International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness: Kazakhstan’s Significant Role

ASTANA – Kazakhstan is one of the acknowledged world leaders in non-proliferation with a vast experience in nuclear disarmament. Kazakhstan is known as a peaceful country, prioritizing the idea of achieving and maintaining peace.

Photo credit: UN

In the past, Kazakhstan was home to one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites, the Semipalatinsk test site, where the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan voluntarily gave up its nuclear arsenal, becoming a non-nuclear-weapon state and a staunch supporter of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament efforts. 

“Disarmament and non-proliferation are critical not only to a peaceful future, but to our very existence,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his March 1 message for the second International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness.

“Global leaders must invest in peace by strengthening the systems and tools that prevent the proliferation and use of deadly weapons — including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — and by developing disarmament solutions. The proposed New Agenda for Peace includes new strategies and approaches to eliminate the threats posed by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and other emerging dangers, such as autonomous weapons systems. On this important day, let us speak with one loud, clear and united voice. It is time to stop the madness. We need disarmament now,” he said.

The International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Awareness aims to deepen the global public’s understanding of how disarmament efforts enhance peace and security, prevent and end armed conflicts, and curb human suffering caused by weapons.

Nuclear disarmament is an unchanging priority of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, said Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu at the high-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Feb. 27.

This year, Kazakhstan will chair two multilateral forums: the Second Preparatory Committee of the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the third meeting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The country will also be hosting a meeting of representatives from all nuclear-weapon-free zones. 

Nurtleu also called on the conference delegations to work together to implement the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to create an International Agency for Biological Safety.

During the meetings with UN officials, Nurtleu also discussed Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament, strengthening the non-proliferation regime of weapons of mass destruction, creating the International Agency for Biosafety, as well as the Regional Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan. 

It should be noted that President Tokayev proposed to establish a special multilateral body – the International Agency for Biological Safety (IABS), based on the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2020. 

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