Now that the NPT PrepCom is over, it is possible to briefly examine some of the interesting discussions that happened amongst various actors at the NPT PrepCom.
During the NGO presentations, H.E. Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein,Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for Disarmament, International Security and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy of Egypt,inquired on how civil society members are engaging with policymakers in their respective capitals, how to raise awareness amongst average individuals in different regions, and how civil society is engaging in capacity building.
In response to these questions, Ms. Ray Acheson of WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will, explained that that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and affiliated NGO partners have been present at the NPT PrepCom. Specifically, she noted that ICAN consists several hundred organizations in 90 states. The majority of these campaigners are also organizing events in their capitals and meeting with their ministers. Moreover, the campaigners are also actively engaged in raising public awareness in their respective communities throughout the world. In terms of capacity building, Ms. Acheson mentioned that RCW and Article 36 published a book about banning the bomb, and they are engaging with the public and intellectuals in order to increase knowledge and capacity. Their joint publications and their activities will serve as launching points in order to engage in capacity building with the public.
Role of Youth and WMDFZ in the Middle East
H.E. Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein of Egypt has strongly been advocating the need for the youth to play a major role in moving the agenda forward on the establishment of the WMDFZ in the Middle East as he explained to a group of young people.
The young people can play an important role because the movement towards a WMDFZ in the Middle East will ultimately depend on the role of young people, who have been at the forefront of the sweeping geopolitical changes throughout the Middle East. However, it is essential that members of civil society and government officials educate these individuals and raise awareness amongst the average young citizen about the prospects and challenges of a WMDFZ to help them learn and become invigorated to support the WMDFZ.
Surely, if the youth can understand the issues, then they will help establish avenue in which they can express the necessity to establish a WMDFZ in the Middle East.
Blog about the Final Day of the PrepCom, Christian Ciobanu, NAPF
Despite the Chair’s efforts, the parties to the NPT failed to adopt by consensus the Chair’s draft of recommendations. Thus, the Chair presented his working paper, and the parties only adopted a procedural report.
After receiving the working paper, several states provided their reflections to the parties.
On the Working Paper
The delegation of Mexico provided several observations. First, the delegation strongly felt that there was a double standard on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Second, the delegation reminded the Chair that the New Agenda Coalition’s suggestion about establishing a subsidiary body on Article VI in Main Committee I of the Review Conference should have been incorporated into the paper. Moreover, the references to the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons fail to underscore the concerns amongst delegations and do not allude to the discussions throughout the Review Cycle and the humanitarian conferences.
The delegation of Cuba contended that “today is not a day to celebrate nor is it the time to be pessimistic” about the struggle for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. This statement is a direct reference to the delegation’s frustrations about the nuclear disarmament section (section on Cluster 1) in the Chair’s working paper.
The representative of Argentina urged delegations to be flexible and be open to engaging in both short term and medium term goals, and the parties should view the recommendations in a flexible manner.
H.E. Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland mentioned that the previous document and the current version provide the parties with a good basis for consensus. The Ambassador believed that the paper addresses the numerous issues that the parties are facing and will be a valuable source for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
2015 NPT Review Conference
In terms of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the delegation of Mexico stated that it is unacceptable to simply have a roll from the 2010 NPT Action Plan at the 2015 Review Conference. The Review Conference must contain an ambitious agenda.
Further concerning the NPT Review Conference, the delegation of Cuba mentioned that states party to the NPT must work for specific concrete measures and cannot accept the step-by-step approach.
The New Agenda Coalition, Mexico, and Switzerland expressed their appreciation for civil society’s valuable contribution.
After two exhausting weeks of listening to the deliberations amongst the parties to the NPT, the prospects of having a successful 2015 Review Conference still remain uncertain. At this NPT PrepCom, states continued to argue about the postponement of Conference on the WMDFZ in the Middle East. If a conference is not convened, then there will be serious concerns about the indefinite extension of the NPT.
In terms of nuclear disarmament, paths have been demarcated, and the positions of states are becoming increasingly clearer. Some states have begun to distance themselves from the progressive final document of the Nayarit Conference and frustrations are mounting about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons as well as the various interpretations about Article VI commitments.
The fact that the Chair’s working paper did not explicitly contain references to the establishment of a subsidiary body to address Article VI commitment and the limited references to the humanitarian impact raises problems for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
Finally, the President of the Review Conference has yet to be appointed, which raises questions on whether the President would have enough time to consult with notable member-states and groups before the 2015 Review Conference. Was the future President even present at the 2014 NPT PrepCom? What will happen?
The future is still uncertain about the nonproliferation regime. Will the no -nuclear weapon states rise up and shake the nonproliferation regime, its provisions, and its rules to create a forward looking outcome document in this neoliberal regime?
Hopefully, the non nuclear weapon states will create some wildfire and establish a forward outcome document at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
The bottom line is that all parties must cooperate with one another in mutual trust and good faith and seriously evaluate the credibility of the NPT and its future role in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
What is Happening with the Chair’s Document?
On 8 May, the NPT convened a morning plenary session in which the Chair heard comments about his draft paper from delegations, a document that contains recommendations to the 2015 Review Conference and should be adopted consensus. If adopted by consensus, the recommendations would provide a strong foundation for the Review Conference. However, divergent views on different cluster issues raised questions on whether it would be possible to achieve consensus.
