Secretary-General Ban Calls for Nuclear Disarmament “Progress on the Ground”

October 24, 2011– “We know that the world of tomorrow is shaped by the decisions we make today. A world free of nuclear weapons is a concrete possibility,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the high-level conference commemorating United Nations Day co-organized by the EastWest Institute, the Global Security Institute and the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation.

The conference marked the three year anniversary of the release of the Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal, a comprehensive agenda for eliminating nuclear weapons.

» Download “Nuclear Disarmament: Compass Point for Progress and Accountability,” the conference description and program

In his keynote presentation, Mr. Ban emphasized the need for increased transparency and accountability, as well as the urgent need to strengthen the rule of law in nuclear disarmament obligations, and reiterated his 2008 call for work on a nuclear weapons convention.

Watch the entirety of the Secretary-General’s presentation:


» Download the full transcript of the Secretary-General’s presentation

Other panelists echoed the sense of urgency expressed by Mr. Ban. General (ret.) Michael Moseley, former Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, sees an unprecedented opportunity for disarmament: faced with an aging nuclear stockpile, emerging cyber warfare threats and increased proliferation challenges, “the time is right to re-double our efforts,” Gen. Moseley said.

  Secretary-General with J Granoff, J Mroz, F Finlay, R Karam
John Edwin Mroz (EWI), Francis Finlay (EWI), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Jonathan Granoff (GSI), and Raymond Karam (EWI)

As the Chairman of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Advisory Group to Revitalize the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan on Disarmament, Hon. Mani Shankar Aiyar
of India called upon his government to take a lead in global abolition efforts. The report of his group identified a series of general arguments in favor of abolition, as well as 19 “India-specific reasons” why the time has come to advance the non-discriminatory, universal, and legally enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons.

» Download the RGAP report, which includes the testimonies made to the Group by GSI President Jonathan Granoff, MPI Founding Chairman Douglas Roche, MPI Chairman Richard Butler AC and PNND Global Coordinator Alyn Ware.

In his plenary presentation, Jonathan Granoff warned that “Failure to achieve greater progress in fulfilling the moral and practical imperative (of nuclear disarmament) will result in cynicism toward the most important tool the world presently has to ensure peace– solemnly negotiated and agreed upon commitments.” He argued that political commitments, such as those contained in NPT Review Conference documents, are subject to backsliding in the absence of institutionalized processes that are focused on the elimination of nuclear weapons. He emphasized the importance of furthering international humanitarian law’s applicability to nuclear weapons. (See, for instance, the upcoming article by Dean Granoff and Jonathan Granoff, “International Humanitarian law and Nuclear Weapons: Irreconcilable Differences” in the forthcoming edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.)

» Read the entirety of “Pacta Sunt Servanda,” Mr. Granoff’s presentation

The need to institutionalize processes of abolition was a theme picked up in the presentation by MPI Chairman Ambassador Richard Butler, who called on states, particularly middle power governments, to begin the process of articulating the frameworks, institutions and processes that will be required to ensure global security in a world without nuclear weapons.

Ambassador James Goodby replies to a question posed by Dr. John Burroughs (not pictured) regarding Ambassador Goodby’s proposal of a framework of instruments

The morning plenary sessions, which also included presentations former Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala, Dr. Tian Jianqun, Dr. William Potter and UN High Representative Sergio Duarte, were followed by afternoon breakout sessions focused on different aspects of the SG’s Five Point Proposal.

The Global Security Institute worked with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations to host a session focused on “Nuclear Weapons Convention or a Framework of Instruments: Exploring Proposals for Nuclear Disarmament,” featuring presentations by Ambassador James Goodby of the Hoover Institution, Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala of Pugwash, Ambassador Benno Laggner of Switzerland and Ambassador Bob Grey of the Bipartisan Security Group.

» Read a summary of the NWC workshop at the Swiss Mission

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) worked with the Permanent Mission of Germany to organize a breakout session on “Parliamentary Action Plans,” focusing on steps that parliamentarians can do to advance disarmament. (Report forthcoming.)

In acknowledgment of the importance of the day’s events, the Permanent Mission of India hosted a reception to honor the work of the co-sponsoring organizations, as well as the work of Mr. Shankar Aiyar.

PNND Council Member Mani Shankar Aiyar is honored by Ambassador Puri and Mr. Granoff

The evening began with an uplifting presentation by Deputy Permanent Representative Manjeev Singh Puri.

GSI is honored to have been so intimately involved with the work of this Advisory Group, whose report calls on the Indian Government to take a lead in global efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. The report adopts many recommendations advanced by GSI, including those presented by former MPI Chairman Douglas Roche and current Chairman Ambassador Richard Butler, at the Rajiv Gandhi Commemorative Conference in 2008 and published in the book “Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World,” edited by Dr. Manpreet Sethi, a member of the Advisory Group.

The report further demonstrates the influence of the personal testimony of PNND Coordinator Alyn Ware to the Advisory Group earlier this year, as well as the letter sent to Prime Minister Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi by the World Academy of Art and Science, which was based on GSI President Jonathan Granoff’s presentation to the WAAS in Delhi.

» View a photo gallery of the day’s events; vieiw more photos on Flickr 
» Read the report of the plenaries by the EastWest Institute
» Read the report of the event from the UN News Centre
» Read the report of Mr. Aiyar’s presentation published in The Economic Times
» Download “Nuclear Disarmament: Compass Point for Progress and Accountability,” the conference description and program
» Download the full transcript of the Secretary-General’s presentation
» Read the full transcript of EWI President John Edwin Mroz
» Read the full transcript of EWI Chairman Francis Finlay
» Read the full transcript of GSI President Jonathan Granoff
» Read the full transcript of General Michael Moseley
» Read the full transcript of CNS Director Dr. William Potter
» Read the full transcript of Mani Shankar Aiyar’s presentation
» Download the report of the Advisory Group to Revitalize the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan
» Read the full transcript of Ambassador James Goodby’s presentation
» Read a summary of the NWC workshop at the Swiss Mission
» Read a summary of the accountability workshop at the Kazakh Mission 

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