1996 - A major step towards nuclear disarmament
The end of World War II saw the beginning of a “cold war” and nuclear arms race. Between 1945 and 1996, over 2000 nuclear tests were carried out all over the world. Concern about the effects of nuclear testing on human health and the environment led to the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty. It banned nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and under water. However, underground nuclear tests still continued.
The United Nations’ disarmament body, the Conference on
Disarmament, negotiated a comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty from 1994 to 1996. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
(CTBT) was adopted by General Assembly resolution 50/245 on 10 September 1996.
One hundred and sixty-three countries have since ratified the treaty but has not entered into force.
The General Assembly adopts the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (UN Photo/Evan Schneider).
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear tests, constrains the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and contributes to progress on nuclear disarmament. The CTBT also helps protect our environment against harmful radioactive by-products of nuclear tests.
But we must secure the ratifications necessary for entry into force […] let us ban nuclear tests. And let us do everything possible to secure this Treaty’s entry into force for the sake of our planet and all living beings. (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon)
Watch the history of the United Nations unfold a document at a time at: 70 Years, 70 Documents: An Exhibit.