Since nuclear weapons testing began in the mid-twentieth century, with the first test in 1945, nearly 2,000 have taken place. There has been little consideration of the devastating effects of testing on human life, let alone the understanding of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests.
The world-wide observance of the third annual International Day against Nuclear Tests will be on Wednesday 29 August 2012. The day highlights the efforts of the United Nations and a growing community of advocates, including Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and media in informing and educating on the importance of the nuclear-test-ban for the achievement of a safer and more secure world.
August 29th was chosen by the General Assembly as the annual commemoration date against nuclear tests because it marks the day in 1991 when Semipalatinsk, one of the largest test sites in the world, was closed for good. At United Nations Headquarters, this year the day will be observed on 6 September in the format of an Informal Meeting, convened by the President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdelaziz Al-Nasser, including a High-Level Panel organized by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan.
The President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and Mr. Timur Zhantikin, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan will deliver opening statements at the meeting. The Observance will broadly focus on drawing the world’s attention to nuclear weapons abolition and the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
The official opening ceremony will be followed by a High-Level Panel on the Role of the United Nations in Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. The panelists will present their insights on how the United Nations can further promote progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and advance confidence building, including through nuclear-weapon-free zones and other relevant measures.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature in 1996, but has yet to enter into force. Guest speakers will share their observations on the current situation and the path forward to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
The International Day against Nuclear Tests, established by General Assembly resolution 64/35, then presented at the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan, was first observed in 2010, to promote the idea that “every effort should be made to end nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives of people… and, that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
The complete programme line-up can be found at: http://www.un.org/en/events/againstnucleartestsday/2012/events2012.shtml
For further information on the Day and on the nuclear tests-related issues, please visit www.un.org/en/no-nucleartests, which is available in all six UN official languages.
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