U.N. anniversaries are occasions for stocktaking - not all of it positive. But there is a lot of good that the U.N. has done and is doing and there are many good, dedicated people working silently but effectively within the U.N. system where I have also worked for a part of my long diplomatic career.
A nuclear weapon-free world can and must happen in my lifetime. This may seem a bold and wildly Pollyannaish statement for me to make after a lifetime of work in peace and disarmament.
Mahatma Gandhi said it with remarkable moral clarity – “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” That is indeed what happened in Gaza over eight days in November, with an estimated 160 Palestinians and six Israelis dead in the latest exchange of rockets and drones brought to an uneasy end by an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.
The only viable normative approach regarding nuclear weapons is their total and universal elimination under strict verification. This cannot be achieved by incremental steps but only by the negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention as advocated by the UN Secretary-General.