UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday stressed the need to seriously refocus attention on nuclear disarmament, and called for the eradication of the weapons of mass destruction “once and for all.”
Addressing an open debate of the UN Security Council on “non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the secretary-general noted that eliminating weapons of mass destruction was one of the founding principles of the United Nations and it was in fact the subject of the first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly.
“I call on all States to focus on one overriding truth: the only sure way to prevent the human, environmental and existential destruction these weapons can cause, is by eradicating (these weapons) once and for all,” Ban said.
“We — the international community — must ensure the disarmament and non-proliferation framework is universally and completely implemented, and is resilient and versatile enough to grapple with the changing environment,” he said.
The success in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction offers some comfort and that multilateral treaties, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and instruments, including Security Council Resolution 1540, are “robust and tested,” Ban said.
Adopted in 2004, Resolution 1540 affirms that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
The challenges to the disarmament and non-proliferation architecture are growing, the secretary-general said, adding that technological advances have made means of production and methods of delivery of these weapons easier and more accessible.
“Vicious non-State actors that target civilians for carnage are actively seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons,” he said.
It is particularly disappointing that progress on eliminating nuclear weapons has descended into fractious deadlock, underscoring that arguments justifying nuclear weapons, such as those used during the Cold War, “were morally, politically and practically wrong thirty years ago, and they are wrong now,” he said.
Talking about the threat of biological weapons, the secretary-general said that in the wake of serious outbreaks of Ebola and yellow fever, he is “very concerned” that the international community is not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to a biological attack.
“The impact and consequences of a biological attack on a civilian target could far exceed those of a chemical or radiological attack,” the secretary-general said, adding that that the investment in the international architecture dealing with these different types of weapons of mass destruction is not commensurate with their possible effects.
Touching upon the new global threats emerging from the misuse of science and technology, and the power of globalization, the secretary-general said that the nexus between these emerging technologies and weapons of mass destruction needs close examination and action.
“Information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and synthetic biology will bring profound changes to our everyday lives and benefits to millions of people,” he said, adding that “their potential for misuse could also bring destruction.”