On January 28, the UN Open Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament (OEWG) will hold its first session in Geneva. The OEWG, open to all UN member states and to representatives of civil society, was established by the UN General Assembly to work on effective legal measures and norms to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, and on interim to increase transparency and eliminate the risk of accidental, mistaken, unauthorized or intentional nuclear weapon detonations.
Mayors for Peace has sent an Open Letter to the OEWG urging all States – especially those possessing nuclear weapons and their umbrella states – to engage in constructive deliberations in the OEWG in order to pave the way for a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The letter, endorsed by the President, Vice-Presidents and Executive Cities of Mayors for Peace, says that “Global nuclear disarmament can only be achieved if it is universal in scope; this will require the participation of all States in the process of achieving that goal. Non-nuclear-weapon states have a stake in nuclear disarmament in the sense that they could be the victims, themselves, of a nuclear weapon attack, even if they are committed to non-proliferation. This Working Group will provide a good opportunity for the nuclear-weapon states and their umbrella states to listen to a wide range of voices from civil society and non-nuclear-weapon states seeking nuclear disarmament.”
“Furthermore, the Working Group will also provide a superb opportunity for the world community to address practical concerns during the disarmament process, including such issues as verification, transparency, and irreversibility. It will also be an appropriate forum to commence a serious discussion of the risks and benefits of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and the legal framework needed to achieve it. We should take this valuable opportunity to deepen the world’s understanding of the challenges ahead in realizing this great and historic goal.”