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 first 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. The TPNW allows for states that have not yet joined to attend, as observers, so even 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.
The TPNW is the product of decades of collaboration. It is the only internationally recognised multilateral disarmament framework that can achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament. Thus, in Vienna, everyone has a voice. As ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn highlights, “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.”
The week in Vienna will encompass four 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: The Humanitarian Impacts Conference ( full-day) hosted by the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- 20 June: The ICAN Parliamentary Conference ( half-day) hosted by ICAN and the Austrian Parliament
- 21-23 June: First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, presided over by Ambassador Alexander Kmentt
Scotland’s Government and Parliament have already made it clear that in hosting the base for the UK’s nuclear weapons they are acting under duress, and not representing the wishes of those who elected them. As you know, the Scottish situation regarding nuclear weapons is completely unique, and must be properly understood in the global sphere. We hope that you can commit to attending at least some of the events. Our MSPs and MPs who have committed to ICAN’s Parliamentary Pledge can speak above the guns.
There are three important ways in which you can make an impact:
1. Contacting Parliamentarians
On behalf of all Scottish ICAN Partners, supporting material has been sent to all MPs in Scottish Constituencieswho have signed the ICAN Pledge, plus all MSPs at Holyrood who have done so . They have all received a copy of Nuclear Weapons are Banned! What does this Mean for Britain? (by Rebecca Johnson – available electronically here), and a One Page Briefing on the First Meeting of States Parties from UN House Scotland, with an additional covering letter of invitation to the events in Vienna. Parliamentarians have been made aware of the upcoming MSP, all they need is persistent engagement from their constituents to take part. This can be done by writing to or phoning your Scottish elected representatives (One MP and 8 MSPs) and encouraging them to be in Vienna at this vital time. You may want to visit the constituency office or make an appointment at a surgery.
When contacting parliamentarians, please ask them to represent you by attending the meeting in Vienna in June, and then use your own words to include these three main messages:
• Remind them of the letters and emails they have received from ICAN
• Urge them to attend as many of the events as time allows (at the very least, we want Scottish parliamentarians to be in Vienna on 20th and 21st June to attend the Parliamentary Conference and the first day of the Meeting of States Parties, when the most substantive discussions will take place)
• Explain that the Conference will provide important opportunities for parliamentarians to meet, share our Scottish perspective, and hear from parliamentarians in other states, including those that support the Treaty
Make your letter or phone call personal, and use your own words. You can use the points above as guidance. You can also offer to arrange to have a meeting with an ICAN representative present. Give them the two addresses for registration and info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
2. Staying engaged and up to date, from afar
By following and amplifying news of the events and writing to your local papers, we can increase the reach of the event and build momentum for the TPNW that can extend beyond the time of the Meeting.
To contact Scottish ICAN, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to keep an eye on nuclearban.scot and icanw.org to stay up to date with any relevant events, news articles, and press releases! All contact and social media information for the Scottish ICAN partners can be found on nuclearban.scot.
Press releases, updates and notes will be sent out from mid May onwards – keep an eye out!
3. Attend the Meeting yourself
Make a massive impact by sending a representative from your group to Vienna to attend the Campaigners’ Conference, or by attending yourself! Many Scottish ICAN partners will be sending representatives. Email email@example.com for more information, guidance, or to let ICAN know your plans on this.
Written by Christina Kelly