World expenditure on arms: 120,000 million dollars a year
The United Nations General Assembly has called disarmament "the most important question facing the world today." Two aspects of this vital question are dealt with in this issue of The Unesco Courier.
The first of these is the significance of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed in Moscow just over one year ago, which was a first step towards disarmament and which has already halted the rising threat of radiation hazards for all mankind. The second aspect is the significance of disarmament in terms of housing, hospitals, schools, laboratories, farm equipment, in short, in terms of everything that could contribute to a better life for everyone.
In 1962 the United Nations completed its major study on "Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament", and in the same year the General Conference of Unesco voted a resolution which emphasized the importance of "the diversion of even a small proportion of the resources which would be released by general and complete disarmament to the long-term programmes of Unesco for the planning and development of education, scientific research and the development of mass communication media." Unesco has therefore undertaken studies on the impact which general disarmament would have on education, science and culture, and has urged its member states to make similar studies.
Disarmament would open up vast prospects for all mankind. But it will be achieved only through the efforts of all men. This challenge will be faced more readily if both its problems and its promise are clearly understood. The editors of The Unesco Courier hope that the present issue will contribute in some small measure to that understanding.
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