The global security environment is deteriorating rapidly, not least due to Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war in Ukraine and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric.
The work of the First Committee is more urgent than ever. Norway will continue to promote work that can progress the nuclear disarmament agenda, and that can prepare us for future disarmament agreements.
Any use of nuclear weapons would have global ramifications. The humanitarian and environmental consequences would be catastrophic. Yes, it is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons never be used again. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
Thus, we cannot allow the threshold for nuclear use to be lowered. We must persist in our efforts to reduce the risks and to pave the way for future disarmament and arms control agreements.
Nuclear disarmament Verification (NDV) is a point in case. We were pleased that the UN GGE to further consider Nuclear Disarmament Verification issues, chaired by Norway, produced a substantive report which was agreed by consensus. Together with a group of countries we have tabled a resolution for the General Assembly to support the work of the Group.
We call on Russia and China to engage in a substantial dialogue on nuclear arms control and risk reduction measures. We also call on Russia to resume implementation of the New START Treaty.
The NPT remains the cornerstone of our efforts on disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses. Norway is working for full implementation of the NPT. We must work to preserve and strengthen the Treaty.
We remain committed to the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, an objective that can only be achieved through balanced, mutual, irreversible and verifiable elimination of these weapons.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its international monitoring is a vital component of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. During our co-presidency with Panama on Article XIV, Norway will work for the entry into force and universalization of the CTBT. Pending the Treaty’s entry into force, we emphasize the importance of upholding the moratorium on nuclear tests. We also call for the early negotiation and conclusion of an effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
Norway emphasises the humanitarian perspective of nuclear disarmament, as the consequences for humanity itself should motivate our efforts for nuclear disarmament. In this regard, reducing risks of any use of nuclear weapons is vital.
Norway urges the DPRK to abandon its nuclear and ballistic programmes completely, verifiably and irreversibly and to agree to meaningful negotiations towards this end.
Norway is also deeply concerned by Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA. We urge Iran to return to compliance with its nuclear-related commitments.
We strongly support the universalisation of The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC), which contributes to transparency and confidence building on ballistic technology development.
Norway will continue to pursue a two-tier approach to achieve comprehensive and effective regulation of the development and use of autonomous weapons systems.
The global conventions to prohibit chemical and biological weapons are foundational pillars in our non-proliferation architecture. We cannot allow these conventions to be blatantly violated or become arenas for false accusations. And there cannot be impunity for those who develop or use chemical and biological weapons. Norway reiterates it firms support to the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat, and the UN Secretary General’s Mechanism.
In order to prevent an arms race in outer space, Norway remains committed to contributing to the security of outer space activities and assets. Space must remain a peaceful, safe, stable, secure and sustainable environment, accessible to all. While, unfortunately, no report could be agreed, the Open Ended Working Group on reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour made many contributions that pave the way for future progress. We support taking these important efforts forward through a new working group.
All States have agreed that international law is applicable and essential to maintaining peace, security, and stability in cyberspace. There is no need for specific legal instruments. Rather, we must continue our discussions deepen our understanding as to how international law apply and cooperate to strengthen the compliance with the globally agreed framework. Norway supports establishing a permanent Programme of Action, as an inclusive and action-oriented mechanism to advance responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
The protection of civilians against weapons and explosives during and after conflict is of vital importance to Norway. We are appalled by the extensive use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions on Ukrainian territory in Russia’s war of aggression. Reportedly, about 90 % of casualties from the use of cluster munitions are civilians, and 70 % of these are children. More than 30 % of Ukrainian territory is now contaminated by mines and cluster munitions. This will have consequences for civilians for decades to come. We condemn any use by any party of these indiscriminate weapons.
Conventional weapons, especially when used in populated areas, have tremendous humanitarian consequences. But let us not forget; the humanitarian disarmament conventions have proved to be important tools for the protection of civilians, during and after conflict. The EWIPA declaration is an important step in addressing the humanitarian consequences caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We encourage all states to endorse this important political declaration.
Lastly, let me underline the importance to promote gender equality and diverse participation, including the younger generation in disarmament processes.