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Positive Steps Within Reach Despite Setbacks

UN’s Top Disarmament Official Says Despite The Dangers, ‘Positive Steps’ Are Within Reach

New York, Oct 3 2006 1:00PM

Despite various setbacks this year in global security, including failures to comply with non-proliferation commitments, growing terrorist threats, and new dangers in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, the United Nations top disarmament official has said the world must realize it is not powerless in the face of such challenges.

“It is important to all bodies of our disarmament machinery to remind the world not only of the dangers that threaten us, but also that we are not powerless in the face of them; that practical, positive steps were within our reach,” Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs told the General Assembly First Committee on disarmament and international security on Monday.

He said there were also achievements over the past 12 months, including the Assembly’s adoption of a major convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism and a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, although he acknowledged that more work was needed and it was not enough simply to anguish over who was to blame for global insecurity.

“We must work together to build bridges over the divisions that remain,” he said, referring to the Committee, adding that it must be more than a forum for reciting policy statements.

Representatives from eight countries made statements during the debate, which is continuing today and which covers all aspects of disarmament affairs, including nuclear, conventional and biological weapons.

On a separate issue, the Assembly’s Third Committee on social, humanitarian and cultural issues was warned on Monday by José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs that rising income inequality within countries has become “a global pandemic”.

He told the Committee, which is continuing its debate today, that it bore a “crucial responsibility” to raise the profile of development issues, adding that “development” referred not only to progress in developing countries, but to the development of all societies, rich or poor.

The UN’s development agenda, crystallized in the Millennium Development Goals, represented a road map towards a better future for all, said Mr. Ocampo, but added that achieving this vision of eradicating a host of social ills by 2015 would depend on forging meaningful links between social and economic policies.

Representatives from 13 countries spoke during the debate on Monday.


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