The year 2018 was a busy year in many fields of activism against nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Organisations affiliated to the Abolition 2000 network were driving much of this work forward.
Here you can download our Annual Report for 2018 which contains a summary of some of the highlights with photos. The text is below.
Abolition 2000 Coordinating Committee
Abolition 2000 summary of activities 2018
Abolition 2000 is a global network of organisations and individuals working for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the promotion of renewables in order to phase out nuclear energy. Over 2000 organisations have joined Abolition 2000 since its founding in 1995, although some of these organisations are no longer operating.
Abolition 2000 also includes affiliated networks and campaigns such as the Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Power in Space, Mayors for Peace, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Peace and Planet and World Beyond War. Many Abolition 2000 members also work with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Abolition 2000 provides a forum, open to everyone, to share initiatives, discuss strategies and build momentum and cooperation on campaigns. We do this through events, email discussion groups, working groups on specific issues, joint appeals/declarations, our website and social media. Abolition 2000 is managed by a Coordinating Committee with representatives from around the world which meets by conference call approximately monthly.
Key network events
Annual General Meeting and NPT Prep Com – Geneva
Abolition 2000 held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Geneva on April 28 in conjunction with the two-week long meeting of States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT Prep Com). The AGM included a discussion on current political hurdles and opportunities for nuclear disarmament, updates on campaigns, appointment of the Coordinating Committee and Global Council and development of an action to support the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal), from which the Trump Administration had just announced its intention to withdraw.
Abolition 2000 members spoke at the NGO session of the NPT Prep Com on April 25 and organized side events for governments and NGOs on a number of issues including nuclear weapons and the law, parliamentary actions, policies of the nuclear-armed States, nuclear risk reduction, regional issues (including nuclear weapons in Europe and a Middle East NWFZ), and youth actions. One Abolition 2000 member ran model multilateral negotiations where university students simulated negotiations of governments according to a scenario which could bring the nuclear-armed States into the negotiations.
International Campaign and Strategy meeting – New York
Abolition 2000 held an international campaign and strategy meeting in New York on May 11.
There were lively and productive discussions on nuclear risk-reduction, war prevention, nuclear weapons divestment, nuclear-weapon-free zones, youth actions, United Nations initiatives (including the Ban Treaty, UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament and the new initiative of the UN Secretary-General), engaging legislators and outreach to broader human rights, environmental and faith-based communities.
The meeting included a sharing round with everyone expressing a reflection on the state of the world. Anabel Dwyer penned a poem using words expressed in this reflection round. (See below)
The meeting also included two breakout group discussions – one on economic aspects of nuclear weapons, including divestment and shifting budgets from nuclear weapons to support sustainable development, and another one on the current strategic environment for nuclear disarmament.
The campaign meeting was followed by a rally at Washington Square Park to protest against the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal).
Economic Dimensions of Nuclearism – Move the Nuclear Weapons Money
Abolition 2000 has a working group on Economic Dimensions of Nuclearism through which we promote initiatives of member organisations such as Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, and other campaigns including Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Divest from the War Machine and the Global Campaign on Military Spending.
The campaigns did not have much success in 2018 in reducing nuclear weapons budgets.
However, the global nuclear weapons divestment campaigns had considerable success with a number of cities, regional governments, banks and pension funds adopting policies of non-investment in nuclear weapons.
Humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy and the law
Abolition 2000 member groups organized a number of events to highlight the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons and the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons due to these consequences.
Basel Peace Office and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), members of the Abolition 2000 working group on international law, promoted the Basel Declaration on human rights and trans-generational crimes resulting from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy in a number of ways including through an event in Geneva during the NPT Prep Com.
Leaders of two Abolition 2000 member organisations are amongst the winners of the Nuclear Free Future Awards (NFFA) announced in July.
Karipbek Kuyukov, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project and a second generation victim of nuclear tests conducted in his homeland Kazakhstan, was chosen by the NFFA international jury as the winner of the Education award.
Linda Walker, founder of the Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, was chosen to receive the Solutions Award.
Ms Walker established a relief program for children from Belarus, the most radiologically impacted country in the aftermath of the deadly Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in Ukraine in 1986.
She has provided “radiation vacations” for affected children who travel to Britain and also humanitarian aid in the form of ambulances, medical supplies and respite centers in Belarus itself.
