Day 7 of the nuclear ban discussions

The ICAN morning briefing reported that yesterday’s civil society input was well received. The states have to present their credentials to the secretariat to go on record as participating, and already 65 states have done so, with a further 40 + actively participating although they have not yet formally presented their ambassador letters to the secretariat.

The plenary session started with the delegates’ submissions on the final cluster. One talking point was on the relationship with the NPT in one paragraph and the Ecuadorean delegate eloquently made the case for deleting this article by quoting Tony Blair to UK parliament in 2007 when he said that the “NPT makes it absolutely clear that the UK can possess Nuclear Weapons”.

Other delegates, including Sharon Dolev and Matt Bolton for ICAN disapproved of allowing withdrawal from the treaty. A civil society representative from Kazakstan strongly supported the “inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy” and wanted it incorporated into the ban treaty. ICAN views this as potentially divisive.

The President then concluded the review and highlighted changes to the preamble that will be included in the redraft i.e, risks, Humanitarian consequences, threat to survival of human race, unacceptable harm, and the effects on indigenous people, Human rights Law, and threat of use. Paragraphs will be debated in an inter-delegate discussion but there is good convergence.

Flavia and Amy attended the side event “Examples of national implementation measures” which explored existing examples of nuclear weapons prohibitions including NZ Nuclear Free Zone, the Nuclear Free Amendment to the Philippines Constitution and the Federal Constitutional Act for a non-nuclear Austria. New Zealand NFZ has turned 30 this year and the man who was Defence Minister and opposed the policy is now a strong supporter.

Dagmar attended a side event on positive obligations “Protecting Rights, Remediating the Environment: Addressing the Harm from Nuclear Weapons”. Where she learned how the Treaty needs to take a rights based approach to the obligations of states; The language on the rights of victims to assistance and for environmental remediation needs to be clarified. The treaty should make it clear that responsibility must be for the affected states.

Andy, Amy & Flavia attended “The road back to the Nuclear Brink” side event. There has been a reduction in nuclear warheads since the height of the cold war which has levelled out in the last 10 years. There are 1,800 ‘alert’ warheads ready to be fired in less than five minutes. All the nuclear armed nuke states are in continuous cycles of making their weapons more efficient (range, flexibility, targeting, speed to target). The USA recently had exercises with bombers flying to launch points near Russia and in the Pacific which had not happened since the 1980’s. Nuke states have knowingly damaged their own people and environment with testing. The climate change effects of the fires caused by nuclear explosions putting vast amount of soot into the upper atmosphere. 0.1% of the yield of existing Nuclear Weapons could cause a reduction in growing conditions to starve billions.

The President decided that afternoon session was to allow informal interaction between the diplomats. Civil society delegates were (unusually) allowed to attend with the proviso that nothing was to be reported, quoted or tweeted and no photos or filming was allowed. We agreed to this condition.

Scotland’s delegation is now even better represented, with Michael Orgel joining the team.

Andy Hinton & the rest of the Scottish Delegation


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