On July 7, 2017, the United Nations adopted a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons following negotiations by over 120 countries on the draft treaty during March, June and July. The treaty will be open for signature on September 20 and will enter-into-force once 50 States ratify.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that ‘The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspiration of a world without nuclear weapons.’
Although no nuclear-armed or allied States support the treaty, and as such will not be bound by its provisions, adoption of the treaty strengthens the global norm against nuclear weapons. It demonstrates the clear and unequivocal acceptance of the majority of UN members never to use, threaten to use, produce, possess, acquire, transfer, test or deploy nuclear weapons.
A number of Abolition 2000 members and affiliated networks were active in the ban treaty negotiations, and are also engaged in follow-up. This includes promoting strong national implementation measures in States parties to the treaty, and promoting the treaty in countries that do not yet support.
ICAN campaign news reports on some of this follow-up. PNND has released a Parliamentary Action Plan which includes follow-up by parliamentarians (see below). See also, After the nuclear weapons ban treaty: A new disarmament politics by Zia Mian.
United States Conference of Mayors resolution
On June 26 the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution at its 85th Assembly welcoming the UN negotiations on the nuclear prohibition treaty and calling on the U.S. government to support them.
The resolution, which was introduced by U.S. members of Mayors for Peace, also called on the U.S. to do everything in its power to reduce nuclear tensions with other nuclear-armed States, undertake deep cuts in nuclear stockpiles, scale back the President’s authority to launch a nuclear-first strike, and cut nuclear weapons spending and reallocate to areas of economic and social need.
Parliamentary Action Plan: The ban treaty and beyond
On July 3, PNND held a press conference at the UN on the important role of parliamentarians, and released a Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free World. The plan includes a number of actions of parliamentarians in countries supporting the ban treaty to adopt strong national implementation measures.
Such measures could include national prohibitions on financing and transit of nuclear weapons. These activities were not specifically mentioned in the treaty. However, the treaty includes a prohibition on assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in activities prohibited under the treaty. This provision could be interpreted as prohibiting financing and transit of nuclear weapons.
The Action Plan notes that ‘Parliamentarians also have a role to encourage their colleagues in States that have not joined the treaty to do so.‘ And the Action Plan identifies the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament (HLC) as a unique opportunity to elevate the ban treaty. States could announce their ratification of the treaty at the HLC and encourage other countries to sign and ratify.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the ban treaty negotiations
On July 7, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe adopted the Minsk Declaration, including language welcoming the nuclear ban treaty negotiations (which had not quite finished at the time the resolution was adopted), and promoting nuclear risk reduction and disarmament measures to be taken by the nuclear armed states and their allies.
PNND organized a side-event in Minsk to discuss with parliamentarians ways to implement and promote the ban treaty, plus other suggested actions listed in the Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free World.
The ban treaty and the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament
On June 29, the Abolition 2000 Working Group on the UN High Level Conference (HLC) on Nuclear Disarmament held an event at the UN on The Ban treaty and the 2018 High Level Conference.
The event highlighted the opportunity to promote the ban treaty at the HLC, by encouraging governments to use this opportunity to announce their ratification of the treaty and to call on other governments to sign. The event also discussed other nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament measures that could be on the agenda for the HLC, and possibly adopted.
The event recalled the success of other HLCs over the past few years, including on sustainable development, climate change and the oceans. However, these required strong and widespread support and action from civil society, something that is so far missing for the HLC on nuclear disarmament.
Women’s March to ban the bomb
The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb was a women-led initiative, co-sponsored by Abolition 2000, that built on the momentum of movements at the forefront of the resistance, including the Women’s March on Washington. It brought together more than 1000 people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, races, abilities, nationalities, cultures, faiths, political affiliations, and backgrounds in heavy rain on June 17 to show their support for the ban treaty.
Peace and Planet conference
Over 200 activists from around the world participated in No Nukes, No Wars, No Walls, No Warming, a conference making the links between nuclear abolition, social and economic justice and moving the global economy to a path in balance with the planet’s ecosystems.
The conference looked beyond the ban treaty to ways in which activists and the movement could influence nuclear weapons policies and practices, taking into consideration the need to address the root causes that give rise to these policies.
The Abolition 2000 Interfaith Working Group held a round-table event on June 28 to discuss faith-based actions for nuclear disarmament.
Members of the group also participated in a daily prayer vigil at Isaiah Wall opposite the entrance to the United Nations, organized by the Humanitarian Disarmament Faith Network.
The group also participated in a private meeting on June 30 with Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN High Representative on Disarmament Affairs, at which they presented the statement and endorsers of ‘A Nuclear-Weapon Free World: Our Common Good‘.
Further endorsements of the statement from religious leaders are being sought prior to it being presented to the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament. Contact [email protected].
Abolition 2000 Youth Working Group
The event focused on actions for youth to follow-up the ban treaty and engage nuclear armed States. This included youth actions on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sep 26) and youth campaigning for the 2018 United Nations High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.
Ideas included: screenings of the film “Where the wind blew” at university or organizations; video messages to countries’ leaders to participate in 2018 UNHLC; and youth approaching their mayor, parliamentarian and/or religious leader to endorse ‘A Nuclear Weapon Free World: Our Common Good’.
For more information contact [email protected]