Abolition 2000 has an Interfaith Working Group which brings different religious and spiritual communities together to highlight the immorality of nuclear weapons and the responsibility of faith-based communities to work for peace, cooperative security and a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Working Group members organized inter-faith vigils during UN and NPT deliberations, as well as events and/or presentations at the United Nations during the NPT Prep Com and UN General Assembly.
They also moved the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a gathering of over 10,000 people in Toronto in November 2018, to adopt an historic declaration Responding to the Unique Challenge of Nuclear Weapons: A Passionate Call From The Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Korea peace and denuclearization process
As 2017 closed and 2018 began, the situation in North East Asia was frightening. DPRK and the USA had been trading threats to attack each other including with nuclear weapons. Abolition 2000 members had been active in 2017 calling for a diplomatic peace process to reduce the risk of war. As 2018 unfolded, a diplomatic process was initiated by the South Korean President with pick-up by both the DPRK and the US Administrations – but with continued reluctance by both sides to make the compromises and detailed agreements required to end the state of hostilities and achieve sustainable peace.
Abolition 2000 members have been active during the year to give support to the peace process. Actions have included: an Open Letter to the Leaders of USA, South Korea and North Korea signed by more than 100 US civil society groups; a resolution submitted by Mayors for Peace to the US Conference of Mayors, and adopted on June 11, 2018 (See US Conference of Mayors call for a Formal Resolution of the Korean War and a Denuclearized Korean Peninsula); a joint statement of religious leaders of South Korea and North Korea; and lobbying of the US government by Abolition 2000 organisations in the United States, including through a People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea and through the Korea Peace Network facilitated by Peace Action, an Abolition 2000 member organisation.
Nuclear risk reduction
Abolition 2000 has a Nuclear Risk-Reduction Working Group which promotes measures to reduce the risks of nuclear weapons being used and to lower the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. These include de-alerting, eliminating launch on warning, lowering threat postures and adopting policies of no-first-use and/or sole purpose.
In 2018, Abolition 2000 members were active in presentations and events at the UN during the NPT Prep Com and the UN General Assembly.
Working in cooperation with affiliated networks (such as Mayors for Peace and PNND) they succeeded in getting support from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (57 legislatures represented including those of France, Russia, UK and USA), the US Conference of Mayors and the State of California for no-first-use policies and other nuclear risk-reduction measures. See OSCE parliamentarians call for confidence building measures including no-first-use of nuclear weapons and U.S. No-First Use campaign builds momentum with support from legislators at federal, state and city levels.
Nuclear weapons and the Right to Life
Abolition 2000 member organisations, including Basel Peace Office and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, were active in the 3-year long deliberations of the Human Rights Committee on the Right to Life, as codified in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The deliberations culminated in the historic affirmation by the Committee in its General Comment 36 adopted on October 30 2018 that ‘The threat or use of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons… is incompatible with respect for the right to life and may amount to a crime under international law.’
The affirmation applies to all States Parties of the ICCPR, which includes the United States and most other nuclear-armed and allied States. It is significant for a number of reasons, including that it:
- Makes strong links between human rights law and nuclear non-use and disarmament obligations, building bridges between the human rights and disarmament communities;
- Highlights obligations of the nuclear armed and allied States rooted in Article VI of the NPT, UN resolutions and other international law.
- Demonstrates an approach to advancing nuclear disarmament and non-use obligations by bringing them into related treaties to which at least some of the nuclear armed States and their allies are already parties. One such treaty in which this approach is being tried is the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court.
- Parallels and complements existing nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements providing additional impetus to their implementation.
See The Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons Violates the Right to Life, Warns a UN Committee, In-Depth News, November 27, 2018
Promoting renewable energy – Global Renewables Congress
Abolition 2000 was active in promoting the establishment in 2009 of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which provides information and technical support to governments in developing sources of renewable energy. Research from IRENA demonstrates that renewable energies can replace 100% of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. However, the political power of the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries prevents governments from taking the required action.
As such, the work of Abolition 2000 member organisations to oppose nuclear energy and advance renewable energies is vital.
