Nuclear disarmament through inter-parliamentary forums


New York: PNND Global Coordinator and Member of the World Future Council, Alyn Ware, presented at this side event, organized by PNND and the WFC, which took place during the NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting at the United Nations headquarters. >>

Joint Public Statement on Nuclear Security, 20 March 2014

Nuclear security means one law for all

Statement by World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates calling on world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit to take steps to achieve a sustainable global security through the abolition of nuclear weapons and the phase out of nuclear energy

We applaud the fact that the 58 world leaders, 5,000 delegates and 3,000 journalists will come to the Hague March 24-25 for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in order to address a very real threat to humanity and the environment, now and into the future.

We support the NSS objective of governments, scientists, law-makers and civil society cooperating to ensure that nuclear materials and technology are under safer and more secure control to prevent the possibility of them being used to make a nuclear device – no matter how crude – and then using this device.

However, the world leaders participating in the Summit should take this opportunity to build sustainable global security by adopting common standards for all, committing to the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and beginning a phase-out of nuclear energy.

NSS Secretary-General, Renée Jones-Bos, is correct in quoting U.S. President Obama’s statement from Prague 2009, that “In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”

Unfortunately the governments attending appear unwilling to take the necessary steps to prevent with certainty such a catastrophic use of nuclear weapons.

They are focusing on only one small part of the problem – the acquisition of nuclear weapons or fissile materials by non-State actors  – rather than on the larger and more dangerous problems of the possession of over 17,000 nuclear weapons by the nine nuclear armed States, the operational readiness to use many of these weapons within minutes on launch-on-warning policies, the deployment of nuclear weapons to other countries – including the Netherlands where the Summit is taking place, and the continued reliance by some countries on nuclear energy technologies, which fuel nuclear proliferation and create risks of further accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

NSS Secretary-General Renée Jones-Bos makes clear the limited focus of the Summit when he says “To be clear, the NSS is not about non-proliferation. It’s about rogue nuclear material. It’s about ensuring that such material does not fall into the wrong hands.”

With regard to nuclear weapons, there are no right hands. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, confirmed in 1996 that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal, regardless of who would possess or use such weapons, and that there is an obligation to achieve complete nuclear disarmament.

It’s ironic that this Summit is being held in The Hague, but appears to be ignoring the legal imperative from the highest court in the world situated in the same city. Applying the law against nuclear weapons only to some people (non-State actors) but not to others (State actors) is unsustainable and runs counter to the basis of law, that it should apply equally to all.

We thus support the call from parliamentarians and civil society for world leaders to add nuclear disarmament to the agenda of the Nuclear Security Summits, or to establish a similar high level process to achieve the secure, verified elimination of nuclear weapons.

In addition, the proliferation and environmental risks of nuclear energy can only be eliminated with the phase-out of nuclear energy. Since 1970, countries that have joined the nuclear club have done so through the development first of nuclear energy, and then have used the fissile materials, nuclear technology and know-how from nuclear energy to develop nuclear weapons.

In an age when energy efficiency and safe, sustainable renewable technologies are developing to meet global energy needs, a phase-out of nuclear energy over time is both feasible and imperative.

The World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates listed below call on governments attending the Nuclear Security Summit to be courageous, honest and responsible and thus raise these issues vital to the safety and security of current and future generations.

Endorsed by:

