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

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The issue of global nuclear disarmaments has been a long-time profound concern of the United Nations. Accordingly, the first resolution of the United Nations’ General Assembly which established the Atomic Energy Commission (dissolved in 1952), was adopted in 1946. The Atomic Energy Commission was mandated to make specific proposals for the control of nuclear energy and the elimination of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.

Since then, achieving global nuclear disarmament goal has been a priority for every United Nations Secretary-General. United Nations has, relentlessly, taken initiatives that encourage nuclear disarmaments. In December 2013, the General Assembly adopted resolution 68/32 declaring 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The Day coincides with the meeting of the General Assembly’s High Level on nuclear disarmament held on 26 September 2013, in New York.

Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. A nuclear device no larger than a conventional bomb can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation, according to the United Nations. So far, two atomic bombs have been deployed in war, by the United States against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II destroying the two cities and killing an estimated number of 213,000 people immediately.

According to the United Nations (UN), “…today around 13,080 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-term plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals.” More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances, the world body declares. The UN, also, states that while the number of deployed nuclear weapons has appreciably declined since the height of the Cold War, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty. In addition, no nuclear disarmament negotiations are currently underway.

Nuclear weapons are not only destructive but highly costly too, according to an article by Yoni Blumberg titled-Here’s how much a nuclear weapon costs- “The U.S. nuclear program provides a more reliable picture of cost, though not all nuclear development information is public. In ‘Atomic Audit,’ published in 1998, Stephen I. Schwartz claimed the U.S. had spent $5 trillion since 1940 on developing and maintaining its nuclear arsenal.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/heres-how-much-a-nuclear-weapon-costs.html)

In another publication titled-The costs of U.S. nuclear weapons- based on the 1998 book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940, it is shown that the U.S. devoted through 1996 $5.5 trillion representing 29 percent of all military spending from 1940 through 1996 ($18.7 trillion).

To enable the reader to appreciate the magnitude of these figures, the article submitted the following illustrations:

  • “$5.8 trillion divided equally among everyone living in the United States equals a bit more than $21,000 per person.
  • $5.8 trillion in one dollar bills stacked one atop another would stretch 459,361 miles (739,117 kilometers), to the Moon and nearly back.
  • If you attempted to count $5.8 trillion at the rate of $1 a second, it would take almost 12 days to reach $1 million, nearly 32 years to reach $1 billion, 31,709 years to reach $1 trillion and thus about 184,579 years to reach $5.8 trillion.” (https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/costs-us-nuclear-weapons/)

Paradoxically, around the world, millions of people are dying of hunger and preventable diseases. Millions of others do not have shelters or jobs. At this very moment, African countries are crying for covid-19 vaccines but to no avail. Due to poverty and unemployment, many disillusioned and despaired young Africans are leaving the shores of their continent, at the peril of their lives, to seek greener pastures elsewhere. With the tragedy of illegal migrations, every day comes with its cohorts of dead and maimed able and energetic young Africans. The world will be more united and peaceful if all these moneys dedicated to armaments in the name of a so-called the doctrine of nuclear deterrence are divested from preparing for war and in its place used to satisfy the basic needs of human beings i.e., shelters, foods, healthcare etc.

On this occasion of the commemoration of the International Day for the Total Eliminations of nuclear weapons, the Africa Participatory Governance Forum-APGF calls on all well-meaning Africans to joins the movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons everywhere in the world.

All for a World devoid of nuclear weapons!

S. DRAME

(drame7g7@gmail.com)

Africa Participatory Governance Forum

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