New Agenda Coalition
Immediately, Ireland, on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, commented about paragraph 3’s introductory language. The New Agenda Coalition further underscored the importance of Article VI and suggested that a subsidiary body should be established under Main Committee I. It further expressed concern about the imbalance of language and references to Cluster 1 discussions on nuclear disarmament as compared to the language and references to the discussions under the other clusters.
Concerning Article VI and Cluster I on Nuclear Disarmament, H.E. Ambassador Kmentt informed delegations that Austria agrees with NAC’s point about the references to the Cluster 1 discussions. In addition, the Ambassador reminded delegations about the lack of implementation on nuclear disarmament and Article VI. The Ambassador urged that more progress should be done on nuclear disarmament.. Finally, he recalled the Austrian position on nuclear liability.
Nigeria, African Group
Nigeria urged the Chair to emphasize the importance of nuclear disarmament. Moreover, the delegate questioned the language in Paragraph 3, Section D because the international community has been waiting too long for the NWS to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The paragraph must contain a reference to the increasing frustrations amongst parties that the NWS have yet to implement their commitments under Article VI of the NPT.
WMDFZ in the Middle East
Concerning the WMDFZ in the Middle East, the NAC noted that paper must reflect implementation of the mandate set forth in the 2010 Final Document.
Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement
Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concerns that a number of NAM’s proposals have not been reflected in the paper. Additionally, the NAM was disappointed about the imbalances and inconsistences amongst the three pillars and concerned about the number of titles and subtitles. The Group further expressed surprise that important events, including the High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament was not reflected. Moreover, in terms of the WMDFZ in the Middle East, the group regretted that there were not references to the 2010 NPT Review Conference’s Final Document and reminded delegations that the convening of the conference was agreed upon by the parties at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The group also notes that the document does not explicitly make reference to clear legal obligations.
The Arab Group strongly expressed its grievances that the paper did not contain references to WMDFZ in the Middle East as contained the final outcome document of the 2010 Review Conference. The paper only contains references to the 1995 Resolution. Moreover, Paragraph 5 should explicitly mention the parties deep regret that the WMDFZ in the Middle East conference has yet to be convened.
The delegation of Japan expressed its gratitude on the references about nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation education as mentioned in paragraph 5.A. Paragraph 5, Section A mentions the following:
The 2015 Review Conference should consider additional measures, including those that would enhance confidence through improving transparency and developing efficient verification capabilities related to nuclear disarmament, including:
a. Implementing initiatives in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation education, including continued efforts to educate the new generation, the use of new information and communication technology, as well as collaboration among governments, international organizations, non- governmental organisations, academic institutions and the private sector;
On the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
The New Agenda Coalition contended that the humanitarian consequences must be featured more prominently throughout the report, especially on paragraph 1. If the language is not changed, then there is a possibility that it could be misconstrued and limited.
H.E. Ambassador Kmentt of Austria argued that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons must be featured prominently in the final text. The discussions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons underpin the basis of the NPT. He further reminded the Chair and the parties about Austria’s working paper.
Nigeria aligned itself with the NAM statement and further stated that there must be references to the two conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which were held in Oslo and Nayarit respectively.
In contrast, the Ambassador of France was uncomfortable with the references to the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in the document. Thus, it would be unable to support the document, if it were adopted by consensus.
Despite the divergent views on a broad range of issues, the delegation of Mexico reminded their fellow parties that the 2014 NPT PrepCom is the last Prepom before the 2015 Review Conference. Consequently, Mexico stated that this PrepCom is the final opportunity for parties to collectively express their voices and recommendations to the Review Conference. Finally, the Ambassador mentioned that a consensus document must be produced and it would be “difficult to understand why we spent two weeks in New York, if we are not ready to make an effort until the last possible report to achieve a consensus report.”
Response from the Chair
In response to these comments, the Chair agreed to distribute a new working draft on 9 May that reflects the views of the parties. He further expressed that he did not want to merely cut and paste from the outcome document of the 2010 Review Conference. Hence, there were omitted references. Hopefully, Chair will resolve any further disputes amongst the parties and the paper could be adopted by consensus.
Middle East and Chairman’s Summary Situation, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
On May 6, the parties to the NPT focused their discussions on Cluster Two: implementation of the provisions of the Treaty relating to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, safeguards, and nuclear weapon free zones. As part of this discussion, Morocco expressed its profound disappointment that the conference on the establishment of a WMDFZ was postponed.
In addition, Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) expressed its strong regrets that the conference was not held in 2012. In addition, in order to illustrate the gravity of the situation, the NAM provided a historic lesson about the importance of the WMDFZ and the responsibilities of the sponsors of the 2012 conference. Of particular significance, the delegate noted that the 1995 Resolution is closely associated with the indefinite extension of the treaty. Moreover, the group contended that the failure to convene the conference violates the collective agreement amongst parties at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
The group fundamentally rejects the arguments set forth by the sponsors for not convening the WMDFZ in the Middle East. Additionally, all states should be prepared to shoulder the responsibility of not implementing the conference, as adopted. Furthermore, the NAM proposes the establishment of a subsidiary body to review and assess the 1995 Resolution and calls for the establishment of a standing committee of the Bureau throughout the intercessional period about the WMDFZ in the Middle East. Finally, the NAM strongly urged countries in the Middle East, including Israel, to accede, without any preconditions to the NPT, and place all of its activities under IAEA safeguards.
