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Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change Biggest Challenges for Humanity

16.06.2015 - 14:51
(updated: 06.06.2016 - 13:48)
  • Picture Jaakko Grönfors
  • Scott Caris
Enrique Orta, Ambassador, Republic of Cuba

Enrique Orta
Republic of Cuba


Nuclear weapons, along with climate change, now constitute the biggest challenges facing humanity.

The mere existence of nuclear arms is a threat against humanity. The use of a tiny part of the over 16,000 existing nuclear weapons, of which 4,000 are operational, would have catastrophic consequences for our planet.

The idea of “nuclear deterrence” as the basis for unsustainable and unacceptable military doctrines must be definitely abandoned; far from contributing to nuclear disarmament, they stimulate the perpetual possession of those weapons.

The use of nuclear weapons implies the flagrant violation of international standards related to the prevention of genocide and protection of the environment. My country, Cuba, maintains that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal, immoral and cannot be justified under any security concept or doctrine.

It is unacceptable that in today’s world more is being spent on measures to wage war than on promoting development. Just to give an example, in 2013 the astronomical figure of 1.75 billion dollars in global military spending was reached.  A great part of that money being dedicated today to maintaining and modernizing nuclear arsenals should be used to benefit humankind, to promote the economic and social development of countries, to definitely eradicate poverty and to provide a decent life for all human beings without exception.

Many International Conferences have contributed to a greater international understanding about the serious risks and catastrophic humanitarian consequences associated with the existence of nuclear arms. But that is not enough, nor can it be the final objective. 

In terms of a historical milestone on January 29th of 2014, on the occasion of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana, the Latin American and Caribbean region was formally proclaimed as a Zone of Peace. The proclamation includes the region’s States’ resolute commitment to promoting nuclear disarmament as its top priority objective.

Despite the complex international situation and the conflicting positions between the major world powers, it could achieve the target of cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. We should put all our efforts on actions to promote, by all possible means and ways, creating a culture or education world peace and against nuclear weapons and to offer a vision of the present and future importance of "a world without nuclear weapons".

Last September 26 was celebrated for the first time, the "International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons". Cuba welcomes the widespread international support for this initiative and urges the governments, parliaments and civil society to commemorate every year on September 26 the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to draw attention to the urgent necessity of attaining total elimination of nuclear weapons.

I am convinced that to achieve lasting peace and a better world for everyone equally, it is necessary a new world order based on peace, human solidarity and social justice.

Thank you very much.