August 29 is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, and is commemorated globally on annual basis in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/35 of 2009, tabled by Kazakhstan.

With the upcoming commemoration in mind, His Excellency Ambassador Kanat Tumysh of Kazakhstan to the Republic of South Africa met with Dr. Messaoud Baaliouamer, Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) to discuss the conclusion of  a Memorandum of Understanding between the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (AfNWFZ) and the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ), as well as the organizational arrangements for an upcoming international online seminar with the theme, “BENEFITS FROM INTER-REGIONAL DIALOGUE ON NUCLEAR GOVERNANCE: AFRICA AND CENTRAL ASIA, to be held in October-November 2020.

Speaking about the nuclear tests in the East Kazakhstan Region, Ambassador Kanat Tumysh said, they started in 1949 and marked the beginning of the most tragic times in the history of Kazakhstan. More than 1 million people suffered in the territory of 300,000 square kilometres, which is equal to the territory of Italy.

In 1991, on 29 August, H.E. Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan, Leader of the Nation, made a historic decision, closing by decree the world’s second largest Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site.

Other countries followed Kazakhstan’s progressive lead and eventually ceased the conduct of nuclear tests globally, and paved the way for the adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. Because of the enormous efforts exerted by Kazakhstan’s first President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has rapidly gone from being a possessor of the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world to the being widely recognized as the leading country in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Under His Excellency’s leadership, from the day of Independence, Kazakhstan has striven tirelessly to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free world and thereby turning it into the main task of humanity in the 21st century. Guided by the noble aspiration of a nuclear-free future, Kazakhstan’s leader initiated the adoption of the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Due to the country’s strong efforts, the UNGA adopted this Declaration in December 2015 along with its Resolution 70/57. In the current complex global geo-political environment, the relevance of the Universal Declaration is growing, and the universal principles and obligations on nuclear disarmament enshrined in this important document, should build bridges between different views on the construction of a safer world.

In 2016, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Mr. Nazarbayev presented his conceptual anti-war vision Manifesto entitled “The World: The 21st Century.” The main idea of this treatise was “In no modern warfare will there be winners – every party will lose.” Kazakhstan, therefore, urges all members of the international community to strive towards a world completely free from nuclear weapons.

Kazakhstan believes it is time to put an end to military block thinking and adapt the disarmament process to new realities by utilizing appropriate confidence-building measures. It proposes the redoubling of the international community’s efforts by consolidating the potential of nuclear-weapon-free zones in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, through the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan, the city of Nur-Sultan hosted a Joint Meeting of the Representatives of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the 28th to 29th of August,2019.

         As Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev noted, putting forward the idea of the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones is one of the most effective means to fight the spread of nuclear weapons.

On 26 August 2020 H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the First President of Kazakhstan, the Leader of the Nation (Elbasy)  received the status of champion for a world free of nuclear tests to highlight Kazakhstan’s historic contribution to the global efforts toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Nowadays, especially in recent years, many countries are alarmed by the increasing tensions and potential for conflict all over the globe. The growing disagreement between the major powers intensifies the instability of the current world order, making it less predictable. Financial and trade and economic disagreements are degenerating into political and potentially military conflict. The effectiveness of global development institutions is declining. There is no reassuring news from the Middle East. Apart from that, conflicts on the African continent, unfortunately, continue as well, according to His Excellency Ambassador Kanat Tumysh.

World leaders thus need to think seriously about how to leave a safe, peaceful, and prosperous lanet to the next generations. To this end, Kazakhstan continues to work actively to strengthen global peace and security, achieve SDGs; ensure prosperity of all nations without exception; rid the world of wars and violence; and maintain adherence to the principles of international rule of law.

Kazakhstan continues to participate actively in all global anti-war efforts and thus provided its strong support to Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General’s initiative on a new comprehensive disarmament agenda.

Yet, proliferation of nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to humanity, since today hundreds of the 15,000 nuclear bombs stored around the world could be ready to be launched within minutes. This could lead to a global disaster where entire cities all over the world disappeared.