U.N. General Assembly President Ashe says the fight towards disarmament is hardly over

President of the United Nations General Assembly John Ashe on Thursday told the U.N. General Assembly's First Committee, which tackles disarmament and international security concerns, that the fight towards disarmament is hardly over.

Ashe began his speech by highlighting successes towards international disarmament, including the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, the first ever high-level meeting of the General Assembly to focus on nuclear disarmament and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

"These many successes are laudable and noteworthy, and we justly celebrate over them," Ashe said. "However, we must acknowledge that we continue to struggle in many areas. Given the gravity of this issue and mindful of its impact on both human and economic development, I urge you to continue looking at how to make progress in this area."

Ashe noted that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has not yet entered into force. He also said the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons is very serious threat to global security and international peace.

"Not only do small arms facilitate a vast spectrum of human rights violations but they also exacerbate poverty, place heavy burdens on social and health care services which are already under severe stress, steal the innocence of our youth, inhibit access to social services and divert already limited resources away from efforts to improve human development and in so far as they are heavily connected to the trade in illegal drugs, they also represent a serious threat to national security and well being," Ashe said.

Ashe said the fight against arms begins with the development of economic and social resources. Until sustainable development goals are reached, Ashe said all other pursuits are in vain.

"With this in mind, let me recall a truism: resources for economic and social development, not weapons," Ashe said. "Access to social goods and services is predicated on the existence of peace and security. Without such an umbrella, our other pursuits are in vain. The pursuit of the instruments of war and violence do not create peace and most certainly do not engender development."