  • Uri Avnery, founder of Gush Shalom, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2001, Israel
  • Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Member of the World Future Council; Founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Nigeria
  • Dr. h.c. Maude Barlow, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005; Member of the World Future Council; First Senior Advisor to the UN on water issues; Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada
  • Dipal Chandra Barua, Former Managing Director of the Grameen Shakti (Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2007); Member of the World Future Council; Founder and Chairman of the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Bangladesh
  • Prof. Theo van Boven, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985, The Netherlands
  • Carmel Budiardjo, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1995, Co-Founder of Tapol, United Kingdom
  • Marcos Arana Cedeño, Representative of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998
  • Ana María Cetto, Member of the World Future Council; Research professor of the Institute of Physics and lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2006; Senior Fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, United States of America
  • Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Member of the World Future Council; Founder of the Oxford Research Group and Peace Direct; Director of Programmes for the World Peace Partnership, United Kingdom
  • Prof. Anwar Fazal, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1982; Director of the Right Livelihood College, Malaysia
  • Irene Fernandez, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005; Founder of Tenaganita, Malaysia
  • Jumanda Gakelebone, Representative of The First People of the Kalahari, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005, Botswana
  • Daryl Hannah, Member of the World Future Council; Actress and advocate for a sustainable world, United States of America
  • Dr. Hans R. Herren, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Founder of the Biovision Foundation; Winner of the World Food Prize 1995, Switzerland
  • Bianca Jagger, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2004, Founder and Chair of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation; Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador; International Conservation of Nature Plant a Pledge Ambassador; Member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA; Trustee, Amazon Charitable Trust, United Kingdom
  • Ewijeong Jeong, Representative of the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2003, South Korea
  • Dom Erwin Kräutler, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2010; Bishop of Xingu; President of the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Catholic Church in Brazil, Brazil
  • Dr. David Krieger, Member of the World Future Council; Co-Founder and President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, United States of America
  • Dr. med. Katarina Kruhonja, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998; Founder and Director of the Centre for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, Croatia
  • Dr. Ida Kuklina, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1996; Member of the Union of Soldiers Mothers Committees of Russia Coordination Council; Member of the Council of RF President for Development Civic Society and Human Rights, Russia
  • Birsel Lemke, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2000; Founder of HAYIR, Turkey
  • Prof. Alexander Likhotal, Member of the World Future Council; President of Green Cross International, Russia
  • Helen Mack Chang, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1992, Fundación Myrna Mack, Guatemala
  • Prof. Manfred Max-Neef, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1983; Member of the World Future Council; Director of the Economics Institute, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile
  • Tapio Mattlar, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1992, Representative of Kylätoiminta, Finland
  • Prof. Raúl A. Montenegro, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2004; Chair of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Psychology, National University of Cordoba; President of the Environment Defense Foundation FUNAM, Argentina
  • Pat Mooney, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985, Executive Director of ETC Group, Canada
  • Dr. Denis Mukwege, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Founder of Panzi Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Helena Norberg-Hodge, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1986, Director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture and Initiator of Ladakh Ecological Development Group; United Kingdom
  • Juan Pablo Orrego, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998; President of Ecosistemas, Chile
  • P. K. Ravindran, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1996, India
  • Raji Sourani, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Director of the Palestianian Centre for Human Rights, Palestine
  • Prof. David Suzuki, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2009; Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada
  • Pauline Tangiora, Member of the World Future Council; Maori elder of the Rongomaiwahine Tribe, New Zealand
  • Janos Vargha, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985; Founder of Duna Kör, Hungary
  • Alyn Ware, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2009; Member of the World Future Council; Founder and international coordinator of the Network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), New Zealand – Aotearoa
  • Francisco Whitaker Ferreira, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2006; Member of the World Future Council; Co-Founder of the World Social Forum, Brazil
  • Alla Yaroshinskaya, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1992, Russia
  • Angie Zelter, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2001; Founder of Trident Ploughshares, United Kingdom


Side Event: “The Humanitarian Imperative and Cooperative Framework to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Free World”

Geneva: Disarmament Coordinator Rob van Riet spoke at a side event of the 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, in a discussion on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear weapons abolition, contributing in particular knowledge of exemplary policies in the field as highlighted by the 2013 Future Policy Award. >>

World Future Council members and RLA laureates denounce limited focus of Nuclear Security Summit

Press release – for immediate release

Stockholm/Hamburg, March 20, 2014 – In a joint statement 38 recipients of the Right Livelihood Award and members of the World Future Council are calling on world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit to acknowledge that, for nuclear weapons, there are “no right hands”.

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Parliamentary Conference and PNND Annual Assembly

“Climbing the Mountain: Legislators collaborating on bilateral, plurilateral and global measures towards a secure nuclear-weapons-free world.” Disarmament coordinator Rob van Riet joined WFC Councillor Alyn Ware in a discussion of exemplary disarmament policies highlighted by the 2013 Future Policy Award. >>

Nuclear disarmament in the international legal framework

Since the beginning of the Nuclear Age, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament have been officially recognized by all States as critical goals. The United Nations General Assembly’s first ever resolution – adopted on 24 January 1946 – set forth the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and other weapons “adaptable to mass destruction.” In 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated the hope that “measures leading towards the goal of general and complete disarmament under effective international control will be worked out in detail and agreed upon in the shortest possible time.” At its first Special Session on Disarmament in 1978, the General Assembly declared “general and complete disarmament” the international community’s “ultimate objective,” and proclaimed nuclear disarmament its “highest priority.”

Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affirms that all States Parties should undertake “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

In its 1996 landmark Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the UN’s highest judicial authority—interpreted this article as entailing “an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

Following up on the ICJ Opinion, the UN General Assembly has adopted every year beginning in 1996 a resolution calling upon all States immediately to fulfill the disarmament obligation unanimously affirmed by the ICJ by commencing multilateral negotiations “leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.” In 2010, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 133 to 28, with 23 abstentions, the most support hitherto.

