Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day Two at the NPT - busy day for the ICAN crew

Day Two at the NPT was busy. The day began with the first Abolition 2000 caucus meeting. These meetings, held every morning, are an opportunity for members of the NGO delegations to meet together and to talk about the events coming up. It also provides a chance to review the day that has just passed. Meeting members of other NGOs, many of which I have been aware of for a long time, is really encouraging. Those of us in IPPNW from MAPW and other affiliates who work on ICAN often feel a bit alone in our calls for nuclear abolition, but it is great to see the diversity of organisations and people who are pulling in the same direction.

The morning "general debate" included a number of indirect references to a nuclear weapons convention, including one from the representative from El Salvador, which prompted me to chase after her after she left the conference room and give her a copy of our model nuclear weapons convention. Perhaps the highlight of the morning's meeting was the statement of support read by the US delegate from President Barack Obama. This statement can be found at

At lunchtime a session was held by the International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament (ICNND), which is the also known as the Rudd Commission. Co-chairs Gareth Evans of Australia and Yoriko Kawaguchi of Japan (both former foreign ministers) gave presentations on the work of the commission, including the timeline of their various meetings. 
They explained that they plan to deliver their final report either at the end of this year or early next year. During question time they were pressed to elaborate on their response to the model Nuclear Weapons Convention and Gareth Evans reaffirmed his previous statements that he feels it is a comprehensive and impressive document. However, he has concerns about how to use it most pragmatically. A full report by Dimity Hawkins is on page 6 of todays News in Review, the link is here:

In the afternoon, the official session of the NPT PrepCom was dedicated to presentations of the NGOs. It was my honour to deliver the consensus statement on the Nuclear Weapons Convention on behalf of the drafting group. The document is available, along with all the other NGO presentations at
The statement on the Nuclear Weapons Convention responds to some of the most common concerns and questions about the suitability of an NWC approach, including the question of undermining the NPT. 

For more information about the NPT PrepCom you can look at for interviews with diplomats and NGOs and daily reports on the state of the PrepCom. There is also another blog at which extends beyond the timeframe of the NPT.

Today we have the session on ICAN around the world, sharing ideas and campaign strategies for nuclear abolition. This will be followed by a session tomorrow on the Nuclear Weapons Convention and the NPT, and I will keep you updated.

With best wishes for peace and abolition from New York
Ruth Mitchell

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