UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Keynote Address on the Future of Multilateral Disarmament

The NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Center for Global Affairs (CGA) hosted a special event on the future of disarmament featuring His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. In front of a capacity audience of students, faculty members, and other distinguished guests, Ban delivered a keynote address, titled "The Future of Multilateral Disarmament," expanding on the five specific areas in which the world needs to see action in order to achieve sustainable security through the progressive demilitarization of international affairs. The address was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Edith Lederer, chief UN correspondent for the Associated Press.

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth secretary-general of the UN. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges—from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy, and water. He has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament, and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Ban took office on January 1, 2007, and was unanimously reelected by the UN General Assembly on June 21, 2011.

The second half of the event featured a high-level panel discussion on “The Next Steps for Multilateral Disarmament.” Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, a visiting scholar at the NYUSPS Center for Global Affairs, served as moderator of the panel, which included Kim Won-soo, under secretary-general and high representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte, ambassador and deputy permanent representative of Brazil to the UN; and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom. The panel expanded upon the themes of Ban’s keynote, representing the work of civil society activists, states, and the UN Secretariat over a decades-long campaign for multilateral disarmament—as well as identifying areas where further progress is needed.