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Evidence is the foundation of the TPNW

July 7, 2022

IPPNW statement to the First Meeting of States Parties on the importance of establishing a scientific advisory panel

Carlos Umaña: “These warnings about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons are the most compelling reason for eliminating nuclear weapons and the most powerful argument we have for the need to universalize the TPNW.”

Delivered by Co-President Carlos Umaña, June 23, 2022, Vienna

Mr. President, distinguished delegates, fellow civil society representatives,

My name is Carlos Umaña and I am co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and member of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of a proposed Scientific Advisory Panel.

At the ICAN Civil Society Forum this past weekend we heard graphic testimony from victims of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and from those who suffered radiation exposure during the testing and production of the vast nuclear arsenals that the 9 nuclear armed states have built up in the years since. We also heard vivid descriptions from the medical community of the catastrophic direct effects that these larger and more deadly weapons will have if they are used today, and we heard the assessment of the ICRC that no significant medical response is possible if these weapons are used.

At the Humanitarian Impacts Conference on Monday, we heard powerful presentations from climate scientists about new evidence indicating that the climate disruption that will be caused by even a limited nuclear war is far worse than previously thought, and the resulting famine will be far more catastrophic than previously predicted.

Taken together these warnings about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons are the most compelling reason for eliminating nuclear weapons and the most powerful argument we have for the need to universalize the TPNW.

The TPNW is the product of evidence-based policymaking. It is the result of policymakers listening to the evidence presented in three international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in 2013 and 2014 and taking action. The political action materialized in the process leading to the negotiations of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. This evidentiary support must continue to be associated to the TPNW and to all efforts leading to its universalization.

Therefore, we believe that it is critical to create an Advisory Panel of medical and scientific experts on the humanitarian consequences and risks associated with nuclear weapons and the requisite humanitarian response. This is necessary to ensure that adequate and irrefutable evidence prevails in all efforts associated to the TPNW and the stigmatization of nuclear weapons, and to assure that new data of the consequences of nuclear war are brought to the attention of member states and aid them in outreach efforts to the states yet to join the TPNW.

Evidence is the foundation of the TPNW. The evidence of the horrific effects that nuclear weapons have caused and can cause, the evidence of the existential threat that the current nuclear arsenals represent to humanity, and the evidence of the close calls and near misses lead to the inevitable conclusion that disarmament is necessary and urgent. Thus, establishing the mechanisms for legitimizing the urgent need for nuclear disarmament through evidence should be prioritized in this meeting.

Thank you.

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