The United States and Russian Federation were among the 35 countries that voted against the resolution and said they do not plan to participate in the upcoming talks on banning nuclear weapons.
Some 123 United Nations members announced in October that they would launch the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding nuclear ban treaty, even as most of the world's declared and undeclared nuclear powers voted against the talks.
The United States, France and the United Kingdom are among the countries that will not take part in the negotiations. The first round of talks, March 27 to 31, is expected to focus on the objective, content and format of the treaty, led by Austria and Mexico underlining the "inhumane nature of nuclear weapons".
Hundreds of NGOs have announced their support for the initiative as well. By banning nuclear weapons under worldwide law and creating a global norm that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime, countries rallying behind the treaty are hoping it will apply pressure on nuclear powers.
Supporters point to successful grassroots movements that led to the prohibition of landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008.
"I expect that this will take a long time", Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said at the United Nations last week.
While China and Pakistan also abstained on the resolution, Russian Federation joined the western nuclear powers in voting against it.
"We have to be realistic", she said. "So it's also the expression of frustration".
According to Beatrice Fihn, director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, not much progress has been made on nuclear disarmament in recent years despite the commitments made by nuclear powers to work towards working on it under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). "And now there are raised worries with the new U.S. president".
Opposing the call for a nuclear-free world is awkward for world powers that are trying to curb the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
But his administration strongly encouraged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to vote against this year's United Nations negotiations, saying a ban would obstruct cooperation to respond to nuclear threats from adversaries. Immediately after this, President Donald Trump tweeted that the US must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.
In October, over 120 countries announced that they would launch talks to negotiate a nuclear ban treaty that is legally binding.
As the conference opened, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said, "The treaty will finally ban weapons created to indiscriminately kill civilians, completing the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction". "Look at Russian Federation denying using cluster bombs in Syria. Why?"
Historically, Western countries have been at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament initiative but now, many governments prefer to enjoy the protection of the USA nuclear umbrella, John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at the Belfer Center, Harvard University, told CNBC on Monday.
While land-mines and biological or chemical weapons are banned under global law, the U.S. and Russian Federation have stubbornly maintained (and now are significantly upgrading) a collection capable of extinguishing humanity.
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