The success of the event will help galvanise the work of the Chapter as well as to engage in activities with key actors in Vienna next March

Over 170 participants from 20 countries took part in the webinar “Building a Nuclear Weapons Free World – the TPNW States Parties Conference and the Role of Cities, Key Institutions & Civil Society” that brought together Foreign Ministers of TPNW supporting states, the President-designate of the States Parties meeting, leading Mayors and civil society experts on nuclear disarmament to talk of the strategy to encourage more states to support this important treaty. Held on the 21st October in association with the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the webinar focused on the role of local government, civil society and TPNW supporting states play in promoting multilateral nuclear disarmament.

Click here to see the recorded video of the webinar >

After opening remarks by the Mayor of Hiroshima Kazumi Matsui, President of Mayors for Peace, representatives of three European States Parties spoke. The Foreign Minister of Malta Evarist Bartolo underlined the importance of the TPNW and the need to overcome influence from nuclear weapon states negative to the treaty. Cardinal Silvio Tomasi of the Holy See focused on the immorality of spending huge sums on nuclear weapons, also in light of the shortage of funding for health as well as economic and social development. Mrs. Orlaith Fitzmaurice, Director for Disarmament in the Irish Foreign Ministry, stressed the strong link between the TPNW and NPT and that without a prohibition norm nuclear weapons could not be eliminated.

In his key note address Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, President designate of the First Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW, explained the important place of the TPNW in the disarmament treaties architecture and the issues that will be discussed at the First Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW from 22 to 24 March 2022 in Vienna. He also invited those states that are critical to the TPNW to enter into a real dialogue and to come to the Meeting as observers.

Helen Durham from the International Committee of the Red Cross gave an overview of the engagement of the ICRC since trying to provide assistance to the victims of the nuclear bombings in 1945 to today’s promotion of the TPNW. Mrs. Masako Wada, a hibakusha from Nagasaki, told the story of her mother who survived in 1945, but whose life was scarred by the consequences of radiation. Even her own life was still affected. She gave a vivid testimony that the world should listen to the voices of the hibakushas.

Marianne Borgen, the Mayor of Oslo, told about the impact of cities and local communities in influencing the new Norwegian government to announce Norway’s participation as an observer in the First Meeting of States Parties as the first NATO country to do so. While this is certainly not sufficient, it constitutes a first step into the right direction.

Feargal Dalton, Glasgow City Councillor, shared his own experience as a nuclear weapons officer on a UK submarine that led him to become active against nuclear weapons. Glasgow, being quite closeto the two bases of the British nuclear submarines, would be heavily affected by any accident or bombing there. All parties with the exception of one represented in the Glasgow City Council voted for his resolution against nuclear weapons and in favour of the TPNW.

Thomas Hermann, First Deputy Mayor of Hannover, reported on the manifold activities of the City of Hannover on nuclear disarmament and especially within Mayors for Peace.

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, stressed the significance of good cooperation with Mayors for Peace and other organization, with diplomates and representatives of international organisations and within civil society without which the TPNW would not have been created.

Mayor of Granollers and Chair of the Mayors for Peace European Chapter, Josep Mayoral, gave closing remarks in which he invited cities and local communities to set further activities and request from their governments at least to be present at the First Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW.

The success of the webinar will help galvanise the work of the European Chapter as well as to engage in activities with key actors in Vienna next March. The European Chapter thanks the NFLA and ICAN for their close cooperation in developing the webinar.

The webinar and the Chapter has the full and active support of the Provincial Council of Barcelona.