Disarmament, Public Health, and Pandemics
Member Activities

Disarmament, Public Health, and Pandemics

On 9 November, APLN member Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, spoke at an event hosted by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament titled “Disarmament, public health, and pandemics.”

About the event

Disarmament is usually considered to be a security issue. However, it is equally relevant as a health issue. Weapons testing, trade and use impact considerably people’s lives and wellbeing, killing or severely injuring hundreds of thousands of people annually. In addition, the high levels of human and economic resources invested in weapons deprive health and social systems of the resources needed for resilience and universality. The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased and accentuated this reality.

As the pandemic began spreading around the world in early 2020, it became increasingly clear that societies in armed conflict, and those that had prioritised investment in military security, were less able to contain and address the pandemic than societies experiencing peace and social cohesion, and that had given priority to measures of human security and sustainable development, such as public health and education.

In March 2020, the UN Secretary general launched a global ceasefire initiative and provided additional support for UN special envoys to reinforce diplomatic action, help create conditions for the delivery of lifesaving aid, and bring support to populations that are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Inter-Parliamentary Union supported this initiative, including through a statement released in April 2020, stressing the need for peace efforts and a reprioritization of human security in the context of the pandemic.

You can view the event page here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons