The second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was held in New York from the 27th to the 1st of December 2023.

The European delegation of Mayors for Peace (Croacia and Catalan Chapter), and the US city of Des Moines joined the Mayors for Peace Secretariat at the opening of the 2MSP and during the general exchange of views, when Mayor Matsui and Mayor Suzuki will be delivering speeches.

2nd meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Parallel events

The second meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons took place from 27 November to 1 December 2023. The presidency of the meeting was led by Juan Ramón de la Fuente (Mexico).

The Treaty was adopted on 7 July 2017 at the United Nations and came into force on 22 January 2021. The Treaty contains a number of bans on participation in any activity relating to nuclear weapons, including development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, storage, use and threat. As well as the deployment of weapons in national territory and the assistance of any state in the use of prohibited activities. The first meeting of the Parties took place in Vienna in June 2022, under the presidency of Austria. So far, 69 states have ratified or agreed to the Treaty and 93 have signed it.

The opening session of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW opened with addresses by the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Melissa Parke, who ended her speech with the sentence:

In this meeting of the Parties, 94 States participated, of which 59 were Parties and 35 Observing States. On the initiative of the presidency, for the first time a meeting of this kind dealt, in the plenary session, with the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear attack.

The Scientific Advisory Group, a group of 15 experts created during the first meeting of the States Parties to study and provide technical and scientific data, presented a report on the current state and development of nuclear weapons. The report reviews the estimated number of nuclear weapons per country, risks and threats and humanitarian consequences.

More than sixty states spoke as part of the General Debate – expressing their support for the TPNW, their concern about rising nuclear weapons risks and the devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons and challenging the misguided and outdated theory of deterrence.

Germany State, as an observer, declared:

“In our new National Security Strategy, Germany has reaffirmed its commitment to strive towards a safe world free of nuclear weapons. We must be mindful of the security situation in Europe and worldwide.

Confronted with an openly aggressive Russia, the importance of nuclear deterrence has increased for many states, including for my country. Germany, as a NATO member, is fully committed to NATO’s nuclear deterrence, the purpose of which is to preserve peace, deter aggression and prevent nuclear coercion. The NPT remains the irreplaceable framework for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.”

The Second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW successfully concluded and agreed that nuclear deterrence is a significant security problem, requiring urgent attention by the international community, that more research on the impacts of nuclear weapons is needed, and that the harms caused by nuclear weapons use and testing require ongoing attention.

Side events:

There were around 100 side events organized for these five days.

Mayors for Peace invited Mimaki Toshiyuki, a hibakusha of Hiroshima, who, during the conference “Voices of Civil Society, for a Nuclear-Weapon Free World”, apologized for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 8 December 1941: “without the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the nuclear attacks on Hiro’shima and Nagasaki would had never happened”. He had a few words for Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and left a question in the air for politicians: do you prefer to have children living in fear under the sound of weapons and explosives or happy at home with their parents? Is it not time for the United Nations to take decisions that are turned into action?

The International Institute for Peace Research (SIPRI), together with the Center for Nuclear Disarmament at Uppsala University, discussed how disarmament is being taught and reported to different fields, such as the general public, students and diplomatic staff.

The SDGs also played a relevant role during the conference, through the round table “Advancing the Global Agenda for a world free of nuclear weapons”. Dr. Gibbons focused on the importance of introducing disarmament within the SDGs, as everything is related. The explosion of a nuclear weapon will affect the economy, health, climate and survival of all living beings on the planet.

The communities that, until now, have been affected by the development and use of nuclear weapons: indigenous peoples, hibakusha (survivors), hibakunisei (second-generation survivors), affected by radioactive pollution, the exploitation of uranium mines, nuclear testing and radioactive rejection, published a statement in which they explained their fight against radioactive violence, which still affects new generations. Nuclear colonialism was discussed, with forced displaced persons, attacks on heritage and the environment and the pollution of their land and waters. Recognition, respect and compensation were requested.

Tina Cordova. Co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium described the cases of cancer suffered by affected communities and how the government is still justified by explaining that the area where the nuclear tests were carried out was depopulated. Liar, he said, there we lived a significant number of families. Nuclear weapons states have selected their test sites for their supposed remoteness: the deserts of Australia and Algeria, the Pacific atolls, the steppes of Kazakhstan. But these places were not far from the peoples. Only far from “the decision-makers in national capitals, who considered local populations to be dispensable, their land and useless waters, as they worked to perfect their ability to kill and destroy on a large scale,” ICAN added.

Youth were also present and wrote a declaration in order to request a stronger role on issues related to nuclear weapon.

Apart from this second meeting, a delegation of 23 parliamentarians from 14 countries, most of whom still have to sign the treaty, met to deliver a statement denouncing the nuclear threats currently being carried out and ‘call for the importance of not limiting discussions on disarmament exclusively to diplomatic forums, since the threats posed by nuclear weapons go beyond national security concerns’.

There was also a rally and a poster exhibition, movies and concenrts.

The third meeting of the Parties will take place between 3 and 7 March 2025 in New York, under the presidency of Kazakhstan.