Check out the UNFOLD ZERO video interviews of people who participated in the May sessions of the Open Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament:
- Tarja Cronberg: Chair, Middle Powers Initiative
- Thomas Hajnoczi: Austrian Ambassador to UN Geneva
- Bruce Blair: Founder, Global Zero
- Eunice Akiwo: Palau Representative to the OEWG
- Peter King: Human Survival Project
- Richard Lennane: Wildfire
- Selma van Oostwaard: Amplify youth network
- Alyn Ware: Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
- Leon Pablo Aviles: Representative of Ecuador to the OEWG
- Aaron Tovish: Mayors for Peace
Quotes and paraphrases from the OEWG Videos
“There is a momentum and a will to go forward on a number of proposals made by non-nuclear states, despite the nuclear-armed states being not present at the OEWG. A framework agreement could be an efficient tool to conduct negotiations that would result in flexibility of the outcomes to agree upon. The nuclear security summits are a successful example where heads of the states came together in order to take initiative and lead. Similar nuclear disarmament summits should be held to increase political will, media attention and public awareness to this vital issue.”
Tarja Cronberg: Chair, Middle Powers Initiative
“Prior to the OEWG discussions, Austria hosted a conference on humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which resulted in a nuclear disarmament pledge supported by many other countries. OEWG is the venue for all countries to enable interaction. Austria was actively participating during the sessions. Irrespective of approaches discussed, legally binding instruments and actions are needed to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Thomas Hajnoczi, Austrian Ambassador to UN Geneva
“Global Zero promotes the achievement of zero nuclear weapins by implementing an inclusive approach. To maintain the importance of this process it is necessary to bring back to the dialogue Russia and the USA. It will be impossible to reach global zero without cooperation of the main nuclear-armed states. It is crucial to establish multilateral forums to engage all countries in discussions, dialogue and negotiations in order to decrease military incidence, tension and risks”.
Bruce Blair, Global Zero
“Palau is passionate about subject of nuclear weapons. It is one of the first states to declare nuclear free constitution. In addition, Palau is part of regional nuclear weapon free zone. Palau is impacted by the two existential threats to humanity – climate change and nuclear weapons. We have been impacted by the nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, and we have witnessed the much deeper suffering from neighboring Marshall Islands where the USA conducted the nuclear weapon tests”.
Eunice Akiwo, Palau
“The OEWG needs civil society actions in order to push for change. There will be a series of events around the world coordinated through Chain Reaction. They will start on July 8, the 20th anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal. In Australia we are organising a Peoples’ Tribunal on Nuclear Weapons and the Destruction of Human Civilisation, which will challenge the leaders of the nuclear armed States and the allies for violating their legal obligations to achieve nuclear disarmament and not to threaten human extinction”.
Peter King, Human Survival Project
“There has been no progress in the nuclear disarmament field for decades. Wildfire is intended to break the status quo. Wildfire uses inflammatory statements in order to promote a fresh look and consider new ideas. Genuine interaction took place during the OEWG between the “weasel states” (nuclear allies who support the status quo) and non-nuclear states.”
Richard Lennane, Wildfire
“Amplify is a recently launched network for youth leaders in the field of nuclear disarmament. During OEWG sessions Amplify presented a working paper on youth involvement in nuclear disarmament forums and supporting nuclear disarmament education programs ”.
Selma van Oostwaard, Amplify
“A positive thing that can be noticed throughout OEWG discussions is that large number of non-nuclear states are realising that they can take actions themselves, rather than just waiting for the nuclear states to act. There are good examples of such action – national prohibition legislation, establishing nuclear weapons-free zones, and ending investments of public funds in nuclear weapons corporations. Many of former mentioned ones made a progress by establishing nuclear weapon free zones, obviously it would be difficult to achieve Now there is a similar initiative for a ban treaty signed by non-nuclear States. While all these actions by non-nuclear States are welcome, it is vital to keep trying to change the positions of the allied and nuclear weapon States. To achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, we have to move them to abandon their reliance on nuclear weapons and agree to prohibition.”
Alyn Ware, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
“The prohibition of nuclear weapons requires a multilateral agreement. A ban treaty might be a step towards a more comprehensive treaty establishing a world without nuclear weapon. Latin America and Caribbean states are committed to promoting peace and working actively towards nuclear free world. There is a need to devalue nuclear weapons and elevate the humanitarian concept. Civil society action is crucial in taking this message to the wider public in order to build support from political leaders of all countries”.
Leon Pablo Aviles, Ecuador
“The primary message of Mayors for Peace is that nuclear weapons are evil and have no place in civilized world, whereas cities are the heart of civilizations. There are 7000 cities from non-nuclear, nuclear and nuclear allied states that have joined Mayors for Peace. They highlight the threats to cities and civilians from nuclear weapons, and they urge national governments to take action. The ban treaty proposal might not get the support of the nuclear and allied states at the moment. But there is momentum for it, and perhaps we should move with this momentum as nothing else is moving at the moment.”
Aaron Tovish, Mayors for Peace