Nobel peace laureates support UN initiatives for nuclear abolition

Nobel peace laureates meeting in Barcelona for their 15th World Summit on 13-15 November 2015, adopted the Barcelona Declaration in which they:

  • oppose terrorism and war,
  • support refugees from conflict regions;
  • call on governments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • propose a 10% reduction in military budgets to pay for the SDGs;
  • call for global action to address climate change;
  • call for the global abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Barcelona Declaration provides a model of security that addresses threats posed by terrorism, unsustainable environmental practices, and nuclear weapons,’ says Jonathan Granoff from UNFOLD ZERO, who participated in the Summit as a member of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

When fear guides policies, walls and divisiveness result and harmony becomes unattainable. It is for this reason the wise counsel of the Nobel Prize winners is so important at this moment. For these are people who did not permit fear to govern their perception, their lives, or their actions.’

Jonathan Granoff (UNFOLD ZERO) with Nobel Peace Laureates Betty Williams (left) and Mairead Corrigan Maguire (right) plus Ingeborg Breines from International Peace Bureau (second left)
Jonathan Granoff (UNFOLD ZERO) with Nobel Peace Laureates Betty Williams (left) and Mairead Corrigan Maguire (right) plus Ingeborg Breines from International Peace Bureau (second left)

Nuclear abolition
The laureates affirmed that ‘International Humanitarian Law prohibits the use of any weapon in a manner that does not discriminate between civilians and combatants or inflicts unnecessary suffering, that ‘Furthermore, it is illegal to threaten populated areas with weapons of mass destruction,’ and that ‘Their horrific capacity for destruction renders the threat of their use immoral and in breach of International Humanitarian Law.’

The laureates supported a number of UN nuclear disarmament proposals including; a Security Council resolution prohibiting targeting populated areas, a Security Council resolution deciding that no state may engage in nuclear weapons explosive testing and the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for nuclear disarmament which calls for negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or similar package of agreements.

The laureates also commended the creation of the UN Open Ended Working Group which will convene in 2016 to deliberate on legal measures to achieve a nuclear weapons free world, and they ‘hope it will energize nuclear abolition efforts.

Youth participants in the Nobel Peace Summit
Youth participants in the Nobel Peace Summit

Cooperative security
The laureates emphasized that the world requires a shift from militarism to cooperative security. ‘True security will never be achieved by military force or by the possession and threat of nuclear weapons. It requires adherence to international humanitarian law and global cooperation in meeting the authentic needs of humanity.’ The laureates outlined practical, effective measures which could be taken, consistent with humanitarian ethics.

The Barcelona Declaration concludes that ‘True personal, national and global security is found in the practical application of compassion’.



For further information see: The Measure of Our Humanity: Nobel Peace Laureates Promote Solutions to Refugee Crisis, Terrorism, Climate Change and Nuclear Annihilation, Jonathan Granoff, Huffington Post, 8 December 2015.

Participating laureates in the Summit:


  • President Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez
  • President Frederik Willem De Klerk
  • Dr. Shirin Ebadi
  • Mrs. Tawakkol Karman
  • Mrs. Mairead Corrigan Maguire
  • Lord David Trimble
  • President Lech Walesa
  • Mrs. Betty Williams
  • Prof. Jody Williams


  • AFSC – Mr. Phil Lord, Presiding Clerk, The American Friends Service Committee
  • EC – Mr. Ferran Torradellas Espuny, Director of European Commission Representation in Barcelona
  • ICBL – Prof. Jody Williams, Co-Founder, International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • ILO – Ms. Christiane Kuptsch, Senior Specialist in Migration Policy at the International Labour Office in Geneva
  • IPCC – Mr. Carlos Martin-Novella, Deputy Secretary, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • IPB – Ms Ingeborg Breines, Co-President, International Peace Bureau
  • IPPNW – Dr. med. Alex Rosen, Vice President IPPNW Germany, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
  • PUGWASH – Mr Jayantha Dhanapala, President, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • UN – Ms. Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations,
  • UNHCR – Mrs Melissa Fleming, Head, Communications & Public Information/ Spokesperson for the High Commissioner, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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