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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

27 August 2021

ESCAP

Excellency, Ms. Raushan Yesbulatova, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan,

Excellency, Mr. Nadhavathna Krishnamra, Director-General, Department of International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand,

Excellency, Mr. Bernardo Cordova Tello, Ambassador of Mexico,

Excellency, Mrs. Eva Hager, Ambassador of Austria,

Mr. Akima Umezawa, Minister of the Embassy of Japan,

Mr. James Andersen, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of New Zealand,

Ms. Thobeka Dlamini, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa,

Excellencies, distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, three decades after the closure of the Semipalatinsk site in Kazakhstan, we are commemorating the International Day against Nuclear Tests to raise public awareness about the effects of nuclear testing on the health of people, the environment and ecosystems. It is also a day to remember the victims and survivors of nuclear testing and the legacy of the production of nuclear weapons, including nuclear waste.

Long-lasting consequences of past incidents remind us of what horrors nuclear weapons and tests can inflict. This is a history we cannot afford to repeat. The adverse environmental and humanitarian impacts of these tests are still felt today. These tests threaten the safety and health of our current and future generations as well as the very existence of humanity.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has suspended the nuclear arms race and made it more challenging for it to re-start. Before the CTBT in 1996, more than 2,000 nuclear tests took place, of which more than 450 of them happened at the Semipalatinsk site. Since the CTBT instituted the international norm against nuclear testing, there have been just ten tests since-, all of which were in the Asia-Pacific region.

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests allows us to reiterate the demands of most countries and people to outlaw all such experiments and press countries to ratify the CTBT without delay. The Treaty must enter into force as it holds governments accountable and lessens tension between nuclear-weapon states.

Today is a day to remind ourselves to work together to overcome the potential threat of nuclear weapons and establish a broad set of norms against nuclear testing. It is also a day to strengthen our commitment to strive for a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

As we celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations last year, it is crucial to uphold its founding principles of promoting peace and stability. Likewise, as ESCAP will be celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary next year, we will continue to maintain our commitment to promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the region and beyond

To conclude, I would like to reiterate our dedication to supporting every effort that ends nuclear tests to avoid the devastating and harmful effects they have on the lives and health of people and the environment. This important day must inspire us to be united for peace and stability and shared prosperity as well as environmental sustainability in the region.

Thank you very much.

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