Friday, August 29, 2014

UN Press Release: Commemorating International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The world-wide observance of the fifth annual International Day against Nuclear Tests will be on Friday, 29 August 2014. 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 a ban on nuclear weapons testing for the achievement of a safer and more secure world.
Activities ranging from symposia and conferences to exhibits are expected to take place throughout the world to call attention to the dangers of nuclear weapon test explosions, the threats posed to humans and the environment, and the need to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons and their testing.
The day, August 29, was chosen by the General Assembly as the annual commemoration date against nuclear tests because it marks the day in 1991 when Semipalatinsk, in Kazakhstan, one of the largest test sites in the world, was closed permanently. This year at the United Nations Headquarters, there will be an observance on 10 September in the format of an Informal Meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, convened by the President of the General Assembly, Mr. John Ashe, including a High-Level Panel organized in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations.
The President of the General Assembly and Mr. Ermek Kosherbayev, First Deputy of the Governor of Eastern Kazakhstan (Semipalatinsk region) are expected to 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 opening ceremony will be followed by a High-Level Panel on the “Path to Zero: The Role of the United Nations in Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation”. The invited panel of speakers include, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Angela Kane; Permanent Representative of Philippines to the United Nations Ambassador Libran Cabactulan; Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations Ambassador Guillermo  Rishchynski and Representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the United Nations Mr. Geoffrey Shaw.

The panelists are expected to cover some key issues, such as steps for further progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the establishment of further nuclear-weapon-free zones, and confidence building. The Panel will be moderated by the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu.
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.”
See the full programme of events.

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