The Chair of the 2014 NPT Prepcom noted that he has been unable to produce a consensus text. He will continue to consult with the parties of the NPT and provide a draft on May 7. Considering that the Chair has been unable to produce a consensus outcome document and the intense discussions on the WMDFZ in the Middle East, one can presume that the reflections on the WMDFZ have caused a significant obstacle.
Side Event: Arctic NWFZ, Sam Morris, NGOCDPS
As the second week of the NPT PrepCom begins, it is important to note that there are meetings taking place outside of the Trusteeship Council Chamber. These side events, often organized by NGOs or a state’s mission, provide insight on specific issues that may have only been briefly covered during the larger forums. This Monday, I went to a side event on the establishment of an Arctic Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ). It was sponsored by Canadian Pugwash and included a wide variety of speakers.
It is well known that Antarctica has been a NWFZ decades and that the region is also demilitarized. Establishing a treaty for the opposite pole is an entirely different task, however. The nations with territory within the Arctic Circle include Canada, the U.S., Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
The first and most glaring difference between a hypothetical Arctic NWFZ and other ones already established is the fact that negotiations would be required between the two most powerful nuclear weapons states (NWS), which, in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine, are not currently on the best of terms. It is well known that the Arctic allows for both nuclear submarine and aircraft patrols by the two NWS. Another obstacle is that some of the non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) are part of NATO and its nuclear protection.
While each of the speakers offered fresh insight on the establishment of a NWFZ in the Arctic, the one I found most interesting came from Dr. Adele Buckley. Being a physicist, engineer, and environmental scientist, she possesses a background that greatly contrasts the usual lawyers and career politicians seen in these halls. She was also one of the more straight forward panelists of the group. To all guests of the forum, she offered a bulleted list of recommendations to move an Arctic NWFZ forward. While there are too many recommendations to list, some of the more interesting options included lobbying UNIDIR to initiate a study on a NWFZ in the Arctic and strengthening the Arctic Circle’s authority.
All of the speakers at this forum stressed that time is a particularly limited resource. As the Arctic continues to shrink, more trade routes will be utilized by the international community. Due to rises in trade traffic and already present nuclear traffic, the possibility for an unfavorable international incident to take place will become greater.
Now is the time to begin dialogue on this issue of increasing importance. Tensions mounting between Russia and the United States combined with the disappearing Arctic ice masses allow for a potential exchange to take place in the North. It will be far easier to establish a treaty in the near future before the world heavily utilizes this region for trade. If the international community waits too long on this issue, then trade routes which rely on the security of nuclear deterrence will become the norm in the Arctic. A global powder keg could be stopped from forming only through increased action on the part of the UN, NATO, and circumpolar states.
Cluster 1: Nuclear De-Alerting, OEWG and Article VI, and Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
On Nuclear De-Alerting:
On the subject of nuclear de-alerting, Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the nuclear de-alerting group (Chile, Malaysia Nigeria, New Zealand, and Switzerland), mentioned that lowering the alert levels are essential elements in nuclear disarmament as elaborated in the Practical Steps of the 2000 Review Conference. Furthermore, the final document of the 2010 Review Conference stated that the nuclear weapon states “must accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament contained in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference.” In particular, they agreed to “consider the legitimate interest of non-nuclear weapon States in further reducing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems and to report at this Preparatory Committee on the fulfillment of their undertakings in this area.”
Moreover, the De-alerting Group submitted a working paper about the implications of high alert levels and their concerns about the current high levels. Specifically, the paper recommends that the “Review Conference should receive undertakings from the nuclear-weapon states to address de-alerting comprehensively within the context of their collective engagement concerning the implementation of article VI; to reduce alert levels (unilaterally, bilaterally or otherwise) in a concrete and measurable way and within a specified timeframe; and to report to the States Parties on measures taken regarding alert levels.”
Similarly, H.E. Ambassador Kmentt of Austria explained that Austria is concerned that there has been absolutely no progress on de-alerting as mentioned in Action 5 of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Opened-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament and Article VI:
Concerning the Opened-Ended Working Group in relation to Article VI, Ambassador Kmentt explained frustrations that the nuclear weapon states refused to attend the OEWG in 2013, a body that examined how to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.
As illustrated by the Austrian delegation, the OEWG created a substantive report that touched upon elements and factors that could lead to a world without nuclear weapons provided crucial measures on how to achieve general and complete disarmament, a goal of Article VI of the NPT.
H.E. Ms. Patricia O’Brien of Ireland noted that the New Agenda Coalition submitted a working paper about the elements of any measures to help achieve disarmament. These elements should enable state parties to identify crucial elements and then identify what is important. The NAC paper, which was submitted to the OEWG, served as a foundation for the NAC paper on Article VI of the NPT.
Similarly, the delegation of the Netherlands noted that the discussions at the OEWG encouraged delegations to discuss and analyze elements that will help establish a world free of nuclear weapons. Consequently, the Netherlands concluded that such discussions contributed to the NPT.
Building upon the discussion at the OEWG, the delegation of the Netherlands expressed its support for Japan’s working paper on “building blocks,” blocks that could consist of either unilateral, bilateral, regional or multilateral nature.
Based on these perspectives, the OEWG provided a forum for states to contribute to the NPT PrepCom and working papers. If the OEWG is renewed again, it would be possible for states to further examine prospects on the implementation of Article VI and the different options that could help states create a world free of nuclear weapons.