One of the key initiatives in 2018 was the establishment of the Global Renewables Congress, which brings together current and former legislators to advance government policies for the achievement of 100% renewables. The Congress was launched by the World Future Council (Abolition 2000 member organisation), with the cooperation of IRENA and PNND, at the COP24 UN Conference on Climate Change in Poland.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Ban Treaty)
Abolition 2000 member organisations have been working in cooperation with ICAN to advance signature and ratification by more countries of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was negotiated and adopted at the United Nations in 2017.
During 2018 the number of countries signing the treaty increased to 69 and the number of ratifications rose to 19. Once 50 countries have ratified the treaty, it will enter into force for those countries.
United Nations General Assembly (including the First Committee)
The UN General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. It provides a platform for deliberations and action that includes all governments and is open to civil society from around the world.
Abolition 2000 members successfully campaigned for the election of Maria Fernanda Espinosa (Council Member of the World Future Council) as President of the UNGA for the period September 2018 – September 2019. In her previous position as Ecuador Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ms Espinosa had co-hosted a number of UN events with Abolition 2000 organisations.
Each October-November, the UNGA holds the annual session of its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) which is dedicated to the deliberation and adoption of disarmament resolutions.
Abolition 2000 members monitor and hold side events on the margins of the meetings of the First Committee in New York. They also contribute to drafting resolutions on a range of nuclear weapons issues, and lobby governments for their adoption. Amongst the 69 resolutions debated and adopted in 2018 were ones on establishing a middle east NWFZ, accelerating nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space, relationship between disarmament and development, the Arms Trade Treaty, humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Cluster Munitions Convention, reducing nuclear danger, convention prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and many more.
In addition, civil society is invited to address a plenary session of the First Committee, which in 2018 was held on October 19. A member of Abolition 2000’s Coordinating Committee, Jacqueline Cabasso, made a presentation on behalf of Western States Legal Foundation and Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, two Abolition 2000 member groups. The presentation, entitled, “Creating the Conditions for International Peace and Human Security (CCIPHS)”, counters a proposal introduced by the United States called “Creating the Conditions for Nuclear Disarmament” (“the CCND approach”), which argues that unspecified conditions must be met in order for the international security environment to improve before disarmament can take place.
According to the NGO statement: “The U.S. has it backwards. We advocate an approach we’re calling “Creating the Conditions for International Peace and Human Security” (the CCIPHS approach), which envisions real progress on nuclear disarmament as contributing to international peace and human security.”
UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly, acting on a proposal from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), decided to hold a series of High Level Meetings on Nuclear Disarmament annually on September 26 to promote negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention (a nuclear prohibition treaty that includes the nuclear-armed States), with a High Level Conference to take place no later than 2018 to consider progress.
In 2016, Abolition 2000 established a Working Group on the UN High Level Conference in order to build momentum for the 2018 High Level Conference. This included campaign actions during 2018 in conjunction with UNFOLD ZERO. (See, for example, Call on your government to speak at the UN in support of the UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, and Social media action: Reach HIGH for a nuclear-weapon-free world).
However, such promotion failed to overcome the blocks from the nuclear-armed States to the initiative. In 2018, the UNGA decided to postpone the convening of the High Level Conference. See Nuclear Weapon States’ Long Arm Seen Behind Deferral of Landmark UN Conference.
Abolition 2000 has a Youth Network with members from a range of youth initiatives including Amplify, Ban All Nukes generation (BANg), CTBTO Youth Group, IPPNW Student Network, PNND youth, Parliament of the World’s Religions youth ambassadors, Pugwash Student and Youth Group, Youth Future Project and others.
In January 2018, the youth network circulated an international youth appeal – Reach High for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World – to most of the world’s Prime Ministers, Presidents and Foreign Ministers. The network also presented the appeal to the United Nations.
Network members were active in a range of other forums during 2018 including at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference of Young Parliamentarians (Baku), Pugwash Youth Conference (Astana), NPT Prep Com (Geneva), Commemoration of 150th birthday of Bertha von Suttner first women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (The Hague) and United Nations General Assembly (New York).
The Youth Network also organized public and university screenings in seven countries of the movie Where the Wind Blew, a new documentary chronicling the history of nuclear tests in Kazakhstan and Nevada (USA), and how civil society movements from both countries reached over the Iron Curtain to act together and end nuclear tests in their countries.
