UNODA in Vienna commemorates the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
On September 30, 2019, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in Vienna and the NGO Committee on Peace (Vienna) co-organized an event in the Vienna International Centre, honouring the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The event was organised to raise public awareness about the threats that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and the urgency to eliminate them once and for all.
The event started with a video message from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who noted that: “Nuclear weapons present an unacceptable danger to humanity. The only real way to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
His remarks were followed by a welcome speech from Dr. Klaus Renolder of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security (Vienna), who underscored the need for elimination of nuclear weapons by detailing the medical and humanitarian consequences of the use of these weapons, including nuclear famine which could kill billions of people.
H.E. Mr. Thomas Hajnoczi, Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at the Foreign Affairs Federal Ministry of Austria, shared concerns about the current challenges to global disarmament. At the same time, he expressed hope because he witnessed positive actions by the international community towards nuclear disarmament.
H.E. Mr. Alejandro Edmundo Solano Ortiz, Permanent Mission of Cost Rica to the United Nations (Vienna), whose country abolished armed forces seven decades ago, called for joint efforts from the international community for nuclear disarmament.
H.E. Ms. Alicia Guadalupe Buenrostro Massieu, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations (Vienna), stated that Mexico has been promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for decades.
Finally, Ms. Nathalie Mayer, a Youth Group Representative of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, gave voice to youth perspectives on the issue. She shared her experiences with cooperating with high school teachers to add nuclear non-proliferation education in their courses, in order to raise the awareness of teenagers and inspire them to participate in global nuclear disarmament affairs.
The United Nations Choir Vienna performed at the opening and the closing of the fruitful event, which ended with a peace bell ceremony at the Vienna International Centre.