On the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons:
Several states provided their different perspectives on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The opinions about the humanitarian discourse ranged from non-nuclear weapons, which are not members of NATO, and NATO allied states. The NATO allied states strongly support the step-by-step approach, and one particular state argued that the ideal venue for discussions on the humanitarian consequences is through the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Regarding the humanitarian discourse of nuclear weapons, H.E. Ambassador Kmentt of Austria underscored the “engagement of states, international organizations, and civil society on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons” as illustrated in its statement at the High Level meeting on nuclear disarmament.
Additionally, the delegate emphasized Austria’s working paper (WP 30) on its views about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. This paper indicates that the “broad based and discussions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Oslo, Nayarit, and soon-to-be Vienna illustrate the importance of anchoring the humanitarian imperative in the discussions about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. They build on the preamble of the NPT and pursue the treaty’s goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons as well as implementing the 2010 NPT Action Plan. Better awareness of the devastating humanitarian impact and consequences of nuclear weapons builds momentum for the urgency of achieving nuclear disarmament and results in greater understanding of the need to eliminate this risk.”
Expressing their views on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Ireland described that the “discourse on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has revealed the risks and consequences of continued collective inaction, which raise stark policy choices for all states.”
The delegate described that “the cenotaph at Hiroshima the epitaph reads: ‘Please rest in peace, the error shall not be repeated.’ That, Mr. Chairman, is a matter, which rests in our hands and our hands alone. “ This statement reveals the belief that the fate of humanity lies in the hands of delegates who can ensure that the horrors inflicted upon Japan are not repeated ever again.
In the same vein, H.E. Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland reminded delegations that the final document of the Action Plan of the 2010 Review Conference underpinned the concerns amongst states about the humanitarian consequences of ever using nuclear weapons.
The humanitarian discourse further revealed the need to “safeguard the NPT’s integrity and credibility, and to fully implement this key instrument for international security in order to avoid the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war.”
In this light, the joint statement on the humanitarian impact, which was delivered by New Zealand and endorsed by 125 states, indicated that nuclear weapons must be eliminated to protect humanity. Consequently, this strong statement has motivated us to continue our desire to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The Netherlands offered a different perspective with a stronger focus on the importance of a step-by-step approach. The delegation described its Foreign Minister’s trip to Hiroshima for the NPDI meeting, where he met with Hibakusha and witnessed the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. He informed the press “Hiroshima cries out to the world: get rid of nuclear arms! That’s why we are here, that’s what we are trying to do.”
Drawing upon the aforementioned statement, the delegation of the Netherlands noted “together with the security dimension, the humanitarian issue underpins all our practical and sustained efforts aimed at achieving the shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The delegation also contended that the best approach is the step-by-step process in order to achieve practical and concrete measures.”
The delegation of Finland noted that it would be important to separate the “Chair’s summary and his suggestions on ways to reach new international standards and norms on the basis of humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.” This statement seems to suggest that some states, including Finland, did not concur with the Chairman’s statement. Furthermore, Finland questioned what would be the best way forward.
In response to this rhetorical question, Finland proposed that the NPT is the best arena to address the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The delegation further recommended that the parties should “enforce the NPT non-proliferation and disarmament regime by the humanitarian impact discourse.”
Finland, just as the Netherlands had done, further commended the discussions at the NPDI ministerial meeting in Hiroshima. It also highlighted Nuclear Weapon States’ joint statement in which they noted the severe humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The delegation further illustrated that the P5 firmly subscribe to the step-by-step approach in nuclear disarmament “as a path to a world without nuclear weapons.” Furthermore, delegations from the nuclear weapon states, including the US, made remarks to the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which apparently illustrates the nuclear weapon states willingness to engage in discussions about nuclear disarmament.
Opinions of the Writer:
The discussions about nuclear disarmament indicate the diverse opinions on how the world can become a safer place — a world that is free of nuclear weapons. Some states strongly contend that the discourse of the humanitarian impact can lead to the ever-increasing desire to eliminate and ban nuclear weapons. In a more traditional manner, other states are strongly ascribing to building blocks or step-by-step approach, which can lead to a slow progression towards the path of zero.
As the momentum increases for the establishment of a world free of nuclear weapons, states will have to weigh different options, as outlined in the New Agenda Coalition’s working paper, to select the best approach. Of course, civil society should continue to advocate their perspectives and help convince states to support an immediate ban on nuclear weapons instead of a step-by step process.
Something has to be done: WMDFZ in the Middle East, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
In the afternoon of 1 May, 2014, delegations focused on Cluster 2 items. These areregional issues, one specifically with respect to the Middle East and the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution. H.E. Ambassador Laajava, Finland’s Undersecretary of State and Facilitator of the Conference on establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East offered a statement. The facilitator noted that small steps may be necessary to move the agenda forward on determining a date and substantive aspects of the conference. He further mentioned that the “task will be difficult, but it is no by no means impossible. The focus will be on the next step, which will be on the discussions in Geneva in mid-May.
