After gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan abandoned the world’s fourth most destructive arsenal of nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet Union, and on August 29, 1991 closed the largest Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, which was the most significant contribution to strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
On June 18, 2009, at a solemn event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the cessation of tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, as well as on July 1, 2009 at the opening of the III Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the First President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev came up with the initiative to declare August 29 World Day renunciation of nuclear weapons.
On December 2, 2009, on the initiative of Kazakhstan and in co-authorship with 26 states, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on declaring August 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests, according to which events are held annually to remind the world of the dire consequences of nuclear tests and prevent their resumption in the future. This fact is the recognition by the international community of the significance of the date of the official closure of the Semipalatinsk test site, which is of historical importance not only for Kazakhstan, but for all of humanity.
The International Day against Nuclear Tests was first held in 2010. Since then, this Day has been celebrated annually with various events around the world, including symposia, conferences, exhibitions, competitions, publications, lectures at academic institutions, news broadcasts and other events. The United Nations also hosts events to mark this Day on an annual basis.
On August 26, 2010, Astana hosted a Conference dedicated to the International Day with the participation of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the IAEA leadership and other international organizations.
Following its results, the Conference participants adopted an Appeal, in which the enormous contribution to the global process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev, who made the historic decision on the voluntary renunciation of the Republic of Kazakhstan from the possession of nuclear weapons and on the closure of one of the largest nuclear test sites in the world. The Appeal also calls for the early entry into force of the CTBT.
From the rostrum of the international conference “From the ban of nuclear tests to a world free of nuclear weapons”, held on August 27-29, 2012 in the years. Astana, Semey and Kurchatov, President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev announced the launch of the international project “ATOM” (Abolish Testing: Our Mission), called on the conference participants and all people of goodwill in the world to support this project by signing an electronic petition to the governments of the world with a call to abandon nuclear tests forever. The head of state also called for the early development and adoption of the Universal Declaration of a Nuclear-Free World.
On August 29, 2016 in Nur-Sultan, within the framework of the activation of the Global Anti-Nuclear Movement, together with the well-known NGO Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), the International Conference “Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World” was held, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear polygon. The conference was attended by representatives from more than 50 countries. As a result of the event, the Final Document “Vision of Astana: from a radioactive haze to a world without nuclear weapons” was adopted.
On August 29, 2017, with the participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev and the IAEA Director General Y. Amano, the grand opening of the building of the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant took place. By providing its territory for the location of the Bank, Kazakhstan made its next contribution to strengthening the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the creation of a completely new mechanism for guaranteed supplies of LEU to the IAEA member states.
On August 29, 2018, Astana hosted the International CTBTO Conference “Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future.” The event was attended by members of the CTBTO Eminent Persons Group – well-known international figures and activists supporters of the entry into force of the Treaty, as well as the CTBTO Youth Group – young professionals and students from different countries.
On August 29, 2019, a solemn ceremony of presenting the “Nazarbayev Prize for a World without Nuclear Weapons and Global Security” was held in Nur-Sultan. The laureates of that year were CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and the late IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. UN Secretary General A. Guterres sent a video message to the participants of the award ceremony, in which he noted that a world free of nuclear weapons, including a ban on nuclear tests, remains the most important priority of the UN in the field of disarmament. In this connection, the UN Secretary General expressed gratitude to the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev for his commitment to this cause and the establishment of this award.
Thus, the International Day against Nuclear Tests, along with other events and activities, contributes to the formation of a global environment that opens up more optimistic prospects for moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons.
On August 26, 2020, an event in the format of a video conference will be held, dedicated to the International Day against Nuclear Tests. At the event with the participation of UN Secretary General A. Guterres, UN General Assembly President M. Bande, CTBTO Executive Secretary L. Zerbo plans to officially present the First President of Kazakhstan – Elbasy N. Nazarbayev and the former President of Finland T. Halonen in a new unique status – “champions CTBTO “.
In addition, official videoconferencing events are planned to mark this date in the capitals of the United States and Great Britain.
So, on September 2, 2020 in Washington, the American NGOs Arms Control Association and the Center for Policy Research (SUNY-Albany) will hold a webinar on the topic “Strengthening the Norm of the Nuclear Test Ban”, in which they will take part US and ROK experts in the field of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
On September 8, 2020, a webinar will be held in London on the topic “Multilateral Cooperation in the Post-COVID Period – A Chance to Achieve a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.” The event will be attended by the Minister of the European Neighborhood and the Americas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland W. Morton, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO L. Zerbo, Director General of the UN Office in Geneva T. Valovaya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan E Ashikbaev et al. /// nCa, 25 August 2020 (in cooperation with Embassy of Kazakhstan, Ashgabat)