Reluctance by nuclear states challenges disarmament efforts

The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. National Today / Accessed from

18 October 2022

The First Committee’s thematic debate on nuclear weapons echoed widespread concerns but reflected little progress toward tangible solutions

The majority of nations who spoke during the thematic debate on nuclear weapons throughout the week chimed in with similar pleas, demands, and commitments. The push for non-proliferation and disarmament remained central, as states urged for increased support of existing treaties and agreements. Many representatives called on the eight countries in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Annex II to ratify the treaty so that it could be implemented as soon as possible. Kazakhstan’s representative stated that this action was “owed to the millions of testing victims and future generations” and pleaded that “humanity could not continue living under the dark shadow of nuclear warfare.”

Further support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) guidelines were also expressed by a multitude of nations. Representatives stressed the global threat posed by nuclear warfare; they have the power to impact people across long distances and over great lengths of time. Austria’s representative condemned nuclear states for their lack of concern: “The readiness to inflict catastrophic humanitarian consequences was abhorrent to morality and ethics.”

Despite the majority of states demonstrating dedication to protecting their citizens and innocent civilians across the globe, nuclear weapon-holding states’ reluctance to accept responsibility continued to prevent progress. The debate lacked motions towards negotiation and agreement—rather it was clouded by back-and-forth pointing of fingers. Resolutions can be proposed, but without the cooperation of nuclear-weapon states or the implementation of transformative accountability mechanisms, the threat of nuclear warfare may still remain imminent.

As exclaimed by Sri Lanka’s representative, nuclear weapons are a universal threat:

“The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking, control our behavior, administer our societies, inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. They are the ultimate colonizers.”

Nuclear weapons have the power to impact civilians on a broader level than many other forms of weaponry. Both accidental and intentional usage of these weapons can have catastrophic outcomes, as we saw in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The UN can not dance around this threat, and can not wait until another catastrophe to implement effective measures. 


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by Nicole Piusienski



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