Internationell konferens om kärnvapennedrustning


Den 6-8 november 2009 genomförde Svenska Nätverket för Kärnvapennedrustning en internationell konferens i ABF-huset i Stockholm. Konferensen samlade fler än 250 diplomater, experter, politiker och representanter från den internationella fredsrörelsen från 30 olika länder.

På fredagen arrangerades även ett seminarium för de ungdomar från olika delar av världen som deltog på konferensen. Detta seminarium, kallat "Palmeseminariet", möjliggjorde för deltagarna att diskutera frågor av gemensam vikt för ungdomar att driva. Det skapade också en grund för ett fortsatt framtida erfarenhetsutbyte och nätverkande. Seminariet genomfördes av Nätverket för Kärnvapennedrustning i samarbete med Palmecentret och finansierades av Olof Palmes minnesfond.

Här nedan följer på engelska minnesfondens ordförande Pierre Schoris öppningsanförande vid Palmeseminariet, de slutsatser från seminariet som framfördes av ungdomarna på konferensen liksom en sammanfattning av konferensen i sin helhet.

Mer information om nedrustningskonferensen finns på Nätverket för Kärnvapennedrustnings hemsida 

Mobilizing the New Generation for Nuclear Disarmament

Introductory remarks by Pierre Schori, Chairman of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund at the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament on November 6th, 2009, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Welcome to this seminar addressing a most crucial issue of our time, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Many things remind us today of the deadly dangers of nuclear weapons. Most of you, despite your age, probably have elements of Strontium 90 in your body. This is the long-time effect of the testing of nuclear arms several decades ago. And the terrible war going on in Afghanistan is partly motivated by the fear of an unstable regime with nuclear arms in neighbouring Pakistan.

I am glad to see you here showing interest and taking responsibility for our the necessary mobilizing of public opinion against this Damocles sword hanging over our heads all over the globe.

The world is now preparing for an important meeting next May of all the Parties to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, usually shortened NPT. The treaty was agreed in 1968 when many of you were not born. Last year it thus celebrated its 40th birthday and can as a grown-up political regime look back to a primarily successful life, although a number of disturbances have occurred from time to time. But there are mostly the latter you can learn about daily in the news.

The NPT itself is, let´s face it, although a necessary, vital treaty, also a cold war compromise primarily focussed on Europe. It makes legitimate for five states to possess nuclear weapons – China, France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union today Russia, and the USA. They are committed to negotiate nuclear disarmament. All other states are non-nuclear-weapon states committed not to acquire any nuclear weapons of their own.

After the agreement in 1968, the NPT formally entered into force in March 1970. Today, almost all states of the world have become parties. Only four are not. India, Israel, and Pakistan did never sign. North Korea signed the treaty in 1985 but withdrew again in 2003. However, while non-nuclear-weapon states parties must not manufacture or otherwise acquire their own nukes, the NPT permits them to host such weapons of others on their territories. As a consequence, Europe was during the cold war stacked with nuclear weapons of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, despite the fact that most countries in Europe were non-nuclear parties.

At the same time, NPT encourages states to provide on a regional basis for a complete absence from nuclear weapons in their region, i. e. to establish so called nuclear-weapon-free zones. That provision has lead to another success story. Seven major such zones established so far, cover about 75 % of all land territory outside the nuclear-weapon powers, including 99 % of all land on the southern hemisphere. These zones include 119 states – a clear majority of all – plus 18 other territories. About 1.9 billion people live in the zones.

During the entry into force process in 1968, the US and NATO issued a statement of interpretation that the NPT would enter out of force in wartime. To the surprise of many who felt that in wartime the NPT would be more needed than ever. But at a review conference of the parties in 1985 – upon a proposal of Sweden – they unanimously agreed that the NPT should be strictly implemented under any circumstances, thus also in times of war. An irritating loophole was closed.

In 1991, the NPT survived the greatest challenge to its existence ever following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Soviet nuclear weapons were spread all over the union. 14 new nuclear-weapon states could have emerged over night just by taking over the weapons that happened to be on their soil at the moment of independence. But in a relatively short period of time, all nukes were rushed back to Russia who continued the nuclear power status of the Soviet Union. And the NPT survived.

The original NPT was scheduled to be in force for 25 years after which time the parties should meet to decide on a prolongation for another specified time period or indefinitely. Therefore, in 1995 the parties met and decided, under the chairmanship of ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, on an indefinite duration in force.

Around the NPT, a number of subsidiary measures were agreed, regarding verification, reporting, inspection, export control, and physical protection of fissionable material, forming the so called non-proliferation regime. Over the years, that regime has discouraged a number of countries, Sweden included, from seeking nuclear arms and provided a frame for developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes disconnected from any weapons program. So far the positive progress.

