On January 23, UNFOLD ZERO, Basel Peace Office, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and the World Future Council braved the cold to hold a 3D art event in the the Place des Nations in front of the UN in Geneva.
The event attracted both tourists and locals who passed by the famous landmark ‘The Broken Chair’. The 3nukeGeneva street art simulated a nuclear missile in its silo. Passers-by were invited to interact with the art, holding the chains to prevent it being launched.
“This is a great way to raise public awareness about the 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world’s arsenal” said Caroline Leroy, Programme Director of the Basel Peace Office. “Many of these missiles are primed and ready to be fired within minutes.”
The event highlighted the risks of nuclear weapons and supported United Nations efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, including at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“It is quite shocking that many people do not realise how many nuclear weapons exist today, hidden away and ready to launch. This art is way to expose this reality to the public and bring to light the importance of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament” said Rachel Day, Assistant Coordinator of UNFOLD ZERO.
The 3DnukeGeneva event was timed to coincide with the opening of the 2017 Session of the Conference on Disarmament, and with the anniversary of the 1st ever UN resolution ,which put forward the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
The event highlighted, in particular, the UN negotiations which will start this year on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, and the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament which will be held in 2018 to evaluate progress on the global abolition of nuclear weapons.
It was followed by a strategy consultation on how civil society can build cooperation with parliamentarians to support these UN initiatives.
“It is critical to raise civil society awareness and parliamentary action in order to move governments to adopt concrete nuclear disarmament agreements”, says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND). “Such cooperation helped ensure success of UN conferences on climate change, sustainable development and refugees.”
“2017 and 2018 could become critical turning points away from nuclear risks and towards nuclear abolition”, says Mr. Ware. “Current plans to spend hundred of billions of dollars modernising nuclear weapons, combined with growing tensions between nuclear armed states, makes this a risky time. However, there is also a growing understanding of the risks and consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, and political will to make progress as indicated by the results from last years’ Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations.”
The year is off to a busy start with the NPT Prep Com meeting scheduled for the beginning of May in Vienna, as well as the Ban Treaty Negotiations in March and June/July in New York. UNFOLD ZERO is currently holding consultations in key locations on these upcoming events as well as on the UN High Level Conference scheduled for 2018.
“Now is time to show support for the negotiations taking place on multiple platforms”, says Ms Leroy who also coordinated the Chain Reaction series of anti-nuclear actions in 2016. “These ideas are gaining traction and civil society is realizing their power through non-violent actions opposing nuclear weapons.”
“A world based on respect, cooperation, and non-violent conflict resolution is an obtainable goal”, says Ms Day, who has written on the feasibility of cooperative security approaches replacing nuclear deterrence. “We all have a responsibility to humanity to work towards this essential goal to ensure a sustainable future.”