Expressing frustration about the establishment of a WMDFZ in the Middle East, Iraq on behalf of the Arab Group, contended that the continued postponement of the conference jeopardizes commitments to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and may cause Arab States to reconsider the indefinite extension of the NPT. He further argued that other elements associated with the indefinite extensions of the NPT were agreed upon and implemented, but the parties have ignored the WMDFZ in the Middle East. Moreover, he noted the group’s deep dissatisfaction that no progress has been registered in the last four years. As a result, the credibility of the NPT will be at risk. Finally, if the conference will not be held before the review conference of 2015, then the Arab States will take measures in the interest of their own national security.
The United Kingdom, on behalf of the co-conveners, described the frank exchange and views in the last year, which have lead to positive and constructive dialogues. They further recognized the importance of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. However, the P3 noted that Israel is not bound by the outcome document of the 2010 NPT Review; nevertheless, its presence at a conference on the WMDFZ in the Middle East would be immensely important. The delegation of the UK further acknowledged the frustrations over the postponement of the Conference, but they remain encouraged by the informal consultations and are optimistic that the discussions in Geneva will be fruitful.
Following the UK, the United States of America gave a statement. The U.S. delegate reiterated the United States’ support for establishment of the WMDFZ in the Middle East, and assured that it has been encouraged by the ongoing discussions. The delegation mentioned that the consultations in Glion were more balanced and positive than in the Plenary room at the NPT PrepCom. The Ambassador further mentioned that states must take ownership, responsibilities of the issues, and seek solutions. The states should follow the examples of the states of Africa and Latin America, which were able to establish NWFZs in their respective regions.
The Russian delegation mentioned that not all states from the region were present in Glion. He encouraged that the delegations to attend the upcoming meeting in Geneva on the 14th and 15th of May, as participation from all states in the region is essential to the successful convening of a conference. Specifically, he requested the participation of Iran and Syria in Geneva because these two countries should not be sidelined from the important progress of establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East.
The delegation of Iran reminded delegations that Iran further proposed the NWFZ in the Middle East in 1974. Iran attaches great importance to achieving a NWFZ/WMDFZ in the Middle East because it would greatly enhance international peace and action, as well as regional security. Likewise, the annual adoption of UNGA resolutions related to either the NWFZ or WMDFZ have been adopted with consensus, which demonstrates the overwhelming support amongst members of the international community. He further strongly stressed Iran’s support of the 2010 Action Plan and the conference plan. He expressed grave concerns about Israel’s perceived nuclear weapons program and its refusal to accede to IAEA comprehensive safeguards.
Overall, there is an overwhelming sense of urgency that something must be done. The convening of a conference on the WMDFZ in the Middle East and the indefinite extension of the NPT are closely associated with one another. If the conference is not convened, then a serious discussion must be held and may result into drastic changes in the nonproliferation regime.
Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold, IPPNW Costa Rica and BANg
On a side event organized by the controversial group, Wildfire:
“Burn the NPT,” as the event was called, sounds scary! And it was so much so, that even though the room was filled with delegates and NGO members, nobody was sitting next to Wildfire´s public face, Mr. Richard Lennane. Fortunately he invited me to sit next to him, which I did. Maybe, some people were expecting actual fire to appear and were wary of being burned, but nothing like that actually happened. “Burn the NPT,” is seems, was purely a figurative title, presumably chosen for its shock value.
Mr. Lennane started by asking those present to write three words about what the NPT meant to them. Unfortunately, the results reflected just how frustrated we all feel with the lack of forward movement that has happened through the last few decades. So he said: “It´s not enough to be right, non-nuclear weapons states; you’ve been screwed.”
The meeting was all about how we cannot wait any longer. He compared the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states supporting them (commonly known as weasel states) as addicts. A person who has an addiction is always telling others that he will stop, that he just hasn’t been able to do so because of this or that. And sometimes his family and friends try to help him and to show him ways to succeed, but this is not always enough. So what is there to do then? Stop enabling them. Wildfire believes that if we wait for the nuclear weapons states to act, we will wait forever. So the key is compliance from the non-nuclear weapon states. Theoretically, they can ban nuclear weapons without the nuclear weapon states’ agreement. Who could object to this considering that the NPT has already been signed, and a ban on nuclear weapons would be in accordance with Article VI? Well, the nuclear weapon states might object, but not officially, because it would make them seem insincere. This would also “flush the weasel states out,” as Mr. Lennane says, because it would obligate all states to take a clear stand on their sincerity about nuclear disarmament. If asked if they agree upon a ban, they only have two choices: yes or no.
Now, even though the title of the event may sound intimidating and counteractive to the efforts supporting the NPT, Mr. Lennane clearly states that in no way does he want the NPT to disappear. Banning nuclear weapons would simply close the loopholes associated with its pillar on nuclear disarmament and enable the NPT to move forward.
From the audience, Ms. Jacquez from Mexico reminded all present that nuclear weapons have already been banned, even before the NPT existed, with the Treaty of Tlatelolco, so she doesn’t understand why other countries are so afraid to move forward in this sense. And to tell you the truth, neither do I. So many non-nuclear weapon states have shown bravery, but it´s time for more to join, and it is time for action. In closing, I´ll just repeat the words with which the event started: We cannot wait any longer!
Blog 1, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
On Cluster 1:
In the afternoon, delegations including New Zealand, Costa Rica, Ireland on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, Japan, Malaysia, and Mexico focused their discussions on the Cluster I item, Nuclear Disarmament.
