Make progress or risk redundancy, UN chief warns world disarmament body

UN Photo/Antoine Tardy United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the Conference on Disarmament’s High-Level Segment 2019, Palais des Nations, 25 February 2019.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

A new global vision for arms control is needed and States must not “sleepwalk” into a new nuclear arms race, the UN Secretary-General said on Monday.

In an address to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, António Guterres highlighted several threats to world security, from chemical weapons to lethal autonomous weapons and hypersonic missiles.

His comments – which called for action to “alleviate tensions and take us back from the nuclear brink” – come ahead of a second planned summit later this week between US President Donald Trump and the leader of North Korea, known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un.

“Key components of the international arms control architecture are collapsing,” the UN chief said. “The continued use of chemical weapons with impunity is driving new proliferation. Thousands of civilian lives continue to be lost, because of illicit small arms and the use in urban areas of explosive weapons designed for open battlefields.”

In addition, new weapon technologies were intensifying risks “in ways we do not yet understand and cannot even imagine”, the UN Secretary-General added.

The past 70 years have seen major successes in disarmament initiatives, he insisted, noting that the most successful ones were those that were led by the “major powers”.

But these gains are in “increasing jeopardy” amid a new arms race rendered “particularly dangerous” because of renewed uncertainty over nuclear weapons, Mr. Guterres said.

Highlighting the dangers of allowing the 1988 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Russia and the US and Russia to lapse, the UN chief warned that European States would be among the first where any insecurity “will be keenly felt”.

Efforts must also be made to extend the “New START” arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia before it expires in 2021, he continued, since it was “the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals”.

Its inspection provisions represented important confidence-building measures that have benefited everyone, Mr. Guterres said, noting that “in the absence of trust, governments had sought “the strictest verification measures”.

Such arms control procedures have been “one of the hallmarks” of international security for 50 years, he continued, adding that the joint Russia-US effort had resulted in global stockpiles of nuclear weapons decreasing to only one-sixth of what they were in 1985.

Today, however, “that legacy is in grave danger”, the UN Secretary-General said, before reminding the forum that only last year, he launched his Disarmament Agenda – “Securing Our Common Future” – with 40 specific commitments to support disarmament.

His Agenda was a guide for action he noted, but also created to support Member States who have a “responsibility” to develop transparency and confidence-building tools that would help to “alleviate tensions and take us back from the nuclear brink”.

Such steps should take into account regional nuclear challenges, the Secretary-General maintained, as well as technological developments including cyber security, artificial intelligence and the next generation of hypersonic weapons that could be used to launch attacks at unprecedented speed.

While noting that a majority of Member States sought the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, he noted that the Conference on Disarmament – the world’s only multilateral disarmament negotiation forum – has not undertaken any disarmament negotiations in two decades.

This had resulted in arms control negotiations increasingly taking place elsewhere, including the UN General Assembly, or outside the United Nations framework, Mr. Guterres said.

“The history of this chamber is a cautionary tale,” he explained. “The failure of the Council of the League of Nations to grapple with the most pressing security challenges of its day was an important factor in its slide into irrelevance.”






the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

Our tourism system is broken – time to customize

Syria: UN health agency highlights ‘critical health threats’ facing Idlib civilians

Built by a woman: supporting the dreams of mum entrepreneurs

This is how we make cancer care sustainable and available for all

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

Zeid calls for ICC probe into Myanmar Rohingya crisis

End of plastic water bottles at European Parliament

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

Closing the trust gap: how responsible data use can accelerate a sustainable society

This brewery is ditching plastic six-pack rings to save marine life

The new general election will secure Greece’s position in Eurozone; at least for some time

2018 ‘terrifying’ for Yemenis but ultimately a ‘year for hope’ says UN Special Envoy

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

International trade statistics: trends in third quarter 2019

In Japan, if you’re 76 you’re biologically 65

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

The Five Chinese Girls

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Is this really it for the gig economy? Read on

Australia’s bushfires have pumped out half a year’s CO2 emissions

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

At COP24, countries agree concrete way forward to bring the Paris climate deal to life

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

Eritrea sanctions lifted amid growing rapprochement with Ethiopia: Security Council

How to outsmart bias when you’re recruiting

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

At last a good price for the Greek debt!

Electronic Cigarettes: A booster or alternative to Smoking?

How global tech can drive local healthcare innovation in China

3 strategies for Africa to thrive in this new era of globalization

Ambassador Zhang Ming: “Work Together for a Better Globalization”

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Bitpay @ TheNextWeb 2014: Innovation’s Best Friend

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

How migrants who send money home have become a global economic force

Coronavirus containment is the key, as infections tick up: Tedros

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

The European Sting live from the World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

How Greece was destroyed

Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest disappearing cities

Nearly $4 billion needed to protect 41 million children from conflict and disaster

E-Governance: A powerful tool to combat, mitigate and sustainably manage disaster risks

Banking on sustainability – what’s next?

Ebola fight ongoing amid evidence of ‘several massacres’ in DR Congo’s Ituri province

Methane levels are increasing – and scientists aren’t sure why

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

The 5 biggest challenges cities will face in the future

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

Parliament in favour of lifting visa requirements for Kosovars

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s