Deputy High Representative Virginia Gamba addresses disarmament challenges

Virginia Gamba, the director of the Office of Disarmament Affairs and deputy to the high representative for disarmament affairs for the United Nations, recently discussed future challenges to disarmament during a forum in New York.

Gamba said there might be potential problems in the future as countries fail to fulfill their disarmament commitments.

"There have been no signs of anything resembling a comprehensive 'disarmament plan'-with timetables, interim goals, and domestic institutions dedicated to implement relevant activities," Gamba said. "Yet there is abundant evidence that these states are continuing their well-funded, long-term plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals and related infrastructure."

Gamba said that the slow pace of nuclear disarmament remains the biggest challenge to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The director also noted that transparency fosters trust between countries with nuclear weapons and can encourage them to comply with pledges to reduce their stockpiles.

"Scarcity of information about a country's nuclear program and capabilities fosters perceptions about its unwillingness to engage in and advance disarmament," Gamba said. "The case for transparency rests on its indispensable role in establishing some confidence that states are actually fulfilling their commitments."

Gamba also reiterated the commitment of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to establish a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear weapons.