UNON Director-General's Remarks for the Opening of the Exhibition on the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6 August 2015

Mr. Mikio Mori, Deputy Ambassador of Japan,

UN Colleagues,

Members of the Organizing Committee,

Invited guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be with you today for the opening of this exhibition on the theme “Seventy Years Later: Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

I would like to thank the staff members from various UN agencies who volunteered their time and effort to organize this exhibition. I would also like to thank the Embassy of Japan for supporting the initiative.

I understand that this is the first time UNON is hosting an exhibition on the topic of the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The UN Headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna already have permanent exhibitions installed on the same theme. So it was high time for such an event to be organized right here at UNON, the only UN Headquarters in Africa and in the global South.

With close to 4,000 staff members from about 30 different UN entities working on this compound, Nairobi is the third largest UN duty station in the world, after New York and Geneva. This exhibit will enable our staff members and the many visitors who come to the compound to gain a better understanding of the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The posters and video clips that are part of this exhibit take us back 70 years and help us learn about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

As you know, the United Nations was created 70 years ago following the end of the Second World War, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

As we celebrate the UN’s 70th anniversary this year, it is evident that we still have a long way to go before reaching that founding objective of the Organisation.

Every year, some 55,000 people die as a result of conflicts. Millions more are brutally affected in various ways.

UNHCR has recently revealed that there are now almost 60 million people who have been displaced by conflict and persecution around the world. That is the highest level ever recorded.

Today, hatred, division and violent extremism seem to be on the increase in our world.

But rather than discouraging us, these grim realities should move us to try harder, to persevere and overcome the challenges we face, with a view to strengthening international collective security.

2015 is also a time for global action. As you know, this year holds the potential to be a real turning point in human history, given the confluence of events taking place over the course of the year. These include the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held last month in Addis Ababa; the elaboration of the post-2015 development framework, which will culminate with the Summit on Sustainable Development in New York next month; and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

Already, the Outcome Document from the Financing for Development Conference has been endorsed by the General Assembly. And just three days ago in New York, Member States agreed on the outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September. So there is a lot of reason for hope.
At this time of action, the United Nations also remains committed to pursuing nuclear disarmament until it is finally achieved. Indeed, how to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons is one of the most crucial debates of our time.

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said three months ago in his message to the 2015 Hiroshima-Nagasaki Appeal Assembly: “We are now at a crossroads in our journey toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. The deteriorating global security environment has stalled progress in disarmament.”

In his message, the Secretary-General welcomed the growing movement to recognize the grave humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and he applauded all those working to push this critical issue higher on the international agenda.

I view this exhibition at UNON as a product of that same spirit.

Thank you again to all those who have helped organize this exhibit.

Welcome to everyone who has come to view the posters and other materials. I am sure we will all learn from this exhibit.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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