September 26: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is observed on September 26.

Key facts

  • The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is observed to increase public awareness about the threat of nuclear weapons and the importance of their total elimination.
  • It provides the opportunity to educate general public and governments about the positive outcomes of eliminating the weapons of mass destruction and the social and economic costs of maintaining them.
  • The aim is to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons, which is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations.
  • The day involves UNGA member states, civil societies, academia, parliamentarians, mass media and individuals creating awareness about the adverse impact of nuclear weapons.

Background

Nuclear disarmament was the focus of the UNGA’s first resolution in 1946, which established the Atomic Energy Commission with the mandate to make specific proposals for the control of nuclear energy and eliminate Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Atomic Energy Commission was dissolved in 1952. In 1959, the UNGA endorsed the objective of complete nuclear disarmament.  In 1978, the Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament recognized that nuclear disarmament should be a priority in the field of disarmament. The resolution to declare the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by the UNGA in December 2013, as a follow up to the high-level meeting of the UNGA on nuclear disarmament held on September 26, 2013. It has been observed since 2014.

Nuclear weapon disarmament status

The world currently hosts over 12,705 nuclear weapons. Countries hosting these weapons have well-funded, long-term strategies to modernize these weapons.  More than 50 per cent of the global population are living in countries that either have these weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. Not even one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed according to a disarmament treaty. There are no nuclear disarmament negotiations taking place presently.

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