Day 8 of the nuclear ban treaty discussions

The 8th day of the ban treaty negotiations gave rise to particular excitement as our Scottish team had the opportunity to organise our very own side event ‘Scotland can disarm the UK’! But first, our daily campaigner’s briefing got the day off to a great start with a summary of all the fantastic progress that has been made in- and outside the conference room since negotiations started last week. Positive highlights included facts, such as, that 125 countries have participated so far, that 75 percent of states have reflected civil society focus points when taking the floor, and that the revised draft of the preamble now includes a specific reference to human rights, as called for by civil society.

Nonetheless, with only 9 more days to go until states conclude a treaty, there is still much work to be done. In particular, we as civil society need to continue to stress the importance of: prohibiting finance of nuclear weapons and military planning, strengthening the current provisions on victim assistance and environmental remediation, and revising the preamble so as to include a reference to environmental law. For more information on the status of these topics on negotiations, you’ll have to watch this space, as negotiations have, for the time being, been taking place in an ‘off the record’ setting meaning we cannot report on the details of the discussions. However, we did have the unique opportunity of sitting in and listening and can say that while discussions were lively, parties maintained a positive attitude and displayed a clear intent to make this treaty as strong and successful as possible.

Meanwhile, Andy attended a side event contextualising the current negotiations through previous experience with the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions. He also made a breakthrough with his external lobbying activities and spoke to some length with the Tajikistan mission who expressed his support for the treaty. Yet another excellent example of the importance of civil society work and how every person can contribute to the cause.
At lunch time it was finally time for our presentation of Scotland’s position in the nuclear disarmament movement. We opened the session with a number of videos displaying Scottish efforts towards education (Trident Education Video), supportive statements from 5 parliamentarians (check our YouTube channel) and examples of Scottish direct action and campaigns. Our panel was live streamed and can be watched back on Scottish CND’s Facebook page. In addition to statements from each member of our Scottish team members, we were happy to boast contributions to our panel from Michael Orgel from Medact and Elizabeth Minor from ICAN UK, as well as international contributions from Susi Snyder from PAX detailing similarities between the Dutch and the Scottish position and Sharon Dolov emphasising the value of Scottish contribution in the international domain. We generated a lively discussion which led to questions which, due to time restrictions, we took beyond the conference room. We also provided a briefing which we can offer campaigners and delegates, a link to which you can find here (attachment will be added shortly).

Since negotiations continued to be off the record throughout the afternoon, Flavia had an informal meeting with other campaigners and a representative of the Romanian mission to UN and the rest attended another side event on ‘Threat and Deterrence’. This had contributions from Commander Robert Green and John Burroughs. The latter talked us through some of the problems in deterrence theory as well as providing insight into the legal context, while the former gave a personal account of his spectacular journey in which he started out as an operator of British nuclear weapons (now retired) to his presence today in New York, supporting us and all civil society here in promoting the creation of a universal ban on nuclear weapons. Together we will ban the bomb!

Best wishes,
Dagmar Medeiros & the rest of the Scottish team

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