Nuclear Weapons and UN Disarmament Resolutions

October 28th, 2018 - by admin

Move the Nuclear Money Campaign and the Basel Peace Office – 2018-10-28 23:41:59


Nuclear Weapons and Divestment Opportunities for Peace
Move the Nuclear Money Campaign

(October 20, 2018) — The global Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign has some practical suggestions for reinvesting the money spent on WGMDs — weapons of global mass destruction.

One trillion dollars is being spent to modernize the nuclear arsenals of nine countries over the next 10 years. This money could instead be used to help end poverty, protect the climate, build global peace and achieve the sustainable development goals.

Help us move the nuclear weapons money to better purposes!
Here’s just one example:

Retiring Just One Trident Missile Could
Ensure the UN Does Not Run Out of Cash

Move the Nuclear Weapons Money

(July 31, 2018) — Move the Nuclear Weapons Money has called for re-allocation of a portion of nuclear weapons budgets to assist the UN cash crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week warned member states and UN staff that the United Nations is $140 million short of its budget and could run out of cash, due to late and non-payment of UN dues by member states.

In a letter sent to UN members, Guterres said that the UN had “never faced such a difficult cash flow situation this early in the calendar year. An organization such as ours should not have to suffer repeated brushes with bankruptcy. But surely, the greater pain is felt by those we serve when we cannot, for want of modest funds, answer their call for help.”

The 2018 UN budget of $5.4 billion is already $285 million less than the UN’s 2017 budget, and in comparison is less than the annual budget of the New York police force ($5.58 billion).

‘This is an absurdly low budget for an organisation with global prograMs. and responsibilities for peace, security, health, sustainable development, disaster prevention and relief, human rights, law and the environment,’ says Thies Katow, policy research officer for the World Future Council, a co-sponsor of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign. ‘Meanwhile, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are spending nearly 20 times this amount on nuclear weapons alone.’

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cost to extend the lifetime of each US Trident nuclear missile is $140 million, the same amount as the UN shortfall.

‘If the US retires just one Trident nuclear missile from their arsenal, the money saved could be used to wipe out the current UN deficit,’ says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and Co-founder of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.

‘Better yet, if all the nuclear armed States abandoned their plans to upgrade current nuclear weapons and build new weapons and delivery systems, nearly $100 billion could be saved. This could then re-directed into the economy for job creation, climate protection, education, health, peace, diplomacy and sustainable security.’

PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey has introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act into the US Senate to cut redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs and curtail nuclear modernization.

‘It is time we inserted some desperately-needed sanity into America’s budget priorities,’ says Senator Markey. ‘As President Trump proposes devastating cuts to Medicare, food assistance, and Head Start, it makes no sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new nuclear weapons that undermine deterrence and make Americans less safe. We should fund education, not annihilation.’

‘Unfortunately, Senator Markey is unable to move a majority of the US Senate to support his act due to the lobbying power of the companies which are manufacturing the nuclear weapons systems,’ says Mr. Ware. ‘We can reduce this pro-nuclear lobbying power, and encourage the companies to get out of the nuclear weapons business, by nuclear weapons divestment.’

The Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign shows how anyone can be involved. The can move their government to divest from nuclear weapons companies if they live in a non-nuclear-weapon country. Or they can move their university, religious institution, bank, pension fund or city to divest from nuclear weapons companies regardless of where they live. Already four governments and a number of cities, religious institutions, banks and pension funds have done so.

‘Next week parliamentarians, faith communities and peace organisations around the world will commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,’ says Vanda Proskova, PNND Research Officer. ‘Amongst the many actions around the world will be calls for further divestment from nuclear weapons corporations.’

In order to highlight the issue, the World Future Council along with PNND and other partners, will hold Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, an action during UN Disarmament Week (October 24-30) to ‘count out’ the $1 trillion budgeted for nuclear weapons for the next ten years, and reallocate this money to better areas.

One million mock notes, each of $1million value, will be counted by people of all ages, nations, backgrounds; celebrities, activists, politicians, UN officials, diplomats, artists, religious leaders, sportspeople, refugees and others. The counting will take place in front of the United Nations and at other relevant locations in New York.

