Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day Three at the NPT - supermodels, rockstars, and an agenda for 2010

Today at the United Nations in New York we heard compelling and sensible words calling for nuclear abolition. From Christie Brinkley, the supermodel. It was a great speech grounded in her reality of being a mother of three children, calling for those in positions of power to waste no time in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. In the same session,  Henrik Salander, the new chair of the Middle Powers Initiative, and a former rock star, spoke about the role of Article IV forums in providing space for off the record policy debate, and emphasising the central role of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. He said that what had begun as a utopian dream is becoming a pragmatic reality, and that the document jump starts analysis and focuses our thinking. 

Many of us from the NGO community spent the morning in a very energising discussion about the work of ICAN around the world. We heard from those working on abolition in France, Japan, UK, US, Italy, Germany, and Australia.  The challenges of doing abolition work in different environments make our common commitment and our mutual cooperation all the more vital, and I think that everyone left with new ideas and a fresh sense of possibility.

The afternoon saw many parallel sessions, but I chose to attend one organised by IALANA with the participation of Dr Stefan Kordasch from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He was asked to comment on Germany's position on a Nuclear Weapons Convention. He stated that Germany does not think the world is ready for a NWC, prefering a step by step approach. It seems that we need to get a lot closer to zero before Germany will get involved in an NWC approach, although how we will get closer to zero without a convention remains to be seen.

Finally, the big news for today from the NPT: We have a draft agenda for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. It's right here if you'd like to have a look:

If it looks really familiar to you, that is because it is the same agenda as that was used in 2000 with one very minor non-substantive update. Other decisions taken in the official session today were the date of the Review Conference, which will be from 3-28 May 2010, and the Chair, who will be the ambassador from the Philippines. Next year will be a big year in the NPT cycle, and so if you can be in New York in May, you should try to get here.

With great hopes for zero
from New York City
Ruth Mitchell

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