on the set of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).