From 29th to 31st August, in Astana (Kazakhstan), the international conference “Building a Nuclear Weapon Free World” was held and dedicated to the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
In one place parliamentarians, representatives of international organizations, civil activists, scholars as well as mayors and media from more than 50 fifty countries gathered. Nuclear disarmament was discussed amongst the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the current the Director-General of United Nations Office in Geneva, the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and the Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Michael Møller, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo and President of Inter-Parliamentary Union and PNND Co-President of Parliamentarians for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) Saber Chowdhury.
The forum was attended by the current President of the Pan-African Parliament Roger Nkodo Dang, the Vice President of Bulgaria, Margarita Popova, the current Speaker of Parliament and Honourable Senator of Rongelap Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kenneth KedI and the Deputy Speaker of the Fiji Parliament, Ruveni Nadalo among many other dignitaries.
The conference was organised in plenary session and four panel sessions on the themes: “Security without nuclear weapons or war: Manifesto “The World. The 21st century”,
“A nuclear test ban and the role of the UN in achieving nuclear disarmament”, “National prohibition and nuclear-weapons-free zones”, “Initiatives and campaigns – legislators, religious leaders and civil society”.
On 29th August 1991 the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, officially closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, which was a major site for testing nuclear weapons for the Soviet Union. It was one of the first steps in the history of world nuclear disarmament. It is worth noting that the people of Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the fourth largest nuclear arsenal and joined the Treaty on the comprehensive prohibition of nuclear tests.
In the 25 years of independence of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has initiated a number of initiatives in support of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. These have included the repatriation of all nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan to Russia for elimination, negotiations on a Zone free of nuclear weapons with other countries of Central Asia, the proposal of the UN General Assembly on the International day against nuclear tests, the creation of the ATOM project to teach the world about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the beginning of a universal Declaration for a world free of nuclear weapons which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015.
In the spring of 2016 Nursultan Nazarbayev acted in accordance with the Manifesto “The World. XXI Century”, which gained the status of official document of the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council. The Manifesto expresses the desire for a world without nuclear weapons that should be the main goal of humanity in the 21st century and must be achieved no later than the centennial anniversary of the United Nations in 2045.
The conference participants discussed the problems of disarmament and non-proliferation, expressed their proposals on the strengthening of international security. It was proposed to establish a prize for achievements in the field of nuclear disarmament.
The international conference was the adoption of the document “Vision of Astana from the radioactive darkness to a world without nuclear weapons.”
Parliamentarians, religious leaders, representatives of international organizations, scientists, doctors, lawyers and civil society representatives urged governments of all countries:
1. To sign and ratify the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban (CTBT), especially nuclear weapon states.
2. To initiate negotiations and substantive discussions in accordance with the 2010 adopted Programme of action for the Treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and the universal obligation to negotiate for complete nuclear disarmament, approved by the International court of justice in 1996.
3. To establish a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, in accordance with the agreements reached at the 1995 Conference on review and extension of the NPT and call on the UN Secretary-General to ensure the implementation of this decision; and to establish additional zones free from nuclear weapons, including North-East Asia, Europe and the Arctic.
4. To reduce the risks of the use of nuclear weapons by the withdrawal of all nuclear forces from a high operational readiness, adopting a policy of not using nuclear weapons first and refraining from any threat of use of nuclear weapons.
5. To comply fully with their obligations under the treaties and customary law in the achievement of “Nuclear Zero”.
6. To start in 2017, multilateral negotiations to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.
7. To support interim measures of the UN Security Council for nuclear disarmament, including nuclear test ban and choice of residential areas as targets for nuclear strikes.
8. To continue the development of methods and mechanisms of verification to ensure global nuclear disarmament, including through the International partnership for the verification of nuclear disarmament.
9. To exclude the calculation on nuclear deterrence in security doctrines and instead, to resolve international conflicts through diplomacy, law, regional mechanisms, the UN and other means.
10. All nuclear-weapon States to make deep reductions in nuclear weapons with a view to the speedy and total elimination, but definitely no later than the 100-year anniversary of the United Nations.