The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons brought over 150 countries and 500 NGO representatives to Vienna last week to assess the risks and potential damage to human health and the environment by any nuclear weapons use. The conference, which for the first time included the United States and the United Kingdom, elevated the political imperative to abolish nuclear weapons and indicated that a legally binding agreement or agreements would be required to establish a nuclear-weapon-free world. The two-day conference did not intend or attempt to reach any decisions on the nature or negotiating forum for such agreements, but passed this task, primarily, to the Five-yearly NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Review Conference which will be held over four weeks from 27 April – 22 May 2015.
Austria, the host of the conference, made a special pledge to take the new impetus for nuclear abolition to the NPT: ‘Austria calls on all states parties to the NPT to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations under Article VI, and to this end, to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and Austria pledges to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal.’
A broad international network of NGOs, established in May 2014 at the Abolition 2000 Annual Meeting in New York, has announced plans for a major global mobilization in the run-up to the critically important NPT Review Conference. The coalition has linked with ‘Move the Money’ and Climate Change movements to release a Call to Action for a nuclear free, fair, democratic, ecologically sustainable and peaceful future. The principal call on governments is to agree at the NPT Review Conference to commence negotiations on a time-bound framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
Coalition plans include a major international peace conference and march to the United Nations on the eve of the NPT Review Conference, the presentation of millions of petition signatures to the Review Conference urging the abolition of nuclear weapons, advocacy at the NPT Review Conference, other creative nonviolent actions in New York, and student and youth organizing campaigns. There will also be the Global Wave, which will involve creative actions in national capitals and other cities around the world ‘waving goodbye to nukes.’
For more information contact Sofia Wolman at [email protected]