On April 5 — the fourth anniversary of President Obama’s historic speech in Prague calling for a world without nuclear weapons — Global Zero student leaders worldwide publicly displayed excerpts of the speech as part of our grassroots campaign urging Obama to take bold action to make that vision a reality. We also delivered to a top White House official a letter to the President from 75 former prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers and military commanders — as well as a European Parliament declaration — calling for multilateral negotiations to reduce nuclear arms.
We are on a major roll. Over the past several weeks, President Obama announced that he will seek further cuts in U.S.-Russian arsenals and Global Zero founding member Senator Chuck Hagel was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Defense. Actors, musicians and major organizations have gotten involved in our campaign. Global Zero released a 2-minute video narrated by Michael Douglas, which aired in broadcast interviews with Her Majesty Queen Noor and former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson on MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News and The Huffington Post. The campaign was promoted on social media by the United Nations, Greenpeace, Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Serj Tankian and Tom Morello, among many others. We also launched our brand new website.
Global Zero student leaders sent messages and photos from all over the world for our Valentine’s Day campaign, which featured photos of the people, places and things that they love and want to protect from nuclear disaster.
In Moscow, 50 Russian university students participated in a Global Zero session on nuclear weapons issues with Global Zero leaders Dr. Andrei Kortunov and former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, cosponsored by the Russian International Affairs Council.
In Paris, following the publication of their new book on the elimination of nuclear weapons and the Global Zero Action Plan, Arrêtez la bombe!, Global Zero leaders Gen. (Ret.) Bernard Norlain and former Defense Minister Paul Quilés discussed movement-building strategies with a select group of 40 students at Panthéon-Sorbonne University.
In the United States, the Global Zero chapter at Davidson College hosted a “Bike Around the Bomb” 50-km race, tracing the blast radius of a nuclear bomb; Amb. Steven Pifer participated in a discussion hosted by the Boston College Global Zero chapter focusing on challenges to nonproliferation; Global Zero U.S. Chair Amb. Richard Burt met with students at Georgetown University to discuss the Global Zero movement; and Global Zero Co-Founder Dr. Bruce Blair testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on the security and financial benefits of further U.S. nuclear weapons reductions.
We are very pleased to welcome our outstanding new regional organizer, Anita Poushan, to the Global Zero team. Additionally, Global Zero’s U.S. office has moved to its new address:
1436 U Street NW, Suite 401
Washington, DC 20009
Thank you, as always, for your leadership and support.
Dear Yoshike Mine,
A flurry of activity has taken place since the last update from the No Nukes team. In Oslo, more than 500 campaigners came together at a massive civil society forum to build the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN). Ideas like calling nuclear weapons Zombie Weapons [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/zombie-weapons], and recognising that nuclear weapons aren’t magic- they’re just a weapon [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/face-it,-it’s-just-a-weapon]were discussed, and a new momentum in nuclear disarmament [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/a-new-momentum-in-nuclear-disarmament]was embraced.
The Civil Society Forum was immediately followed by a meeting of 127 governments, several UN agencies and members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent- to focus explicitly on the humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. That meeting was informative, and empowering for many countries and Mexico announced that it would hold a follow-up meeting.
Now, a series of meetings talking about humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons may not seem like a big deal- but lets remember- the discussion in Oslo was the first time that countries ever came together to address this problem. The first time. For many delegates, it was a powerful learning experience. While we all know that nuclear weapons are bad, this was a chance to begin discussing exactly how bad. To talk about the unspeakable horror and suffering that would be rained down on countless people, that would last for generations. This meeting, and the follow-up meeting in Mexico are changing the debate, and bringing us closer to a nuclear weapons free world. So it begins… [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/so-it-begins…]
Nuclear Diplomacy Crash Course
For the second year, we have gathered a dynamic group of students for a Crash Course in Nuclear Diplomacy. These ten students will go through three workshops in the Netherlands, and then join our delegation to the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in Geneva. The students started their crash course with a workshop at Institute Clingendael where they learned more about the motivations driving countries to acquire nuclear weapons [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/to-go,-or-not-to-go-nuclear:-that’s-the-question](or not).
The second workshop talked about the NPT itself, and consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. It was a wide ranging discussion, filled with anecdotes that make the nuclear issue real, like the fact that the forests around Chernobyl catch fire [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/’every-summer-the-forests-of-chernobyl-catch-fire’].
The third workshop was a visit to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where students talked more about transparency and Dutch nuclear weapons policy [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/blazing-the-trail…].
Recommendations for ministers and others
The No Nukes team has also published a series of policy briefs already this year. The first provided concrete and practical advice to Foreign Minister Timmermans [http://www.nonukes.nl/media/files/praktische-voorstellen-om-nederland-kernwapenvrij-te-maken-digitaal.pdf]. Around the same time, we provided a great handbook for Dutch Parliamentarians- How to get rid of the bomb in 5 steps [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/documentation/how-to-get-rid-of-the-bomb-in-5-steps]. Also in Dutch [http://www.nonukes.nl/media/files/5-ways-to-get-rid-of-the-bomb-web.pdf].
Knowing that the Netherlands was hosting the next meeting of the Non Proliferation Disarmament Initiative (NPDI)- a group of 10 countries trying to help implement the 2010 NPT Agreed Action plan, we published a policy brief for NPDI Members- NPDI Matters [http://www.nonukes.nl/media/files/npdi-matters-final-web.pdf]. And you can see the impact of some of those recommendations in the NPDI Hague Statement [http://www.nonukes.nl/en/news/npdi-meets-in-the-hague].
Most recently, a set of recommendations to NPT Members [http://www.nonukes.nl/media/files/ipc-recommendations-to-the-2013-nuclear-npt-prepcom-digital_0.pdf]was circulated. This policy brief covers all of the issues under consideration at the NPT meeting- from disarmament to non-proliferation, peaceful uses to the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
Many of us are scared about the heightened tension in the conflict on the Korean peninsula. A way to deal with that fear is to act. ICAN has just released a petition [http://www.change.org/petitions/prevent-a-nuclear-catastrophe-back-to-the-negotiating-table]calling on the heads of states party to the Six-Nation-Initiative – the USA, North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan – to return to the negotiating table and prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Help us to get as many signatures as we can to show how much we care about this issue!
More to come
There is a lot coming up for the No Nukes team as well. To support efforts to make Scotland nuclear free, Krista will be joining SCRAP Trident [http://scraptrident.org/] events in Glasgow and at Faslane, which will be followed by the Annual General meeting [http://www.abolition2000.org/?page_id=2778]of the Abolition 2000 network- in Edinburgh next week.
The team, as well as Crash Course participants, will also join the ICAN campaigners meeting [http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/switzerland/campaign-meeting-in-geneva/]in Geneva, and stay on for the NPT [http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/npt]. At the NPT meeting, we will host at least two side events- one on the Moral and Ethical Imperatives for Nuclear Abolition, and another on the final day of NPT where we will present another policy brief that looks at the financial costs of nuclear disarmament and provides some creative financing solutions.
We always have lots of new information posted on the [http://www.NoNukes.nl] website, and our Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/#!/NoNukesNL].
With best wishes,
Krista, Selma, Susi and Wilbert