Key nations urged to ratify nuclear test ban treaty amid rising global tensions

Amid escalating global mistrust, the United Nations renewed its urgent call on Tuesday for an end to all nuclear testing, terming the situation a potential “collective suicide.” Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the dire urgency, stating that nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are stockpiled globally, with nations working assiduously to improve their accuracy and reach.

On the occasion of International Day against Nuclear Tests, Guterres emphasized the need for key nations to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). He described the CTBT as a “fundamental step” toward eradicating nuclear weapons. The treaty, which has been open for signature since 1996, awaits ratification from eight specific nuclear technology holder countries, including the United States, China, and India.

Csaba Kőrösi, President of the UN General Assembly, seconded the Secretary-General’s message, urging the immediate, unconditional ratification of the treaty by remaining countries. Kőrösi warned of increasing global dangers, citing, in particular, the regular threats of resorting to nuclear action in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Kőrösi advocated for a human-centered approach to disarmament, stating that investment in nuclear arms runs counter to the global pledges of achieving a more sustainable future. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty stands as an unfinished global task that urgently needs to be addressed.

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests, observed every year on August 29, marks the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1991. This test site had been the largest in the former Soviet Union and was the site of more than 450 nuclear tests over four decades. The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) commemorated the day with a #StepUp4Disarmament symbolic walk at UN Headquarters, advocating for a world free from the menace of nuclear weapons.