“Vienna will be a moment where the world responds and creates the global nuclear disarmament plan. Nuclear weapons impact everyone and that’s why this meeting will be a place for all voices to be heard.” (ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn)
The First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the United Nations International Centre in Vienna is the opportunity for countries which have already prohibited any nuclear weapons activity to get together and firm up the blueprint for a nuclear weapons-free world, under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. This is a huge moment and a huge step forward for the Treaty – at a time of growing awareness of the urgent need to eliminate these weapons.
The TPNW allows for states that have not yet joined to attend, as observers, so many of the states which are still compromised in their relations with nuclear-armed countries can attend as observers, as Germany and Norway have already committed to do. There is also a significant place for civil society representatives to attend and to feed their perspective into the negotiations and it would be great if all the Scottish organisations which are ICAN partners can be represented.
The meeting on 21st and 22nd June will set the rules for the conduct of negotiations, and for how civil society will be included. It’s the start of the comprehensive and irreversible terms of the Treaty defining a new norm in the world. The Treaty was created through the will and advocacy of scientists and survivors of the nuclear weapons cycle working with the responsible states that understand the need for an end to nuclear posturing before it destroys us all. With the increasing escalation of the nuclear risk in Ukraine, it’s time to reiterate that the only safe solution would be nuclear disarmament – nuclear weapons do not prevent wars. Details of how the Nuclear Weapon Ban impacts on the UK Government are described in Rebecca Johnson’s recent report.
The UN TPNW is the only internationally recognised multilateral disarmament framework that can achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament. It is the product of decades of collaboration.
The week in Vienna will encompass three significant and essential steps for global nuclear disarmament:
- 18-19 June: ICAN Conference for civil society – to prepare and inform everyone in advance of the negotiations
- 20 June: International Governmental Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons – hosted by Austria to ensure that the most up to date and newest research and facts about the catastrophic impacts of nuclear weapons on the planet and the climate are fully understood by the governments, and by the agencies who will be advising states on the rules of procedure and other matters to be negotiated.
- 21-23 June: First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, presided over by Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt.
ICAN is the co-ordinating body for civil society accreditation and participation in the UN meeting. We are organising a series of events in Vienna for NGOs participating in the conference, and there will be a special opportunity for parliamentarians and city representatives from around the world to meet and ensure that their experiences and views will be fed into the negotiations. ICAN are engaging with governments, journalists and the finance sector, and invitations and detailed plan of events will be available very soon.
In the days before the Meeting of States Parties, we will bring together civil society from around the globe. ICAN will host a forum on 18-19 June to focus on how nuclear weapons make us all vulnerable, and provide the opportunity for us to work together on the solution to this problem. The Austrian Government’s conference on the 20th will be a follow on from the event in 2014 that kickstarted the humanitarian pledge to create the Treaty.
Scotland’s Government and Parliament have already made it clear that in hosting the bases for the UK’s nuclear weapons they are acting under duress, and not representing the wishes of those who elected them. Those MSPs and MPs who have committed to ICAN’s Parliamentary Pledge can speak above the guns.
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