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26 August 2021
International Day against Nuclear Tests—August 29

This Sunday, August 29, is the annual International Day against Nuclear Tests, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly to increase awareness about the devastating effects nuclear testing poses to humans, animals, and the environment. The day is an opportunity for civil society activism to drive global action on nuclear disarmament and a nuclear-weapons-free world, as we heard earlier this month during UNA-NCA’s joint event with All Souls Church, Unitarian of Washington, DC on Toward a Nuclear Weapons-Free World: Ethics, Social Justice, and Civil Society Activism [watch the video, read the summary, and discover resources]. 

In his keynote remarks, René Holbach from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) described how eliminating nuclear weapons and ending nuclear testing are among the UN’s highest priorities for disarmament. 

“The nuclear menace is once again on the rise,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in last year’s message for the Day. “A complete ban on nuclear testing is an essential step in preventing the qualitative and quantitative improvement of nuclear weapons and in achieving nuclear disarmament.” 

The Day reflects the power of civil society activism. The date of August 29 commemorates the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear-testing site in 1991 in response to a strong social movement in Kazakhstan demanding an immediate stop to nuclear testing.

Want to be part of this year’s global activities to commemorate the Day? Discover advocacy opportunities suggested by panelists and compiled by UNA-NCA Peace and Security members in the summary for our August 3 event on Toward a Nuclear Weapons-Free World: Ethics, Social Justice, and Civil Society Activism

The United Nations also provides the following opportunities for you to engage and take action in support of ending nuclear testing.

#StepUp4Disarmament Youth Campaign

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) invites individuals aged 18 to 29 to walk or run 8.29 km on August 29 as part of its #StepUp4Disarmament Youth Campaign and to share their voices online about what disarmament means to them and their communities. Participants who register online can download special “race bibs” and will receive a certificate. 

UNODA Web Talk: Stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On August 27, UNODA will host speakers from the international disarmament community, academia, and civil society to share stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This free event is open to the public and will be held online via Microsoft Teams. Register today

25th Anniversary of Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty 

The UN has been urging countries to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) during this 25th anniversary year of its adoption so that a global ban on nuclear explosions can enter into force and become legally binding worldwide. The treaty prohibits nuclear explosions underground, underwater, on land, and in the atmosphere. At last month’s CTBT Science and Technology Conference, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi stressed the importance of the CTBT in his remarks: “The ban on nuclear testing is not a treaty of the past but a treaty of the future.” Did you know its global monitoring system data are also used to support natural disaster warnings and research on climate change? Learn more on the CTBTO website. Explore which countries have ratified the treaty using this interactive map. Take a virtual tour of the Semipalatinsk former nuclear test site.

UN Stamps for the 25th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty

The UN will issue a special event sheet of 10 stamps to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Look for the stamps beginning August 27 on unstamps.org.

Let’s Keep the Conversation Going within UNA-NCA

How are you commemorating the Day? Would you like to contribute a quote or perspective on nuclear disarmament or ending nuclear testing for use in a future UNA-NCA Express article? Send your contributions of up to 200 words to: rdopplick@unanca.org