Reiterating the importance of the Humanitarian Impact, Ambassador Higgie of New Zealand submitted a joint report on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. She further noted that the “humanitarian focus is now well-established on the global agenda. We welcome the renewed resolve of the international community, together with the ICRC, international humanitarian organizations and the crucial role of civil society, to address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.”
Costa Rica emphasized that due to the continued challenges in the international disarmament machinery, including the Conference on Disarmament, the UNGA established an Opened-Ended working Group to advance the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. The proposals discussed in the consensus report provided practical approaches to overcome the deadlock in order to commence multilateral negotiations.
Additionally, underscoring the importance of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the delegation of Costa Rica contended that the “ humanitarian paradigm must be the driving force behind our efforts to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons. Reliance on nuclear weapons for security and deterrence purposes must be renounced and the rejection of nuclear weapons must be reinforced.”
Ireland, as the Chair of the New Agenda Coalition, presented its three working papers. The first paper, “Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” examines the implementation of Article VI of the NPT and addressed the various options for achieving and maintaining a world free of nuclear weapons. These options include: a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, a nuclear weapons ban treaty, a framework arrangement of mutually supporting instruments, and a hybrid arrangement. The delegate mentioned that “the New Agenda Coalition calls for all options to be discussed, examined, and tested in full against the requirements of Article VI, with a view to the early agreement of a framework to be implemented.”
The second paper, Humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons: known risks and consequences,” touches upon the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and mentions that states would be unable to address the devastating effects of nuclear weapons, if these weapons were ever used again. It concludes that “it is incumbent upon all States to move to pursue an effective and binding framework for the prevention of this eventuality. The only way to prevent a nuclear-weapon detonation is through the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the assurance that they will never be produced again. The Chair’s summary of the Second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded, “the broad-based and comprehensive discussions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons should lead to the commitment of States and civil society to reach new international standards and norms, through a legally binding instrument.”
Finally, the third paper, Nuclear Disarmament, notes that the current cycle of the 2015 NPT Review Conference must focus on concrete action, such as “moving beyond the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions set out in the Final Document of the 2010 Review Conference. The nuclear-weapon states must, without further delay, fulfil their obligations flowing from Article VI through systematic and progressive efforts.” Furthermore, the New Agenda Coalition underscored the importance of convening the Conference on establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East.
Concerning the importance of Action 22 of the NPT on education, the delegation of Japan delivered a joint statement on behalf of 36 states. The delegation noted that Action 22 of the NPT reinforces the recommendations set forth in the UN Study on Education. Moreover, the delegation encouraged members to utilize the internet and social media to engage with a wider audience, including teachers and students.
It will be interesting to see how all of these important issues will be discussed in further detail as NPT PrepCom 2014 continues.
Blog 2, Sam Morris, NGOCDPS
Today marks the third (and final) day of general debate during the 2014 NPT PrepCom at the United Nations. A total of 18 hours has been dedicated to various representatives speaking on the floor of the Trusteeship Council Chambers. Due to the large amount of time given to this discourse, it is difficult to choose a particular statement which really sets itself apart from the rest. However, it is far easier to identify overarching themes many of the representatives are addressing.
One of the most notable topics has been the existence of nuclear weapon states who remain non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi of the United Arab Emirates identified this problem as a “serious challenge” to the international community. He also asserted that by allowing these states to hold nuclear weapons without the obligations and oversight demanded by the treaty, millions of lives are put in danger. Presumably, the further spread of hostile nuclear technology works directly against the very nature of the NPT.
Two options should be given to the few nuclear weapon states outside of the NPT. They should either sign and ratify the treaty immediately so that at least some transparency and oversight can be instilled or they should surrender this destructive technology. Intense international pressure must be placed on these countries immediately.
Another issue which has been discussed at length is the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This treaty is essential to the preservation of all life; Without it, nuclear tests could be conducted unchecked. The detrimental effects these have on global natural resources and nearby innocent residents should be enough of an impetus to end any testing.
When nations’ representatives made statements regarding the CTBT, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was previously a signatory to the NPT prior to its withdrawal in 1994, was usually mentioned in the same breath. North Korean officials have allowed three nuclear tests to take place, all in the last eight years. The most recent test was the underground detonation of a miniaturized warhead in early 2013. The provocative nature of these tests put all neighboring nations in a state of fear. While these nations are consistently following NPT guidelines, they argue that the DPRK continues to overtly threaten them.
Presently, countries in South Asia are caught between a figurative rock and a place. With limited options and North Korean nuclear technology ever advancing, nations such as Japan and South Korea are given very few options. It is feared that if the DPRK chooses to develop nuclear technology, nearby nations will undoubtedly start an arms race similar to that of the Cold War. By putting the entire continent on the precipice of nuclear proliferation, millions of lives could be in serious danger.
Other South Asian countries continue their current diplomatic strategy of putting pressure on the DPRK, as they have been for years. However, many doubt that this pressure alone will work. DPRK nuclear technology continues to advance while Pyongyang officials further distance themselves from the rest of the international community and refuse to adhere to the NPT. More must be done to stop a fully capable nuclear DPRK.
As some have suggested, putting stricter protocol into place on withdrawal from the NPT could be a useful tool to prevent future states’ withdrawals from the treaty and the consequences that result from them as we have seen with the DPRK. Specifically, the delegation from South Korea is a strong proponent arguing, “As the case of North Korea clearly demonstrates, the abuse of the Treaty’s withdrawal provision may seriously undermine the credibility of the NPT regime.” This reflects quite a few positions from countries that the current withdrawal provisions are insufficient.
