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UN Appointment A Milestone

January 10, 2008

UN Appointment A Milestone

The appointment of Dr Kate Dewes to the UN's advisory board on disarmament is hailed as an international milestone for this country.

Dr Dewes, a veteran peace and disarmament campaigner and coordinator of the Peace Foundation Disarmament & Security Centre in Christchurch, has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to his Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.

New Zealand Peace Foundation president Bob Harvey says the significance of the appointment cannot be under-estimated.

“For decades New Zealand has had a solid and hard-working core of peace campaigners, working at the grass roots,” he says. “Kate has been one of those.”

“And internationally New Zealand has, through things like our non-nuclear stance, been viewed as progressive and free-thinking.”

“But this appointment raises New Zealand’s credibility on the world stage even higher.”

Mr Harvey is also Mayor of Waitakere City which, last year, declared itself a Peace City. In 1998 he was acknowledged by UNESCO for his work as an active member of the international “Mayors For Peace” organisation.

“The peace movement will be the next great global movement,” he says.

“Issues of the environment and sustainability are now ingrained into the consciousness of people around the world and peace and disarmament are, I believe, going to be the major drivers for global change over the next decade.”

Dr Dewes will have three main roles with the UN:

1) To advise the Secretary-General on matters within the area of arms limitation and disarmament;
2) To serve as the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), based in Geneva;
3) To advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the UN Disarmament Information Programme.

Dr Dewes will attend her first meeting in New York 20-22 February, and then in Geneva in July.

“My hope is that I will also be able to support the NZ Government’s efforts to revive progress in the struggle for a nuclear weapon-free world, following their recent success in sponsoring a UN resolution calling for the de-alerting of all nuclear weapons,” says Dr Dewes.

ENDS

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