Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Honourable Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at Event to Commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Friday, 2 October 2020
At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this event to commemorate the international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions in lives, livelihoods, and economies.
However, the pandemic has taught us an important lesson that human lives are more precious than anything else.
In nine months, we have lost over a million lives to the pandemic. But, we can lose more lives within a wink of an eye in case of a nuclear explosion- whether accidental or intentional.
The scientific race for vaccines has kept our hope alive to win the war against this virus. But no vaccine would save us from the nuclear catastrophe. Death, destruction, and devastation would be much more severe, inhumane, and indiscriminate- both for the present and future generations.
Despite this, it is ironic that huge amount is spent on nuclear weapons every year, which is much higher than official development assistance to the neediest and poorest countries.
It is time to reflect on where our investment should be:
– On nuclear weapons or poverty reduction?
– On eternal annihilation or environmental conservation?
Answer to these questions is plain and simple. We need to focus on the security and wellbeing of our people and humanity at large.
The dividend of disarmament should be diverted to achieving SDGs.
A small fraction of the costs of armament could save millions from hunger and disease; and can supply safe drinking water and basic health services.
More diplomatic efforts can be devoted to the protection of environment, trade promotion, and economic development if we all abide by nuclear disarmament regimes including NPT, CTBT, and TPNW.
To conclude, Mr. President, I reaffirm Nepal’s principled position that universal peace and security can only be ensured through a time-bound, general and complete disarmament of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
Nepal believes that the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the complete disarmament of nuclear weapons are two sides of the same coin.
Nuclear technology should be harnessed for peaceful purposes of promoting health care, increasing agricultural productivity and saving lives.
The world will never be a safer place as long as specter of nuclear weapons looms large.