International Conference

Building a nuclear-weapon-free world

2829 August 2016 | Astana, Kazakhstan

International conference of parliamentarians, mayors, religious leaders, government representatives and disarmament experts held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

Nuclear disarmament and the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world is a humanitarian imperative, and an aspiration shared by all countries. However, the implementation of this goal is thwarted by a lack of political momentum in key countries.

This conference will bring together parliamentarians and mayors from around the world, along with a selection of religious leaders, government officials, disarmament experts, policy analysts, civil society campaigners and representatives of international & regional organisations (UN, OSCE, ICRC…) to build political will and traction for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

The conference will take place as a new UN process – the Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament (OEWG) – prepares to report to the UN General Assembly on action to be taken on multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

And it is just two years prior to the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament at which multilateral nuclear disarmament measures could be adopted. The conference will discuss and feed into these, and other nuclear disarmament processes, to build their success.

The conference, to be opened by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, will capitalize on leadership Kazakhstan has been taking for a nuclear-weapon-free world. On August 29, 1991, President Nazarbayev officially closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (also known as "The Polygon"), which had been the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons.

In subsequent years Kazakhstan has taken a number of other initiatives to support the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world including: repatriating all nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan (approximately 1500) to Russia for elimination, negotiating a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone with other Central Asian countries, moving the United Nations General Assembly to establish the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, establishing the ATOM Project to educate the world about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and drafting a Universal Declaration for a Nuclear Weapon Free World which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December, 2015.

Most recently President Nazarbayev released a Manifesto for The World of the 21st Century, which goes further and calls for a world without war.

Conference program

The conference will include a reception hosted by the Mayor of Astana, an opening plenary commemorating the 25th anniversary of the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, and thematic panels on:

  • United Nations, nuclear test ban and other multilateral initiatives
  • Security without nuclear weapons:  “Manifesto of The World for the 21st
    century.”
  • National legislation and Nuclear Weapon Free Zones
  • Initiatives and campaigns – legislators, religious leaders and civil society

The conference will conclude with a dinner and concert hosted by Chairman of the Senate Mr. Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.

Click here for the draft program with list of speakers.

Post-conference PNND meeting - August 30

International guests are invited to a PNND follow-up meeting in Astana on the morning of August 30 to discuss PNND plans and actions for nuclear disarmament.

August 31: Optional trip to Semey and the former nuclear test site

Includes a one hour flight from Astana to Semipalatinsk (Semey), a welcome by the Mayor of Semey, and choice of visit to the medical research centre in Semey or the nuclear test site in Kurchatov. There will be a fee of about US$400 for the travel and meals for this side-trip.