Ensuring world safety by reducing nuclear weapons
Humankind has so far avoided a second nuclear war, due in large part to United Nations activities for disarmament, in particular, the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. But the world remains a dangerous place: weapon supplies continue to grow; more people train for war every day; and the costs of the arms race continue to mount. Consider this: In 1945, after two atomic bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the Second World War (1939-1945) was over. Since then, the world has witnessed some 150 wars. These conflicts have cost more than 20 million lives, more than 80 per cent of them civilians. Though nobody has used nuclear weapons again, we now have at least seven “nuclear Powers”. The total stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world now amounts to some 15,000 megatons, roughly equivalent to more than 1 million Hiroshima bombs.

In 1945, more than 120,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Japan) by atomic bombs.

Now consider this: Take a minute to count from 1 to 60. By the time you finish, the world has lost about 25 to 30 children, most of them in the developing countries, to malnutrition, hunger and curable diseases. During the same time, the world has spent some $2.3 million for military purposes — or about $800 billion annually. Arms transfers to developing countries are estimated at some $30 billion a year. The accumulation of arms and economic development both require large-scale human and material resources. But since resources are limited, pursuing either process tends to be at the expense of the other. There is growing agreement that, in the long run, the world can either continue to pursue the arms race or achieve and sustain social and economic development for the benefit of all, but it will not be able to do both.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded. In 1996 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

General and complete disarmament — or gradual elimination of weapons of mass destruction — is one of the goals set by the United Nations. Its immediate objectives are to eliminate the danger of war, particularly nuclear war, and to implement measures to halt and reverse the arms race.



Some UN actions for disarmament
The Partial Test-Ban Treaty, 1963, prohibits nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space   and under water. The Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1968, prohibits the spread of nuclear weapons from nuclear to   non-nuclear countries. The Chemical Weapons Convention, 1992, prohibits use, manufacturing and stockpiling of   such weapons. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, 1996, bans all underground nuclear-test explosions.   The Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention, 1997, prohibits the use, stock-piling, production   and transfer of such mines.
36 Everything About the United Nations