UN Secretary-General António Guterres - Conference on Disarmament - 26 February 2024
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UN Secretary-General António Guterres - Conference on Disarmament - 26 February 2024

UN Secretary-General António Guterres' statement (continuity) during the High-level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament and photos.

Mr President, Your Excellency Ambassador Fabri and Rudyard
Excellencies. Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
The conference and the bodies that preceded it took
shape at a time of maximum global division.
The Cold War.
A moment in human history when, for the first time,
we face the possibility of total annihilation
From the start,
this conference and its predecessors were supposed to be
the antidote to the poison of division and diplomatic paralysis
that blocked meaningful disarmament
for many years. These bodies played an essential role
in drafting the agreements that form the backbone
of the global disarmament agenda.
The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,
the conventions on biological and chemical weapons
and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
These victories for peace
were hard fought and hard won,
but they were not miracles.
They happened because countries recognise that
the key to disarmament could be found
in Cooper operation for mutual benefit,
not competition
for mutual destruction.
But we need to face facts
for some time now.
This conference
has not been able to function as intended.
In fact,
the conference is failing in relation
to its very objective.
And this failure is happening as global trust is falling apart, and because of it,
geopolitical divides, relentless arms competition
and the erosion of frameworks
have created a total deadlock.
We are witnessing the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons
and the use of explosive devices in populated areas.
Militaries are developing terrifying new applications
of new and emerging technologies,
including artificial intelligence
and autonomous weapons systems.
An arms race in outer space has moved from speculation
to real possibility,
a prospect with potentially catastrophic consequences.
And the nuclear shadow that loomed over humanity last century
has returned
with a vengeance.
The nuclear risk
is higher than at any moment
since the depth of the Cold War.
And some
statements regularly imply full preparation to unleash nuclear hell.
An outrageous threat that the world must condemn with clarity and force,
and the vital norms and standards against the proliferation, testing
and use of nuclear weapons are being
In fact,
the frustration of a majority of states at the slow pace of disarmament
led to the negotiation on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
I repeat my call to accelerate the
implementation of all nuclear disarmament commitments,
including under the treaty on the non proliferation of nuclear weapons
and to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force.
The world must no longer be held hostage by these devices of death.
The great tragedy is that in the middle of this crisis,
the failure of this conference
to reach its objectives
as intended
has contributed to a growing sense of cynicism
about multilateral solutions.
looks wrong.
If a disarmament conference leads to no meaningful disarmament
year after year,
humanity needs the Conference on Disarmament to work successfully.
The paralysis and deadlock
have come to define it
something that is not acceptable.
The conference
must be reformed
and this is one of the several areas of work
under the proposed new agenda for Peace.
The agenda places the tools of prevention and disarmament
at the heart of global peace and security architecture.
It includes new strategies and approaches to deal with the nuclear, chemical,
biological and autonomous weapons system
that threaten
our future.
It recognises the risks in our technology driven digital world
where it is all too easy to weaponize new domains against one another.
It calls for reforming the UN bodies
and institutions that underpin the global peace,
security and disarmament regimes
from the United Nations Security Council
to this very conference.
And I commend you for discussing the revitalization of this conference this week.
We are calling for a new intergovernmental process and the General Assembly
to develop reforms to disarmament bodies, including the conference.
And we hope this could lead to 1/4 special
session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.
And I look forward to the September summit of the future
where member states will table their ideas and solutions
on the future of our peace efforts and institutions,
including this Conference
Excellence. Mi
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
to all the members of this conference, I urge you
stop contributing to the cynicism around multilateral action.
Start contributing to solutions that actually move us closer to a peaceful world.
Despite the current diplomatic deadlock,
the central premise behind this conference remains as vital as ever.
The most effective disarmament tool is inclusive diplomacy.
We need that diplomacy now.
you have the power to deliver it
and change this organisation for the better.
The United Nations will continue doing everything we can
to support this process of reform and change,
So let's get to work,
let us deliver
a revitalised conference on disarmament that can play
a constructive part in building a more peaceful,
stable world. Thank you.