From: John Loretz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: IPPNW Discussions on peace and health <email@example.com>; IPPNW Board <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:40 AM
Subject: [IPPNWFORUM] Success in Oslo!
What follows is an unavoidably long report on what happened in Oslo last week. I hope you’ll make time to read the whole thing, but here are the headlines:
So here are the details:
Last week, ICAN and IPPNW participated in two extraordinarily successful conferences in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. That, in fact, was the title of the two-day intergovernmental conference hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was attended by 127 States, several UN agencies, the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, and a 50-person civil society delegation coordinated by ICAN. An ICAN-organized Civil Society Forum took place on the two days before the government conference, and drew 500 participants from 70 States, including about 40 of us from IPPNW.
This was the first time that States had come together — inside or outside the UN — to focus entirely on the nature and consequences of nuclear weapons, and to consider them as an existential threat requiring collective action. While Norway carefully arranged the conference as a scientific meeting and did not want to raise expectations too quickly that the conference might lead to a process to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, the State delegations lost little time in calling for just that as the only responsible course of action. We had hoped that this conference would redirect the discourse about nuclear weapons toward their catastrophic and unacceptable consequences, and away from the disingenuous arguments offered by the nuclear-weapon states. That hope was more than fulfilled. The one concrete outcome that we wanted from the conference — and that was only in a little doubt until near the end — was an offer from Mexico to host a followup conference as soon as possible — perhaps within this calendar year, or early in 2014. This offer came at the end of meeting, with a declaration that the momentum achieved in Oslo had to continue and that the humanitarian perspective on nuclear weapons required action from States, particularly the non-nuclear-weapon states.
You have all heard that the P5 boycotted the conference. This was a deliberate decision that the US, the UK, and France took in consultation with each other, while Russia and China were happy to go along. India and Pakistan sent representatives to Oslo. Israel, of course, did not. This was inexcusable behavior on the part of the P5, but if the intent was to marginalize the conference and diminish its significance, the result was exactly the opposite. Foreign Minister Eide told the press before the conference began that the reasons given by the P5 for their absence (basically, that the conference was a “distraction” from their important step-by-step disarmament initiatives inside the NPT) were “not convincing.” With some strategic counsel from ICAN, most States at the conference easily came to understand that they would be in a stronger position to discuss the real issues and to set an agenda that could lead to meaningful progress without the predictable “distractions” from the P5. And that’s exactly what happened!
The program of the conference, including the plenary presentations, many of the government statements and interventions, the Chair’s summary, and streaming video of all the sessions on both days, can be found on the conference website. Many of the same materials, and an excellent report on the conference
, are at Reaching Critical Will
I won’t try to summarize all of that separately here, but I do want to highlight a few things of special interest to IPPNW:
=&5=&, and continue to talk about the importance of the events in Oslo among your networks, including your social media networks.
=&6=& Find out what they thought about the conference, what they plan to do with the information they acquired, and how they will feed back what they learned to national decision makers.
Just as important, urge your country to attend the next conference in Mexico and to send a well prepared delegation ready to take practical next steps. =&7=& We’ll talk more over the coming months about how they can best prepare for this important follow-up conference. (The dates and exact location have not yet been announced. We’ll keep you informed as new information becomes available.)
The ICRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent movement played a prominent role in Oslo, and will undoubtedly do so again in Mexico. Nevertheless, only a few national RC societies took part. =&9=&at every level, and to help national societies promote the Oslo message as an outgrowth of the IFRC resolution.
I’m bound to have left some things out, but I’ll leave it there for now. It’s a lot to absorb, but this is going to pretty much define our nuclear abolition work for the foreseeable future.
Here are some additional links to Oslo resources and commentaries, compiled by Bea Fihn of Reaching Critical Will:
ICAN’s video statement to the conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7t6BmRzDS0&feature=youtu.be
ICAN’s promo video that was shown at the ICAN Civil Society Forum: http://youtu.be/ZjBd_GHvZ0Y
ICAN Israel’s video about humanitarian consequences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McGlK1_FBzY&feature=youtu.be
Congratulations to everyone who participated and contributed to this big milestone on our path to a nuclear-weapons-free world. Let me (or any of the other IPPNW members of the ICAN steering group, i.e., Tilman Ruff, Bob Mtonga, Andi Nidecker, or Josefin Lind) know if you have any questions about what happened in Oslo, or want more information about where we go from here.
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
66-70 Union Square, Suite 204
Somerville, MA 02143
Tel: +617 440 1733, ext. 308
IPPNW Peace and Health Blog:
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
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