Leading global cities, with the Mayors for Peace European Chapter and International Secretariat, the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) issue the following joint statement as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force at the United Nations on the 22nd January 2021:
In the year of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we, as some of the over 380 cities, towns and counties and federal states that have passed resolutions supporting the TPNW, call on all nuclear weapon states, NATO members and states with nuclear defence agreements to engage with this important disarmament process.
With over 50 states having ratified the TPNW, and a further 38 in the process of doing so, it is clear that a growing number of UN member states believe the stalemate in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime needs to be unlocked, and the TPNW does that by creating a sensible process for the multilateral disarmament of all nuclear weapons.
There are over 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and they are targeted on urban areas. We declare that ‘Cities are not targets’ and we passed resolutions supporting the TPNW as it would be our towns and cities that would be the targets of such weapons, being completely destroyed like the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in August 1945.
With Mayors for Peace and ICAN, and other civil society groups that advocate a nuclear weapons free world, we see the entry into force of the TPNW as a historic day that formally begins the process towards multilateral nuclear disarmament. We welcome the courage and fortitude of the countries that have ratified and supported the TPNW, and we pledge to work with them to encourage those states who oppose this process to actively engage in its instruments.
We have real concerns that the existing state of global politics is so unstable that a nuclear weapon attack, either deliberate or accidental, remains a real and present danger. By supporting the TPNW we advocate a peaceful and practical way for states to move away from dangerous, unilateral actions and embrace a multilateral approach.
We look forward to the first States Parties Conference on the TPNW, as well as the Review Conference of the NPT, as effective ways to reset global talks on nuclear disarmament. With other weapons of mass destruction now banned, the anomaly has always been nuclear weapons. The TPNW plugs that gap and we welcome that the United Nations will have another useful instrument to promote a peaceful and nuclear weapons free world.
Commenting on the statement, Mayor Mayoral, Chair of the European Chapter of Mayors for Peace said:
"The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a historic milestone. I am convinced that, in the same way as occurred with chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines or cluster bombs, the nuclear-armed states and their allies will eventually reconsider their position because these are weapons contrary to international law and international public opinion. Citizenship has the right to live in a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons. Ban them is the only possible way."
The Chair of the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), Councillor David Blackburn said: “Around 400 municipalities from across the world have given their formal support by passing resolutions in favour of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and urging their governments to actively engage in this process. Other towns and cities are in the process of passing resolutions shortly. NFLA strongly support the entry into force of the treaty as a hugely positive move forward in the ongoing campaign for realising a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The Campaign Coordinator for ICAN, Daniel Hogsta said: “On January 22nd, nuclear weapons become illegal under international law. It is the culmination of decades of work to save the human race from annihilation that began as soon as the first atomic bombs were developed in the 1940s. Cities and towns across the world are taking a stand against nuclear weapons, many in defiance of their own national governments who still cling onto the outdated, immoral and outright dangerous logic of nuclear deterrence. The support of almost 400 municipalities for ICAN Cities Appeal shows that local governments recognise the threat that these weapons pose to their populations and are demanding change.”
This statement is supported by the Japanese global and European Chapter President, Vice Presidents and Executive Mayors of Mayors for Peace, as well as other European Mayors who have passed a resolution to support the Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, including:
- The Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan and President of Mayors for Peace, Kazumi Matsui
- The Mayor of Nagasaki, Japan and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Tomihisa Taue
- The Mayor of Granollers, Spain, Vice President of Mayors for Peace and Chair of the European Chapter of Mayors for Peace, Josep Mayoral Antigas
- The Lord Mayor of Manchester, UK and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Tommy Judge
- The Lord Mayor of Hannover, Germany and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Belit Onay
- The Mayor of Barcelona, Spain, Ada Colau
- The Mayor of Ypres / Ieper, Belgium and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Emmily Talpe
- The Mayor of Biograd na Moru, Croatia and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Ivan Knez
- The Mayor of Malakoff and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Jacqueline Belhomme
- The Mayor of Grigny, France and Executive City of Mayors for Peace, Philippe Rio
- The Mayor of Cervia, Italy and Executive City of Mayors for Peace, Massimo Medri
- The Mayor of Brescia, Italy, Emilio del Bono