“The first resolution approved by the General Assembly in 1946 already reflected the will to ‘eliminate atomic weapons from national armaments, as well as all other weapons capable of causing significant collective destruction.’ Seventy-six years later, we have not yet achieved the objectives of that resolution. When commemorating this International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we are facing the highest level of nuclear risk in almost four decades”. Message of the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, for this day in 2021.
Achieving nuclear disarmament worldwide is one of the oldest objectives of the United Nations and, in fact, in addition to being the subject of the first resolution approved by the General Assembly, it has been part of its agenda since 1959, along with complete, general disarmament. However, according to the UN as of today there are about 14 thousand nuclear weapons stored around the world and “although there have been significant reductions in nuclear weapons deployed since the height of the Cold War, not a single nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed in accordance with any treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and there are no negotiations underway on this issue”.
The global situation was the basis for the UN General Assembly to designate September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in 2013, with the intention of being an opportunity for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to uphold nuclear disarmament as a priority worldwide. As the UN Secretary General expresses, “these weapons are not a problem of the past. Today they continue to pose a threat. Despite our progress, humanity remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation”.