Yesterday, Wednesday 29 November was day 3 of the 2MSP at the UN in New York.
Video created by Women for Independence.
Below are reports from various events including side events at the 2MSP, all attended and drafted by our two UNHS interns on the ground: Lucy Harrow (Pacific piece); Justine Vonpierre (Agency engagement).
Un)-limiting Access to Multilateral Fora
This discussion centred around access to international forums, paying particular attention to how gender, the global South and the youth population plays into this.
We need to confront exclusivity and look at how we are systemically side-lining important voices through power imbalances. This discussion aims to strengthen perspectives of those who are not given enough attention. We need to create a space where affected communities are given a role in decision making.
This discussion is part of ICAN Germany and a campaign they have launched with the Heinrick Böll Foundation. They have been conducting a serious of online events on the effects of nuclear weapons (testing, mining etc). They have produced a brochure titled 'Nuclear Justive: A Global Perspective on the Impact of Nuclear Weapons'. On top of that they are organising a policy briefing and a delegation trip. They approach the issue from a feminist perspective to see who is not involved to work towards an inclusive and equitable framework that recognises diverse voices.
The issues of unequal access to international fora in the nuclear disarmament process
1MSP: 633 delegates were registered on behalf of civil society organisations making up the majority of the representation - for every 2 diplomats there were 3 civil society delegates
Prep com: state parties attempted to exclude civil society delegates but allowed a selection in the working group at the last minute.
2MSP: 728 civil society delegates (an increase from 1MSP)
Of the states leading the charge in the TPNW 91% are from the global south yet when we look at demographic constitution of the civil societies present at 2MSP 91% are present on behalf of North American, Japanese or European civil societies.
The visa application plays a part in this with the exclusion of global south representation embedded within this system.
Renata Hessmann Dalaqua: head of the Gender and Disarmament Programme at UNIDIR
Women are not underrepresented in civil societies but are in delegations (especially in leadership roles)
This exclusion is a way of control over knowledge production, labour and state.
We can go beyond being an object of research and bring perspective from the ground.
Challenges and barriers faced by young voices on an international level
Overall structure of the field fails to provide a sustainable path of inclusivity
Unfair for young people to bare the brunt of financial burden when they are to remain active in the field on an immediate level
Challenged to tackle global issues
Often overlooked perspectives
Notes from the author:
It is interesting to note both the advances the TPNW has made in the inclusion of often ignored communities but also the ways in which we can improve and move forward.
Link to the brochure:
Challenging Nuclear Secrecy: A discussion of hierarchies, ethics and barriers to access in nuclear archives
Part one: challenging nuclear secrecy
Discussion on the 2023 report "Challenging Nuclear Secrecy: A discussion of hierarchies, ethics and barriers to access in nuclear archives."
The report is on archival evidence, driven by colonialism and nuclear racism. This involves both government and community records from grassroots. This ides arose from speaking to First Nation people who were seeking archival records for testimonies from their own communities. Scientific advisory groups will also now be looking at records for information. It also discusses how nuclear armed countries release and restrict information surrounding their weapons. This creates a knowledge block for nuclear tested states and makes it impossible to be aware of the nuclear situation in their own countries. They centred conversation around the example of French Polynesia and how France hid and scattered information on nuclear testing meaning that not only did the people from affected countries have to travel to France to seek information but travel all over the country to attain it.
Hinamoeura Cross (Ma'ohi Nui) and Jean-Marie Collin (France)
The purpose of the report is to generate discussion and dialogues between people. We can think about how affected communities can be involved in the implementation of article 6 and 7.
Part two: voices from the frontlines
Panel of affected community members and nuclear survivors
2nd generation survivor of British nuclear testing in Australia.
She stresses the importance of the next generation to take stories forward and remind people of what her community experienced.
Her father was blinded by the testing yet took it upon himself to gather testimonies and share stories. He interpreted and translated lived experiences to draw attention to what occurred.
Benetick Kabua Maddison
Marshall Islands diaspora
"We ask to be heard, to be seen and to be treated fairly”
"Only through the TPNW can nuclear justice be achieved”
Notes from the author:
This discussion further drew attention to the importance of first hand lived experiences. The speakers spoke of how we should decolonize memories and minds through this understanding. The report showed the limitations of nuclear secrecy and issues relating to tiered access and privilege. It stood out to me that it was mentioned that they wanted critique and feedback on the report, further showing the importance of discussion to this topic. I found the information on the relationship between coloniser and colonised particularly interesting, specifically in reference to information exchange.
