Governments and NGOs Mark the International Day Against Nuclear Tests

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

August 29 marks the eighth international day against nuclear tests. Less than ten countries have tested over 2,000 nuclear weapons since the United States exploded the first nuclear weapon in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The day against nuclear tests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2009, when it adopted Resolution 64/35. The resolution was introduced by Kazakhstan to commemorate the 1991 closure of the Semipalatinsk testing site. The day is observed each year by events around the world, including symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, lectures in academic institutions, and media broadcasts.

“As the Secretary-General recognized in his new disarmament agenda “Securing our Common Future” launched on 24 May 2018, the norm against testing is an example of a measure that serves both disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. By constraining the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty puts a brake on the arms race. It also serves as a powerful normative barrier against potential States that might seek to develop, manufacture and subsequently acquire nuclear weapons in violation of their non-proliferation commitments,” states the UN website dedicated to the day against nuclear testing.

A view of Semipalatinsk Test Site's ground zero in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan. Source: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

A view of Semipalatinsk Test Site's ground zero in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan. Source: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

From August 28- September 2, the CTBTO and the Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry will be hosting the 2018 CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) and Youth International Conference in Astana, Kazakhstan. At this conference, GEM and Youth Group members will come together to discuss achieving CTBT entry into force and how the GEM and youth can create a regional and global impact. On August 29, the conference will adopt a joint statement commemorating the international day against nuclear tests.

The United Nations will commemorate the International Day Against Nuclear Tests during the high-level plenary on September 6. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio-Guterres will deliver remarks.