The implementation of the NPT commitment to disarm became, however, a failure for many years. In 1968, there were 38.974 nuclear weapons in the world. This figure, supposed to decrease, did instead grow to 70.500 in the peak year of 1986. But after the end of the cold war, this trend has reversed. Several agreements on reductions were negotiated between the Soviet Union/Russia and the USA. Including the Presidential Nuclear Initiative in 1991 when Presidents George Bush (Sr) of the USA and Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR agreed over telephone to bring home most tactical (sub-strategic) nuclear weapons from theatres of deployment and from naval ships and to dismantle half of them. Today, there are some 8200 nuclear weapons in operational status in the world, and another 15.000 lined up for a continuous disarmament process.

While this reduction trend goes in the right direction, a nuclear-weapon-free world still seems far away. In the year 2000, the NPT parties unanimously agreed on the so called 13 steps towards nuclear disarmament. In 2006, the Blix Commission released its recommendations for that same purpose; the three top priorities of which were entry into force of the 1996 comprehensive test ban treaty, making weapon grade fissile material inaccessible to terrorists, and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. But little has so far happened on the ground.

However, recently a number of prominent senior statesmen around the world have expressed support for an elimination of all nuclear weapons indicating a change of attitude on senior levels of decision making. This is of course motivated by the gained, belated insight that terrorists may one day also get access to these weapons.

Parallel with this development, the NPT has suffered from several disturbances. In the 1980ies, South Africa manufactured six nuclear explosive devices none of which were tested and all of which were dismantled after South Africa had given up apartheid and signed the NPT. In 1998, India and Pakistan test fired a number of nuclear devices. In 2006 and again in 2009, North Korea did the same. Israel is widely assumed to have manufactured a fair number of nuclear weapons but has neither confirmed nor denied its nuclear status.

The nuclear ambitions of Iran, repeatedly declared as entirely peaceful, have been subject to concern for some time. As a consequence, Iran is currently subject to diplomatic pressure to cancel its centrifuge based industry for uranium enrichment. It is technically true that an enrichment industry can with short notice be adapted to produce weapon grade uranium, however peaceful current intentions are. But the policies now directed against Iran are unfortunate and beside the point. A successful future of the NPT regime must require an equal treatment under the laws.
A tough approach against Iran and no reaction against other non-nuclear states with a developed enrichment industry such as Brazil, Germany, and the Netherlands, would not be a fair precedent for the future.

Still, the Iran issue is generally relevant in both an immediate regional and in a wider long range context. The immediate Middle East nuclear problem should be solved by establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, first proposed by Iran itself back in 1974 and since then every year recommended by the UN General Assembly, after 1980 unanimously, thus for 29 consecutive years supported by all prospective zonal states and all members of the Security Council. The UN Secretary General as well as the so- called Blix Commission have joined this urgent call. Why is the world waiting?

The general issue is relevant for a long range solution. When the NPT was negotiated in 1967-1968, Sweden's disarmament negotiator Alva Myrdal who later was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, insisted that the treaty's disarmament provision (Article VI) should include a target date when all nuclear weapons should be eliminated. In vain however. The nuclear weapon powers turned down her idea. And we the small could mobilize only soft power to match their resistance. We could have threatened not to sign a treaty without a target date and probably been laughed at. A real demonstration of hard power, a threat to manufacture our own nuclear weapons was unrealistic at the time and out of question.

But today, it could be meaningful to revive the Alva Myrdal idea again. As shown by South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Iran, mobilizing such hard power could be a realistic option for the small. Today a possible compromise has emerged. The non-nuclear states could give up part of its rights according to the NPT to pursue a complete nuclear fuel cycle and offer to abstain from close-to-weapons parts such as enrichment and reprocessing and thus demonstrate a status far away from any independent weapons fabrication. The nuclear weapon powers could in order to match this offer accept at specified target date for the final elimination of all nukes. Such a compromise could be manifested by an additional protocol to the NPT adopted at the review conferences scheduled for 2015 or 2020.

Agreement on such a compromise would make the NPT an ultimate success. Non-agreement would open for proliferation chaos.

In the 1980s Olof Palme denounced the nuclear powers for keeping the rest of the world as hostages, threatening us all on this globe with mutual extermination for not starting nuclear disarmament. We the Non-Nuclears have also a say, and we demand that you start disarming in a process of common security, was his message.

That urgent call is still valid and even more so with more nuclear states than ever before. You have an important role to play. You can follow up your presence and action here in Stockholm by joining Ican, the international campaign to abolish weapons, established by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. On their web site ( you will find ways and means to increase your influence on public opinion and opinion-makers.

Again, most welcome to the seminar.

Some comments from the new generation to the conference "Reaching Nuclear Disarmament – the role of civil society in strengthening the NPT".

I speak on the behalf of all of the youth who attained the Palme Project seminar "Mobilizing the New Generation for Nuclear Disarmament".

After a warm welcome by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund and an introduction in nuclear policies by Mr Pierre Schori (chairman of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund, and with a long career as among other diplomat and Swedish ambassador in the UN) we divided into groups to talk about the major points we are willing to push forward to the NPT Conference in New York next year.

