Hello from UNITAR: No Magic Solution

by Yoko Morita, UNITAR Hiroshima Office

On 6 August, the UNITAR Hiroshima Office and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs jointly held a panel discussion event on challenges and opportunities related to disarmament. The panelists, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Mr. Masahiko Asada, Professor at Kyoto University; Mr. Heigo Sato, Professor at Takushoku University; and Ms. Yukie Osa, Professor at Rikkyo University, discussed the UN’s new Agenda for Disarmament, titled “Securing Our Common Future.”

The agenda addresses three areas of disarmament: weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, in “Disarmament to Save Humanity,” conventional weapons in “Disarmament to Save Lives,” and emerging methods of warfare in “Disarmament for Future Generations.” The panelists agreed that there is no magic solution to prolonged and complex conflicts. Precisely because of this, they called on audience members to do whatever they can to contribute to disarmament and conflict resolution.

Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu stressed that there are many ways to do so. She raised the examples of European governments researching the pros and cons of joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and Google stating that it would no longer allow the artificial intelligence technology it develops to be used in military weapons. She stressed that in order to change policies, it is necessary to raise public awareness, along with promoting open-mindedness and education on disarmament.

(Originally published on August 14, 2018)