Advancing Global Agenda for a Nuclear-Free World: Bridging Humanity, Security, and Sustainability
This discussion surrounded the importance of nuclear disarmament being involved with the post-SDGs framework. This followed intersectionality and development issues. Mellissa Parke drew attention to how this issue is the greatest violation of human rights and how every UN agency should be discussing nuclear disarmament as it is interlinked with all aspects of life.
A pannel discussion with Yamaguchi Shinobu, Rebecca Gibbons and Yuzaki Hidehiko.
First Y. Hidehiko asked: "How can we better communicate that we need to get rid of nuclear weapons?"
He stressed that nuclear weapons are a social problem and not a protection or security system. No truly sustainable future can be secured as long as nuclear weapons exist.
Nuclear disarmament and sustainability are interconnected issues because they are both concerned with securing human security, avoiding long term health issues, protecting the environment.
Then R. Gibbons tried to answer the question of " How can we include elimination of nuclear weapons in SDGs?"
SDG 3, 5, 10 and 16 for sure. 3 because of the health impact of testing and bombing of course but also exposure to waste, uranium mining, training etc.
5 because nuclear weapons don't impact men and women the same way and because women and girls are more vulnerable to it. The reproductive health of women is threaten by radioactivity, mothers are more exposed to the psychological stress triggered by the testings and the impact on their children's health.
R. Gibbons also mentioned her research based on interviews. she is asking survivors or affected communities what justice claims mean to them. Acknowledgements? Even more difficult to get : Apologies? Health care and even better change of policies to make sure no other nuclear weapons will be used.
The SDGs are very ambitious but we need to include nuclear disarmament to it.
Melissa Parke stressed the environmental connection of nuclear weapons because one place can stop it but it could destroyed so many places all at once not to mention cultural heritage and biodiversity. It concerns everyone so we all should be able to raise our voice democratically about it.
Some interesting thoughts about how mainstream nuclear weapons risks and impacts.
Tourism : develop a new type of tourism called " peace tourism "
A very interesting thought on how to bring the SDGs close to people affected by nuclear weapons who do not know about them.
Disarmament and Peacebuilding in Northeast Asia: Opportunities and Recommendations for the TPNW
One of the speakers pointed out how many Korean people were also impacted by the bombs in Japan. This was because many people were brought to mainland Japan and forced to work in the cities from the Korean Peninsula. Some studies suggest that 1/10th of people impacted by the bombs were Koreans, some staying and some returning home after the bombing. These individuals still suffer from health and social issues.
There are talks going on suggesting strengthening deterrence despite the efforts of civil societies. This tendency to strengthen arms is further suggested by meetings of South Korea, Japan and the US. It is often said that because of heightened tensions it is premature to discuss nuclear disarmament yet the speaker believes the opposite and that starting a discourse will lead to an easing of tension and the chance to make conditions for peace talks.
Blue Banner is a Mongolian non-governmental organisation to promote nuclear disarmament. NGOs represent the cities of North East Asia instead of state parties. The US also has a role in this through representation of Washington DC. It is a form where NGOs can exchange views and if they agree they can produce joint statements or government recommendations.
Emotional account from a Korean survivor of the atomic bomb. He explained the nightmares he suffers and asks for the US to hold themselves accountable and apologise to the people impacted.
Survivor from Hiroshima: exposed when 9 months old. When he was 11 years old he suffered liver and kidney problems, thinking at the time he was going to die. Angry that the US do not hold themselves responsible and instead encourages other countries such as Japan towards the idea of nuclear weapons. He thinks that Japan should instead lead the conversation about a nuclear free world.
Japanese member of parliament spoke of the importance of the TPNW.
Affected Community Members Breakfast Gathering
An early and friendly breakfast meeting with those representing the communities affected by nuclear weapons and anyone else interested in listening to their stories and testimonies.
People representing Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan Youth initiative for climate justice) French Polynesia, Oklahoma and the Marshall Islands were present to share their stories.
As a whole, the main issue they raised is the importance of sharing stories of victims and survivors because story telling is the best way to raise awareness on the dangers and impacts of nuclear weapons.