Remarks by Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly at the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)

Must read

4 October 2022

[ As delivered]

Your Excellency Ambassador Pieris,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very much honored to address the First Committee at this pivotal moment for international disarmament and security.

Our times are far from ordinary.  The significance of your joint work is extraordinary.

We are confronted with unprecedented, interlinked crises, the ramifications of which profoundly affect all aspects of our lives. As these impacts keep testing the crisis management capabilities of our societies, we feel that business-as-usual approach and postponing responses to strengthen international security is becoming extremely dangerous.

There are some 30 armed conflicts going on in the world, and none of them show the signs of improvement. The most consequential among them is the war in Ukraine. Its impact has reached nearly every country in the world.

The world out there is expecting improvements in the general atmosphere, assurances that the worst-case scenarios would be excluded. Let us not forget about that.

Is the accelerating arms race improving security and well-being?

Simple question and I think the answer should also be simple.

In spite of the many other challenges they are facing, our governments continue to increase military spending while people struggle to buy food, educate their children or heat their homes.

I know many states would tell you that they are compelled to invest in defense now because war and annexing the land of one’s neighbor have apparently returned to the toolbox of settling disputes. I hear and I understand to a certain extent such arguments.

In the long run, arming ourselves with new, even more devastating and even more expensive weapons is a path, quite frankly, to self-destruction.

The answer to this dilemma has been provided by the developments in the last 6 months.

We are witnessing the melt-down of key components of the arms control system built during decades, resulting in the decline of the international stability and security.

This is a trend which must be reversed.

Is it within this First Committee’s power to significantly contribute to flipping the paradigm?

In a year increasingly marked by deadlock, the world is looking to us to make breakthroughs. To find solutions.

We need a UN that is better prepared for transformation and crisis management, and more effective in these fields than it used to be. So who if not us? Who if not you and your governments? When if not now?

Dear delegates,

Please, make extra efforts to focus on the most burning issues!

I am aware that the Committee has much on its plate.

From the immediate threats of nuclear disaster to surmounting the dysfunction that is plaguing the disarmament machinery.

You are tasked with safeguarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, and addressing both cybercrime and the arms race in outer space.

During this session you will also address landmark legal frameworks, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

I acknowledge that the list is long, and that focus can be easily lost.

When if not now, when progress is vital? Progress through action is possible and now is the time to achieve it.

On nuclear threats, we simply must not allow international tensions to escalate to the point of no return.

We cannot afford to undermine the credibility of the NPT and the nuclear disarmament architecture.

I also encourage you to do the hard work to finding a path to dialogue.

Too many lives are at stake.

Après des décennies d’efforts visant à promouvoir le désarmement, il est incompréhensible que les armes de destruction massive soient encore une menace imminente.

(French translation: After decades of efforts to promote disarmament, it is unimaginable that weapons of mass destruction remain an impending threat.)

Я призываю вас сделать так, чтобы эти самые смертоносные творения человечества никогда больше не использовались и не производились, и чтобы они никогда не попали в руки мошенников или террористов.

(Russian translation: I call on you now to ensure that these deadliest creations of humanity are never used or produced again, and that they never land in the hands of rogue users or terrorists.)

أصحاب السعادة،

تتسبب الأسلحة الصغيرة والأسلحة الخفيفة كل عام فيما يقارب من نصف الوفيات

الناجمة عن العنف في العالم.

(Arabic translation: Excellencies, Small arms and light weapons cause nearly half of the world’s violent deaths each year. )

We understand how quickly a local threat can turn global.

True security will never be attained and preserved without adequate transparency and oversight over small arms and light weapons.

The world is expecting us to act and find tangible solutions in this field.

Dear colleagues,

Peace can only be built on the basis of full respect for human rights.

It is time for male-dominated global discussions on disarmament and non-proliferation to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.

Women’s voices must be heard so that we could return to a path of conciliation and dialogue, fulfill our disarmament commitments and tailor targeted solutions for those in need.

In this critical moment, I am asking the First Committee to lead the way in solving the most pressing problems of our world.

Of breaking any deadlock. And moving forward together.

I pledge to work with you all as you get this work, crucial to our survival, underway. Today.

I thank you.


More articles

Latest article