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NPT to get five-year review in May

February 18, 2010

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) comes up for a crucial five-year review in May — arguably the most important review in the treaty’s troubled history. IPPNW members, activists from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and hundreds of non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives from around the world will gather in New York for the month-long Review Conference with a single purpose: to drum up member state support for a comprehensive action plan for the global elimination of nuclear weapons in the shortest possible time.

While the 2010 Review Conference does not open until May 3, the work to shape its outcome has already started. NGOs committed to ridding the world of nuclear weapons are producing a coordinated set of presentations and recommendations that they will deliver in formal session during the first week of the conference. Others are organizing activities throughout the city to raise public awareness about the nuclear threat and the urgency of commencing negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

ICAN, in consultation with Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute, has developed a two-part international strategy designed to promote the Convention as an inseparable part of the NPT agenda. For the next two months, ICAN activists, including IPPNW affiliates, will be pressing their governments to name the Convention in their conference statements and working papers and to support our call for the prompt commencement of negotiations or, at the very least, for preparatory work that can pave the way to negotiations in the shortest possible time.

The second part of the strategy has abolitionists organizing a global series of local actions upon the conclusion of the NPT Review, regardless of the outcome. If the member states come together around a strong set of concrete recommendations for achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world and the political will to implement them, the message sent out by ICAN activists will be one of support and encouragement. If the outcome of the Review falls short of either a comprehensive vision for disarmament or a sense of urgency or both, these worldwide actions, planned for World Environment Day on June 5, will give voice to the public demand for nothing less than the eradication of nuclear weapons and the intolerable threat they pose to our lives.

ICAN has hired Tim Wright to coordinate these activities from now through the conclusion of the NPT Review. Tim will be based in New York at the offices of Reaching Critical Will, which does all of the heavy lifting to facilitate NGO participation at the NPT, the Conference on Disarmament, the First Committee, and other UN disarmament bodies. Among other things, he will be helping ICAN and its partner groups communicate with UN-based diplomats, producing materials about the Nuclear Weapons Convention and the NPT, networking with other NGOs, and developing a website that can be used by local groups to plan and share information about their post-NPT actions.

To learn more about Nuclear Weapons Convention advocacy at the NPT, contact Tim.

To learn everything there is to know about the NPT, its history, the controversies and outcomes at previous review conferences, and NGO participation for the past 10 or 15 years, visit Reaching Critical Will.

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