Nuclear Abolition commemoration dates
Anniversary of UN Resolution 1 (1)
A number of Abolition 2000 organisations commemorated the anniversary of first UN General Assembly Resolution, adopted on January 24 1946, which unanimously calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Actions to commemorate the day included calls for governments to sign the TPNW and support the proposed UN High Level Conference, and for UN Security Council members to take action to support the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, including through interim action to affirm the non-use of nuclear weapons. See Time to implement UN Resolution 1 (1).
International Women’s Day for Disarmament
A number of Abolition 200 member organisations and affiliated networks commemorated International Women’s Day for Disarmament, which occurs on May 24. As this was the same day that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, commemorations generally included support for the UNSG’s initiative.
PNND, for example, released a joint appeal for women legislators Common security for a sustainable and nuclear-weapon-free world, which gives support the new UNSG’s disarmament agenda and calls on governments to better use of diplomacy, international law and common security mechanisms in order to prevent war and adequately address climate change and nuclear weapons threats.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days
Abolition 2000 provided action and commemoration ideas and a global platform for actions to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days on August 6th and 9th. 100s of actions and the geographical range of events undertaken for the commemoration days demonstrates the breadth of the nuclear abolition movement. See Actions and events around the world for Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days.
International Day Against Nuclear Tests
A number of Abolition 2000 organisations were also active in commemorating the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, which occurs on August 29th, the anniversary of the closure in 1991 of the Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. Events included a conference in Astana (Kazakhstan) a youth delegation field trip to the nuclear test site in Kurchatov (Kazakhstan) and an event at the United Nations organized in cooperation with the CTBTO and the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs.
UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
To commemorate the day, the UNGA holds a high-level meeting with presentations by Prime Ministers, Presidents, Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors and two representatives from global civil society.
Abolition 2000 Youth Network member Kehkashan Basu was chosen by the President of the UNGA to be one of the two civil society presenters, and to provide in particular a youth perspective. Kehkashan made a powerful speech on the risks of nuclear weapons and the incredible wastage of money on nuclear weapons ($100 billion per year), while children are still hungry and not fed and while the climate needs protecting. She called on governments to cut budgets and investments in nuclear weapons and Move the Nuclear Weapons Money to better purposes, including to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Unfortunately, very few of the nuclear armed States were listening. This year, the United States called a Security Council session on nuclear non-proliferation at the same time as the UN High Level Meeting, in order to draw attention away from the High Level meeting.
Abolition 2000 members were encouraged to take action globally on this day by, amongst other things, signing the AVAAZ petition UN: Step up for nuclear abolition, sending a letter to their governments urging them to speak up for nuclear disarmament at the United Nations, doing a social media photo and circulating to their networks, or organising a vigil or hold a faith-based event using the Nuclear Disarmament Resource Guide for Religious Communities for ideas. In the USA, members were encouraged to call on their legislator or candidate to support the Legislators’ Peace Pledge and the Beyond the Bomb No-First-Use congressional initiative.
Abolition 2000 is a global network of organisations and individuals working for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the promotion of renewables in order to phase out nuclear energy.
The network was established in 1995 at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference with a primary goal of moving governments to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention that would prohibit nuclear weapons and provide a timebound framework for their verified elimination.
The network also promotes incremental measures to reduce nuclear risks, end nuclear tests, establish nuclear-weapon-free zones, stop the modernization of nuclear weapons, affirm the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons under existing international law, promote renewable energy in order to phase out nuclear energy, and ensure NGO participation in nuclear disarmament forums and processes.
The Abolition 2000 International Secretariat is hosted in Berlin by the International Peace Bureau. Abolition 2000’s Fiscal Sponsor is Western States Legal Foundation in the United States.
Secretariat: Malte Albrecht [email protected] Phone: +49 (0) 30 1208 4549
Fiscal Sponsor: Jackie Cabasso [email protected] Phone: +1 510 839-5877
State of the World
By Anabel Dwyer
We’re hopefully worried in this deplorable, discouraging, treacherous, scary, chaotic turmoil;
while we’re finding ourselves unhinged in a precarious, schizophrenic, fearful, vicious time.
Hopefully we’re waking up through this lively, interesting flux,
in the culture of war.
Hopefully we are beginning a fascinating, centrifugal,
yoghurt of peace, love, respect and their entry into force.
(“Thank you” in the Anishinaabe language of the upper Great Lakes).
The poem of assembled “state of the world” single words expressed by participants in the Abolition 2000 campaign meeting May 11, 2018