The most important point we agreed upon was the urgency of awareness raising. We have seen the importance of disarmament education also in the Palme Seminar since some participants felt that they lack of further knowledge on nuclear weapons and that their schools missed to educate them about it. The horrors from nuclear wars should no longer stay a non-issue in education. We have to inform people about the danger of nuclear weapons and visualize the military costs vs. social spending and sustainable development. This has to come both from the civil society, the governments and the media.

Another point that was raised was to ask the question of security for whom, when governments are arguing that weapons will provide security. There is a big difference between military security and human security and this must be further stressed. The concept of military security is not understandable for us who grew up without experiencing the cold war and having, thanks to the globalization and technical improvements, contacts and friends all over the world.

A third outcome of the Palme Seminar was the importance to promote dialogue between the youth in countries who are in conflict with each other. This is an essential way to go in order to see through the war propaganda that the media and the weapons industry constantly are feeding us, resulting in a dehumanization and demonization of people. We must act for a general understanding that, the so called "others", also are human beings just like us. With the same sorrows and joys we have.

Finally, in the seminar we were asked to look at what we like the best in life. Most answers to this question regarded friends, family, security and peace. Since we are the ones that will inherit the global threats and military expenditure, we would like to ask all the participants on the coming Rev Con, to look at what they like best in life. We really hope that they will come up with the same answers as we do. But if this is not the case, then it is high time to make room for us, the next generation, at the negotiation table.

Draft summary by the Swedish Coordinating Committee of the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in Stockholm on November 6-8, 2009.

More than 250 persons from 30 countries participated in the conference who in panel discussions and seminars covered a broad range of issues related to disarmament of nuclear weapons. Each of the three conference days have had a main theme:

– Reaching Nuclear Disarmament;
– Framing the Picture – Legal, Normative and Human Aspects of Nuclear Disarmament;
– The Role of Civil Society in Strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Several topical experts have addressed the conference, including the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Ambassador Sergio Duarte, the former Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Dr. Hans Blix and Ms. Lena Hjelm-Wallén, the former Legal Counsel of the United Nations Mr. Hans Corell, Mr Jan Lodal, former senior US Defense Department and White House official, Academician Sergej Kolesnikov and Ambassador Igor S. Neverov, Russia, and many other diplomats, politicians, experts and representatives of the international peace movement.

The vital purpose of the conference has been, with profound involvement of civil society, to discuss and consider the forthcoming Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will take place in New York in May 2010, and to contribute to the opinion-molding in pursuit of it.

An international youth dialogue meeting on nuclear disarmament organized within the framework of the conference contributed essentially to the substantial outcome.

A number of key topics have been considered during the three day conference:

The total elimination of all nuclear weapons as an ultimate goal of disarmament efforts. We note with interest all new statements and initiatives on zero options which have been put forward in the international discussion in recent years. We welcome President Barack Obama's initiatives to reinvigorate the vision of a world free from nuclear weapons.

The NPT Review Conference 2000 resulted in a program of 13 steps that was not followed up at the failed Review Conference in 2005. The NGO community expects the Review Conference 2010 to restart the negotiations based on the 13 steps, and, in addition, to carefully consider the 30 concrete proposals on nuclear weapons presented by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, (WMDC) headed by Dr. Hans Blix.

As a first step, the world could considerably reduce the risks of nuclear weapons being used by implementing the proposals of de-alerting of weapons presently deployed and to separate nuclear warheads from missile carriers, proposals put forward by the Canberra Commission in 1996. We also ask the nuclear weapon states to retire the nuclear component of their security thinking and doctrines which in several cases have even recently been upgraded.

The obligation of the five original nuclear weapon states to disarm their nuclear arsenals in accordance with article VI of the NPT should be a topic of first priority for the forthcoming Review Conference. The non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT should be asked to reconfirm their commitments to the treaty.

We suggest that Iran and the DPRK/North Korea should settle their international disputes concerning their nuclear programs through acceptance of inspections by the IAEA and in peaceful dialogue and negotiations with major powers and the international community as a whole.

It is now high time to move forward towards new nuclear weapons free zone regimes (NWFZ) in the Middle East, Europe and the circumpolar Arctic Region.

We strongly support initiatives with the purpose of raising public opinion against nuclear weapons, including education and grass-root activities. In particular, we emphasize the following four demands:

– We call upon the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the earliest possible stage, and other states that have not signed the CTBT to join the treaty at an early stage.
– We support an internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle in line with recommendations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We call for a new treaty dealing with fissile materials of uranium and plutonium, a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to be negotiated with urgency.
– We support the proposal by the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP) and others for a Nuclear Weapon Convention (NWC) to prohibit all nuclear weapons, similar to the already existing conventions on biological and chemical weapons.
– We support the WMD Commission's proposal on the need to set up an international NPT secretariat in order to work with continuity on issues related to the NPT. We also support proposals that the Swedish government should initiate and host such a secretariat.

Stockholm, November 8, 2009

The Swedish Coordinating Committee of the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament "Reaching Nuclear Disarmament", held in Stockholm on November 6-8, 2009