‘Counting the money note-by-note, non-stop over seven days and nights, will demonstrate what an exorbitant amount of money is being wasted on nuclear weapons — money which is sorely needed to end poverty, protect the climate, provide adequate health care and basic education, fund the United Nations and achieve the sustainable development goals,’ says Holger Güssefeld, Creative Director of Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. ‘The event will reach millions of people, encouraging them to take action to end investments in nuclear weapons, and reinvest in peace and the planet.’

UN Disarmament Resolutions from October 2018
The Basel Peace Office

UNITED NATIONS, New York (October 20, 2018) — Last week, a number of draft disarmament resolutions were submitted to the United Nations General Assembly. These included resolutions on:

The Relationship between Disarmament and Development
This resolution highlights Article 26 of the UN Charter, which establishes the obligation to advance international peace and security with the least diversion of human and economic resources for armaments;

Follow-up to the 2013 High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament
This resolution promotes the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, calls on nuclear-armed and non-nuclear States to negotiate a global treaty on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and affirms the UN decision to hold a High-Level Conference (Summit) on Nuclear Disarmament to review progress on this objective;

Establishment of a Nuclear-weapon-free
Zone in the Region of the Middle East

This resolution calls on all parties concerned to take steps toward the establishment of a Middle East NWFZ, including interim measures such as placing all nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

Over the next two weeks, these and other disarmament resolutions will be discussed, debated and then voted upon by UN member States.

Civil Society Presentations —
Creating Peace and Security

On October 17 and 18, representatives of civil society made presentations on disarmament to the UN General Assembly. Of note was the presentation by Jacqueline Cabasso on behalf of the Western States Legal Foundation and the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy.

Ms. Cabasso critiqued the approach to nuclear disarmament advance by the United States and other nuclear-reliant States, which is that nuclear disarmament must wait until after the achievement of a range of peace and security conditions. Ms. Cabasso turned this argument/excuse on its head, noting that nuclear disarmament is a necessary step towards establishing global peace and security.

Creating the Conditions for
International Peace and Human Security

Jacqueline Cabasso / Western States Legal Foundation

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (October 17, 2018) — I speak on behalf of Western States Legal Foundation and Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, members of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear arms and the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.

We agree with the United States representative in her remarks last week that we are facing an “unfortunate deterioration” in the international security environment. Many delegations have pointed to modernization of nuclear weapons and massive nuclear weapons spending as areas of concern. But a more urgent reality is the increased scale and tempo of war games by nuclear-armed states and their allies, including nuclear drills.

Ongoing missile tests, and frequent close encounters between military forces of nuclear-armed states including the US and Russia and the US and China, exacerbate nuclear dangers. In the last month, both Russia and NATO have conducted some of the largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War: in Russia’s case, with the participation of Chinese troops; in NATO’s case, with the participation of Sweden and Finland — two non-NATO members. [1]

The United States has introduced a proposal called “Creating the Conditions for Nuclear Disarmament” (“the CCND approach”), arguing that unspecified conditions must be met in order for the international security environment to improve before disarmament can take place. But the US has it backwards. We advocate an approach we’re calling “Creating the Conditions for International Peace and Human Security” [4] (the CCIPHS approach), which envisions real progress on nuclear disarmament as contributing to international peace and human security.

Implementing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s (NPT’s) nearly 50-year old disarmament obligations would be an excellent way to start rebuilding mutual trust and confidence in the global order. These include not only the obligation to negotiate “effective measures” in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but to seek as well the “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date.”

These obligations, enshrined in Article VI, have been reiterated and reinforced by agreements made in connection with the 1995 Extension Decision, the 2000 and the 2010 Review Conferences, and the International Court of Justice’s 1996 Advisory Opinion.

After an all-too brief post-Cold War lull, with its opportunities for more meaningful and irreversible disarmament progress missed, arms racing has resumed among the nuclear-armed states, this and risky close encounters between Russian and US/NATO forces have increased dramatically in the Baltic region and Syria.