At this point, new measures must be taken. Diplomatic officials from all nations must continue to engage in peaceful dialogue with North Korea. North Korean officials feel threatened by the sheer power of other countries’ stockpiles. For this reason, the DPRK continues to develop its own technology in order to compensate. Therefore, nuclear weapons states need to further reduce their stockpiles, as mandated by Article VI. If nuclear states commit to fulfilling these obligations and continue multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament, perhaps the international community’s call to the DPRK to eliminate its nuclear programme would be more successful. Until then, South Asia will continue to live in constant instability and fear.
Blog 3, Mitsutaka Nakamura, Peace Ring
【Time for Action to Establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone】
ピースデポのイベントは『Time for Action to Establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone』（『今こそ北東アジア非核兵器地帯設立のために行動を起こす時』）というタイトルでした。モデレーターはピースデポの金マリア氏とピースボートの川崎哲氏で、ゲストスピーカーとして、広島長崎両市長を始め、長崎大学RECNAの中村先生といったアカデミックな視点、モンゴルの外交官兼NGOからの視点、宗教共同体のような国境を越えた団体からの視点、さらには国連軍縮部の人など、様々な分野の専門家をお呼びしてお話を頂きました。また、会議の終盤では、昨年、潘基文事務総長に勧告を出した諮問委員会の議長を務めるハンガリー大使とSkypeを通じて議論をする場も作りました。
Blog 1, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
On the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons:
It is time to make a change in the current game. On Tuesday, 29 April, Ambassador Kmentt of Austria mentioned that “the focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons has a positive effect on international discussions about nuclear weapons. This forcefully underscores the need to eliminate and prohibit nuclear weapons as a shared and urgent objective. There is growing momentum to firmly anchor the humanitarian imperative in all discussions about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.”
Indeed, the growing momentum on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons is illustrating the unacceptable effects on nuclear weapons. These humanitarian concerns are plaguing all of humanity and have motivated young people to highlight their strong feelings that nuclear weapons must be banned, as evidenced in Ban All Nukes generation’s youth speech.
During the NGO presentations, Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold, co-President of IPPNW Costa Rica and a member of Ban All Nukes generation, argued that the “risk of humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons whether design, error, or nature, has a price that is too high for us to pay. The Red Cross Chapters and the Red Crescent Movements have already declared that there would be no real possibility of assisting the victims in the event of a nuclear detonation.”
She further argued that the “youth want decision makers to act now, to do the right thing. We need them to take responsibility and allow us and future generations to live and prosper and must wake up from the Cold War ideology and face the realities of a modern political culture in the 21st Century. The mistakes of the past may be the fault of those before us, but the future belongs to the youth, and now is the time to take charge of it. Now is the time to ban nuclear weapons.”
Overall, the message is clear! We must all wake up and change the game! Together, we can be strong game changers, who are committed to making a difference in this arena and BAN nuclear weapons.
Blog 2, Mitsutaka Nakamura, Peace Ring
Blog 3, Nagasaki Youth
Perspectives on Humanitarian Voice in the Global Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons,
午後には、エルサルバドル政府、NGOであるHibakusha Stories, Peace BoatによるThe Humanitarian Voice in the Global Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons というセッションが行われました。私とみなみがこの場で10分間のスピーチの時間をいただき、若い世代の「継承」について話すことができました。
Blog 4, Anna Ikeda, Youth Observer
We had yet another exciting day at the 2014 NPT PrepCom! Along with heated discussion at the general sessions among state delegations such as the United States, Russia, Ukraine and Syria (which are mentioned in numerous Twitter posts if you follow #NPT2014), what inspired me most today were the voices of the youth represented at the UN today.
This morning, Mayors for Peace hosted a Youth Forum, where we heard 6 youth presentations on the critical issue of nuclear disarmament. Many of them were high school students from Japan – namely Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa, where people experienced the horrors of war that deeply affect them even today.
What touched me most was these young students’ determination not to let the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki become mere historical facts studied via textbooks. With today’s Hibaksha’s average age reaching 78, we are facing a critically small amount of time to spread their message. Despite this, students from Nagasaki reported that they conducted an informal survey of local elementary school students, and they found that more than half are unaware of what happened in August 1945.
The young students who spoke today were dedicated to educating their peers and adults so that nuclear abolition can become a reality in the lifetime of Hibakushas. To achieve this laudable goal, they volunteer as tour guides at the Hiroshima Peace Park to informthe visitors of its history. They believe that petitions are a powerful and peaceful way to generate “citizen power” for change. Most importantly, they take full ownership of making nuclear abolition a reality.
The inspiring morning was followed by the general session where civil society provided their expertise and concerns on the issue if nuclear disarmament. At the end of the session, our own Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold of IPPNW Costa Rica shared a statement on behalf of youth in civil society. She questioned why decision-makers continue investing in nuclear weapons when they don’t make the world safer. “What do we need from our decision-makers? We need them to act now,” she said.
Although discussions surrounding nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation seem to happen somewhere far away among government officials and policy-makers, today’s interactions confirmed my belief that youth have a significant role to play in shaping these decisions. We inspire hope and courage. We keep the dialogue real, grounded in our reality and desire for peace.
