On February 21, Bond Rungrot Tatiyawongwiwat and Amir Ruzain, two youth representatives of Reverse The Trend South and SouthEast Asia, a youth initiative of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), participated in a special event entitled “Advancing the Global Agenda toward Peaceful and Inclusive societies- Bridging Humanity, Security, and Sustainability.” This side event was held on the margins of the Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development. Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace, RTT, and NAPF co-sponsored this event.

The speakers included: Mr. Kunihiko Shimadal, Principal Director of Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe) Japan; Ms. Evelyn Ralpho Director for Education and Public Awareness National Nuclear Commission, Marshall Islands; Mr. Muhadi Sugiono, a professor at the Universitas Gadjah Mada; as well as Amir Ruzain  and Bond Rungrot Tatiyawongwiwat of RTT.

Bringing together members of affected communities, youth, and academia, this side event aimed to draw attention to the history and long-existing efforts of the Asia-Pacific region toward peace and security in this age. Envisioning a sustainable future with peace and prosperity for all, the panel will help to clarify the linkage between the issues of peace and security and various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the conclusion of the session, participants identified the nexus between security and sustainable development through discussion with various stakeholders.

Mr. Kunihiko Shimadal, Principal Director of Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe) Japan, provided general remarks about the nexus between nuclear disarmament and sustainable development.

Ms. Evelyn Ralpho, Director for Education and Public Awareness, National Nuclear Commission, discussed the devastating impact of nuclear tests that were conducted in the Marshall Islands. She elaborated upon how the contamination impacted the ecosystem and impacted both the fish and breadfruit, two former staples of the Marshallese diet. Moreover, Ralpho underscored the importance of innovative nuclear disarmament initiatives, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In this regard, she announced that the National Nuclear Commission convened a series of youth debates on the TPNW. 

Mr. Muhadi Sugiono explained that Southeast Asia states formed the ASEAN regional organization and the secretariat in order to mitigate conflicts between ASEAN states. He then proceeded to discuss ASEAN perspectives on nuclear disarmament.

Building upon Sugiono’s statement, Amir Ruzain highlighted the link between the SDGS and nuclear disarmament. He further discussed the expenditures of the Nuclear Weapon States on modernizing and maintaining their nuclear weapons and how these expenditures could have been spent on supporting the SDGs. He then touched upon the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Following his remarks, Bond Rungrot Tatiyawongwiwat presented key information about Reverse The Trend, NAPF’s youth initiative, and Thailand’s role in promoting nuclear disarmament. He further explained the role of youth engagement in promoting the SDGs and nuclear disarmament.

Amir Ruzain, RTT Southeast Asia Coordinator, emphasized the importance of youth voices in achieving a peaceful world.

Muhadi Sugiono, Lecturer at Universitas Gadjah Mada, explains the link between nuclear weapons and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rungrot (Bond) Tatiyawongwiwat and Amir Ruzain of RTT Southeast Asia highlight the role of youth voices in efforts to bridge the gap between SDGs and nuclear disarmament.