Late last month, amidst rising tensions, the US flew two B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over disputed islands claimed by China. The bombers, escorted by Japanese fighter jets, flew near the Sankaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan, but claimed by China. [2]

Just a week later, a US Navy destroyer narrowly avoided a collision with a Chinese warship in international waters in the Spratly Islands. [3] The dangers of wars among nuclear-armed states are real and growing . . . .

As a step towards reducing tensions and demonstrating good faith, the accelerating cycle of replacing aging nuclear weapons systems with new ones — in some cases, with enhanced military capabilities — should cease. Instead, the cycle of retiring and dismantling nuclear warheads should accelerate.

It is concrete actions like this that build confidence and reduce tensions, and that help to create the conditions for negotiations on reduction and elimination of nuclear arsenals.

To be successful, these conditions likely must also include cessation of the growing arms race in strategically significant non-nuclear weapons systems. This competition makes confrontations among nuclear-armed states more dangerous, and its uneven development leads in some instances to more, rather than less, reliance on nuclear weapons. [5]

A viable international order requires the good-faith execution of agreements whether considered political or legal. It is therefore deeply disturbing that a member of the Permanent Five, the United States, has chosen to renounce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to disregard a closely integrated Security Council resolution.

Indeed, based on International Court of Justice precedent, [6] Resolution 2231’s “call” for implementation of the JCPOA is legally binding. We urge the General Assembly to exercise its responsibility to uphold international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to do so and to demand compliance with the JCPOA and Resolution 2231.

On the Korean peninsula, due in large part to the determination of the people and government of the ROK, the potential exists for a solution linking peace, development, and disarmament. All efforts must be made to achieve that outcome.

An essential element is the elimination of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and associated capabilities. But that must come in the context of ending reliance on nuclear weapons by all concerned parties in the region.

One constructive step would be ratification of the CTBT by the US, China, and DPRK. Again, concrete steps towards halting and reversing the arms race now resuming among the original nuclear-armed states are essential to creating the conditions globally for peace and security. This is particularly the case where nuclear-armed states claim to act in the cause of non-proliferation.

We stand at a nuclear crossroads, in a starkly divided world. The nuclear-armed states and their allies and the non-nuclear states must find a way to start talking with each other — rather than past each other.

One approach would be for the nuclear-dependent states to recognize the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as strengthening the NPT and the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime more broadly. The TPNW compellingly articulates principles and aspirations for a nuclear-weapons free world — a world which nuclear-dependent states claim to seek.

To achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons and a global society that is more fair, peaceful and ecologically sustainable, we will need to move from the irrational fear-based ideology of deterrence to the rational fear of an eventual nuclear weapon use, whether by accident, miscalculation or design.

We will also need to stimulate a rational hope that security can be redefined in humanitarian and ecologically sustainable terms that will lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons and dramatic demilitarization, freeing up tremendous resources desperately needed to address universal human needs and protect the environment.

Nuclear disarmament should serve as the leading edge of a global trend toward demilitarization and redirection of resources to mitigate climate change and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

1 “NATO, Russia Prep Biggest War Games Since Cold War,” by Paul Mcleary, Breaking Defense, September 4, 2018.

2 “US B-52s fly near contested islands amid China tensions” by Ryan Browne, CNN, September 27, 2018.

3 “A look at the US military’s close calls with China, Russia in the air and at sea”, by Luis Martinez, ABC News, October 2, 2018

4 In this context, “International Peace” refers to relations among states. “Human Security” refers to the universal, indivisible security of all people everywhere.

5 “A circle that can’t be squared: Broad-spectrum arms racing and nuclear disarmament” by Jacqueline Cabasso and Andrew Lichterman, Western States Legal Foundation, in Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament in the Twenty-First Century, UNODA Occasional Papers No. 28, October 2016, pps. 64-74

6 “Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970),” Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1971, p. 16, at pp. 53-54.

Yours in peace.

The Basel Peace Office — a proud member of Abolition 2000, the global network to eliminate nuclear weapons.