Disarmament: making the world a safer place together

Disarmament: can only work together

Disarmament: can only work together, © Thomas Imo/photothek.net

16.09.2019 - Article

Multilateral cooperation is a success story. The Non‑Proliferation Treaty and the resolute action to combat small arms make abundantly clear that we can only respond to pressing questions together.

Cornerstone of nuclear arms control

Negotiated amid considerable opposition in the 1960s, it today serves as a prime example of successful international cooperation: the Non‑Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nuclear order.

Without the Treaty, many more states would be in possession of nuclear weapons today. It would have been impossible to counter open or clandestine nuclear programmes. The risks of civilian reactor technology which is now operating without enrichment and reprocessing almost everywhere would be dangerously high, the safeguarding standards considerably lower. In short, the world would be a less safe place.

Cooperation on nuclear safety - IAEA

Successes such as the Non‑Proliferation Treaty do not just happen. They are the fruit of dogged international engagement - spanning decades. At the heart of the multilateral nuclear order is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) founded in 1957. Here, states work closely together in the interest of nuclear safety as part of the United Nations system.

Having concluded 300 safeguards agreements, installed 1500 cameras, carried out 3000 inspections worldwide and analysed more than a million documents, the IAEA is performing multilateral work which tangibly increases our security. Today, the organisation plays a central role in monitoring the nuclear agreement with Iran. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

A return to nuclear disarmament

#MultilateralismMatters© AA

Next year the Non‑Proliferation Treaty celebrates its 50th anniversary. It is time to write the next chapter in this success story. The current challenges are huge: in many parts of the world, nothing is being done in terms of nuclear disarmament. In North Korea, nuclear weapons tests are being performed repeatedly, Iran is threatening not to comply with the obligations laid down in the nuclear agreement. Rivalry between the nuclear powers is intensifying. While the nuclear arsenals dating back to the Cold War were initially decimated, this trend has been stagnating for years. We now need to find our way back to nuclear disarmament.

Together combating the misuse of small arms

It is not just nuclear weapons that show that we can only make the world safer if we work together. Every year more than 500,000 people lose their lives as a result of the misuse of small arms. Only global control of small arms can halt this cycle of violence. If we work together to combat illegal flows of ammunition, we can remove the fuel from the fires of international conflict.

That is why the world agreed on the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the United Nations. These rules that the international community drew up together have the potential to save lives and prevent war and conflict, displacement and forced migration in many parts of the world.


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