Similarly, the 2000 UN General Assembly Resolution, Towards a Nuclear Weapon-Free World: The Need for a New Agenda, “calls upon the Nuclear-Weapon States to make an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the speedy and total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and to engage without delay in an accelerated process of negotiations, thus achieving nuclear disarmament, to which they are committed under article VI of the NPT.” It received overwhelming support with 154 in favor (including China, the United Kingdom and the United States), 3 against, and 8 abstentions.

The commitment to nuclear disarmament has been echoed in numerous other UN resolutions and international treaties. It has also been reiterated in the consensus final documents of NPT Review Conferences, including quite forcefully in the most recent one. Even the UN Security Council—which counts the recognized Nuclear Weapon States under the NPT as its permanent members—adopted in 2009 a Resolution, which calls upon all States to undertake in good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament, and invites non NPT-parties to “join the endeavor.”

Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons

Senate of France: Coordinator of the Peace and Disarmament Programme, Rob van Riet discussed the application of International Humanitarian Law to Nuclear Weapons and how it could give impetus to efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Treaty of Tlatelolco Wins Future Policy Award

Latin American and Caribbean Nuclear Weapons Free Zone takes top disarmament award – Argentina and New Zealand win silver

Hamburg/Geneva/New York – 23 October 2013: The “Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean” (a.k.a. the “Treaty of Tlatelolco”) was today proclaimed winner of the 2013 Future Policy Award for sustainable disarmament, beating 24 other nominated policies to the prize. The award will be presented at a ceremony this evening at UN Headquarters by the World Future Council, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

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Seven policies contend for international award: Shortlist reflects successful disarmament efforts worldwide

Hamburg/Geneva/New York – 7 October 2013: Seven disarmament policies from five continents have been shortlisted as final contenders for the 2013 Future Policy Award.

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Recent political momentum

The vision for a nuclear weapon-free world has recently been advanced by leaders and high-level officials (current and former) of key States, including those possessing nuclear weapons or covered by nuclear deterrence doctrines. The goal has been supported by legislators, high-ranking military officials, academics, disarmament experts and other segments of civil society.

This recent flurry of support was kicked off by a 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed by former US high-level officials George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn. In it these eminent statesmen—who had done much to foster a nuclearized world—recognized the need to abandon nuclear weapons. They were joined by their counterparts from countries across the globe. In the process they have revitalized the drive to abolish nuclear weapons.

The nuclear disarmament issue was then put squarely on the world’s community agenda by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who in October 2008 put forward his five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament, which proposes, inter alia, the consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal has earned support in forums of every kind and at every level. It was also referenced in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

On December 9, 2008, a high-level group of 129 political, military, business, faith and civic leaders from around the world launched Global Zero—an international campaign to build public awareness and political support for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. A year earlier, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was launched with the purpose of galvanizing public and government support for multilateral negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

In addition, several eminent commissions, including the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction (chaired by Dr. Hans Blix) and the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (chaired by Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi), have proposed plans containing practical ideas to bring the vision of global zero closer to reality. Although such proposals may offer different approaches to nuclear disarmament (comprehensive versus incremental—and everything in between), they generally agree that achieving nuclear proliferation and disarmament—recognized as mutually reinforcing and inseparable objectives—will come as a result of a concerted effort.

These developments also set the stage for US President Barack Obama to put forward in his speech in Prague in April 2009 the vision of a nuclear weapon-free world, which has since been supported by numerous other Heads of State. A year later, the US and Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which requires both Washington and Moscow to reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads from around 2,200 to no more than 1,550 in seven years. The arms control agreement was ratified by both countries’ parliaments in February 2011.

In 2010 the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) further strengthened this newfound disarmament vigour by including the following provision in the action plan on nuclear disarmament:

“The Conference calls on all nuclear-weapon states to undertake concrete disarmament efforts and affirms that all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons. The Conference notes the five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which proposes, inter alia, consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or agreement on a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments, backed by a strong system of verification.”

As such, the international community has recognized that a focus solely on the next non-proliferation and disarmament steps is no longer sufficient or able to succeed. A comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament must be developed alongside and complementary to the step-by-step process.

In addition, the myth that possession of nuclear weapons provides strategic advantages, and thus security, is losing its hold on security thinking; at least within certain nuclear weapons states. It has led NATO-members Norway, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to call upon the US to remove the American nuclear warheads that these nations have long been hosting.

Nuclear disarmament is again gaining momentum! ‘No international obligation has greater urgency than the obligation to eliminate nuclear weapons’, says WFC Councillor Judge C.G. Weeramantry. Not living up to this responsibility would be ‘a betrayal of all the values we cherish and of everything human civilisation has built up through millennia of effort and sacrifice.’

It is up to us to build on this renewed momentum and capitalize on the current political will to ensure that these developments culminate in states taking tangible steps towards banning and eliminating nuclear arms.