Last Friday, to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon became the first sitting Secretary General to attend the memorial service for the bombing, where he called for the entry into force of the CTBT by 2012. "Now is the time...The time for rapid entry into force of the (CTBT). Let us set the goal of 2012," he said. Members of the United States, French and British governments also attended the ceremony for the first time.
Ban Ki-Moon also announced at the service that he will convene an annual high-level meeting in September to support the work of the Conference on Disarmament and entry into force of the test ban.
On August 9th, a memorial service for the two cities was also held in Vienna. Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Tibor Toth told ceremony attendees, "The onus is on each and every country to do its part and deal with its outstanding issues, regardless of what others do or don't. Countries need to lead, not to be led." An especially powerful step toward a less dangerous world would be ratification and entry into force of the CTBT.
The biggest stride toward entry into force would be ratification of the test ban by the United States, and several other Annex 2 states would likely follow suit. The recent NPT Review Conference final document affirms the nonproliferation value of the CTBT and calls for its entry into force.
For more reflection on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the legacy that they left behind, see ACA's slide show and issue brief by ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball.