Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day One at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom

Greetings from New York! I am here at the United Nations, sitting in Conference Room 1, listening to the general debate at the beginning of the 3rd session of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee. This is my first PrepCom and I'll be trying to update you on most days about what it is like to be at the meeting.

Yesterday was Day One, and it started out with a very long queue. Dimity Hawkins of ICAN Australia, John Loretz, Program Director at IPPNW, and I waited for about two hours to get our shiny blue United Nations ID badges. Then we rushed to the main conference room to hear the speeches beginning. We heard a number of speeches, including those of the Russian Federation, Malaysia, Canada and Australia. The full speeches have been uploaded at www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/prepcom09/statements.html by the wonderful people at the Reaching Critical Will. Those of us from down under were listening with particular interest to the statement by the Australian delegation, which mentioned the work of NGOs and the need to get to zero nuclear weapons, but did not explicitly call for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. 

During NPT meetings like this one, non-governmental organisations have sessions which run in parallel to the official delegates proceedings. Yesterday an excellent session was hosted by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research on their recent study "Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: a Roadmap for US Energy Policy". In their presentation Dr Arjun Makhijani and Jennifer Nordstrom outlined the arguments for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources and the arguments against use of nuclear power. The book outlining these arguments is available for free download at www.ieer.org. 

Finally, the day concluded with the US premier of the movie "The Strangest Dream". This film, by the National Film Board of Canada, is the story of Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Watching this new film at the United Nations in the company of many who knew Joseph Rotblat was a very moving experience. More information about the film can be found at www3.nfb.ca/webextension/strangest-dream/.

Today we hear from the United States in the general debate, have a session on the International Commission on Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation, established last year by Kevin Rudd, and in the afternoon during the NGO presentations I will read the statement on the Nuclear Weapons Convention. Stay tuned for more updates from New York, and let me know if you have questions about what's going on here which I can address in this blog.

Yours for Peace
Ruth Mitchell


xanth said...

Ruth - I hope your presentation went well today. All of IPPNW is behind you and wishing you well. I would love to be there with you, all the best, Xanthe

suheir said...

Thank you for the updates, Ruth and wish you good luck :-)

MAPW said...

Ruth, thanks for this great overview of your day at the UN. It's so helpful to have a plain-English report on what's happening! Looking forward to the next one . . . I'll send the link on now to the rest of the Medical Association for Prevention of War in Australia,

the moveable feast said...

Amazing, Ruth! I can't wait to hear more...