The world-wide observance of the fourth annual International Day against Nuclear Tests is being marked today, 29 August 2013. 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 5 September in the format of an Informal Meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, convened by the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Vuk Jeremić, 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, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Asset Issekeshev, 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 Austria to the United Nations, Ambassador Martin Sajdik; Executive Secretary, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Dr. Lassina Zerbo; Representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the United Nations, Mr. Geoffrey Shaw, and Immediate Past-President, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Co-Vice President for North America, International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, Dr. Andrew S. Kanter. The panelists are expected to cover some key issues, such as necessary 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 Costa Rica to the United Nations, Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri.
On the occasion of the observance of the Day, an exhibition entitled, "Peace Now: Abolish Nuclear Tests and Weapons", organized by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information, will also be held on September 4 - 8 in the Main Corridor on the First Floor of the Conference Building of the United Nations. This exhibition will portray the paintings of the world renowned Kazakh artist, Mr. Karipbek Kuyukov, who paints only with his feet, being a victim of the effects of nuclear radiation. His art depicts the triumph of the human spirit over the horrors of nuclear testing. He is the designated Ambassador of the ATOM (Abolish Testing Our Mission) Project of Kazakhstan and has received international acclaim for his committed and tireless advocacy to achieve total nuclear abolition. The exhibition will be inaugurated on Wednesday, 4 September 2013, at 6 p.m.
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."
The complete programme line-up can be found at: http://www.un.org/en/events/againstnucleartestsday/2013/events.shtml
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