United States of America
Academy Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas is fiercely committed to disarmament issues, including nuclear non-proliferation and halting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. He focuses public awareness on the United Nations’ efforts to strengthen peace and security by speaking publicly for greater controls on the illegal possession and circulation of small arms and light weapons. In his capacity as a Messenger of Peace, Mr. Douglas hosted a documentary filmed in Sierra Leone that was part of a United Nations/Showtime ten-part series titled “What’s Going On?” that helped bring attention to the plight of child soldiers.
Focus Area: Disarmament
Since the birth of the United Nations, the goals of multilateral disarmament and arms limitation have been deemed central to the maintenance of international peace and security. These goals range from eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons and strengthening the prohibition against biological weapons, to halting the proliferation of landmines, cluster munitions, small arms and light weapons.
The need for a culture of peace and for significant arms reduction worldwide has never been greater. Despite a decline in the number of conflicts and genocides in recent years, in 2014, the world’s Governments spent an estimated US$ 1.77 trillion on military expenditures. This figure amounts to $249 for each person in the world.
For many of the world’s poor people, war and criminal violence are directly impeding their chances of development. Women and children are increasingly becoming casualties of war. More than 250,000 children have been exploited as soldiers and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped in conflict situations.