This very sentiment was also echoed by Mr. Yasuyoshi Komizo, Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, at the Mayors for Peace Youth Forum. He stated that approximately 80% of Hibakushas have not shared their experiences. However, many more are starting to speak up now because they are inspired by the peace activities and efforts of youth.
We need to keep up the good work.
Blog 1, Samuel Morris, NGOCDPS
Today was the first of the two week period allocated for the 2014 NPT PrepCom. Gathered in the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations are representatives from all over the world. Those of us representing civil society organizations are allowed to observe the initial plenary talks from the loft seats of the chamber.
I, being an intern with the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, am lucky enough to monitor these meetings. Having been raised in Arizona, I have never experienced such a diverse international environment as I see here in New York City. In spite of the vast differences seen on the chamber floor, it is encouraging to hear so many representatives agree on nuclear disarmament.
One of the first delegates to speak, Foreign Minister Tony de Brum of the Marshall Islands, was the only speaker to receive applause by this many gathered at the Plenary Meeting. 67 nuclear test detonations took place from 1946 to 1958 on the Marshall Islands. These events helped inspire the Marshall Islands to file lawsuits against the United States and other countries in possession of nuclear weapons earlier this week. This “flagrant violation of international law” is the result of the armed nations’ continued failure to pursue negotiations promised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, particularly Article VI.
Now is the time for these powerful nations (mine included) to be called to action. As these nuclear programmes continue to grow in destructive capability, humanity as a whole is thrust into greater danger each day. The sole purpose of this technology is to cause damage at an apocalyptic scale. Innocent people will be harmed when, not if, there is another nuclear detonation. It does not matter if an elected official, a totalitarian dictator, or a saint has the launch codes for these weapons; At the end of the day, the most powerful people are still human and are still apt to make mistakes. A single simple mistake by one of our leaders has the potential to end millions of lives if nuclear weapons continue to develop. Minister de Brum and the Marshall Islands have every right to hold these weaponized states accountable in international court. These states agreed decades ago to work towards a safer world. Most non-nuclear states have abstained from pursuing nuclear weapons programmes, yet the few states with weapons stand by their stockpiles.
In both the International Court of Justice and at the United Nations, Minister de Brum stands for a people and environment still suffering from the repercussions of nuclear testing. He is also undoubtedly one of the few, if not the only, person in the room to see a nuclear explosion himself. Anyone would be hard pressed to find someone who can better exemplify the necessity of a disarmed world. For what Minister de Brum represents, he is deserving of the only ovation during this high level meeting. I sincerely hope that I see the end of a world whose security is dictated by nuclear weapons, and the beginning of one flourishing in peace.
Blog 2, Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold, IPPNW Costa Rica and BANg
There is no stopping this movement!
Costa Rica, being the pro tempore president of the Member States of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), spoke on its behalf. Never before had CELAC pronounced itself at the NPT within a joint statement, so it was quite a breakthrough. These 33 countries were the first densely populated area in the world to establish a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone through the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which was written in 1967 and put into force in 1969. Even though the establishment of this NWFZ is not a recent event, this was the first time that a joint statement was delivered by CELAC at an NPT PrepCom.
The organization in charge of protecting and overseeing the Treaty of Tlatelolco is OPANAL, but for many years this body was inactive or, perhaps, a little asleep. Fortunately, Secretary General Gioconda Ubeda, from Costa Rica, began to rouse them. This is where Nayarit played such a special part; With the help of the Chair of Mexico, Ms. Gioconda set a meeting with all the Latin American and Caribbean delegations. Together they decided to take a more active role in the important issue of the global security, since it should actually involve all states of the world. I can see how the efforts of Oslo and Nayarit have had an impressively powerful impact on them and many other countries, not only at these conferences, but also in important meetings in the UN as well, such as in the High Level Meeting last year and especially here at NPT PrepCom with this joint statement.
CELAC reiterated their concern about the humanitarian impact that a nuclear weapon detonation would create and the impossibility that any country or organization could adequately assist victims of such a disaster. They appreciated Oslo and Nayarit and welcomed Austria’s invitation to hold a third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna. They made it clear that the only effective way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again would be through their total elimination. They then called upon a universal and legally binding instrument that would lead to transparent, irreversible, and verifiable nuclear disarmament in the shortest timeframe possible.
I have to believe that other regions of the world are going to follow the steps taken by CELAC countries, as well as other bold steps like Marshall Islands’ recent filing of lawsuits against nuclear weapon states. I can’t wait to see what awaits us in Austria later this year! This is the moment to pull all our strength together, make an impact, and strike hard, so that during the 2015 NPT Review Conference we can get that much closer to a ban on nuclear weapons!
Blog 3, Mitsutaka Nakamura, Peace Ring
北東アジア非核兵器地帯（Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone）は、まだ実現し
28 April 2014
Introduction, Christian N. Ciobanu, NAPF
With the sweeping changes and momentum set forth within the nuclear disarmament movement at the onset of 2014, young people are ready to make a difference, sharing their view each day right here on this blog.
They are deeply concerned about the progression on Article VI, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and the continued postponement of the WMDFZ in the Middle East, amongst other issues.
For the next two weeks, young people will be attentively following the discussions at the NPT PrepCom and will be preparing editorials to express their opinions about the primary issues that loom over this influential conference.
These blogs will demonstrate young people’s enthusiasm and readiness to change the current game in this arena.