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OEWG Report, Vol. 2, No. 16

The time for courage is now
4 August 2016


Jessica Lawson and Mia Gandenberger

On Friday, 5 August, on the eve of the 71st anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the open-ended working group (OEWG) to take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations will meet for its third and final session in Geneva. The Chair of the working group, Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi will officially present the first draft of his report that will be delivered to the General Assembly in October.

The draft report

The draft report, which was circulated one week in advance, highlights that the majority of governments want to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons, beginning in 2017.

At the May session it became clear that the majority of states are determined to move forward and prohibit these weapons of mass destruction. The purpose of this working group is to “substantively address” and make recommendations to the UN General Assembly about “concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms” to attain and maintain a nuclear weapon-free world.

During the August meeting, it is imperative that the small group of states that continue to oppose any meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament do not silence the voices of the majority of states. This small group of nuclear-supportive states predicates its argument on the outdated and dangerous misconception that their security depends on the nuclear weapons of other states. Despite the well-known humanitarian and environmental threat these weapons pose to humanity, it is likely that they will do everything they can to undermine and weaken the language of the report.

Those states with the courage to make progress cannot let this happen. For the report to maintain credibility it is essential that the recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons remains in its unedited entirety, or the working group risks failing in its objective.

Coverage of the OEWG

Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament programme of WILPF, will cover all of the OEWG proceedings through this daily report.

We will provide analysis and advocacy, highlights from the discussions, and reports on side events. You can subscribe to receive this report by email by going to www.reachingcriticalwill.org and subscribing to the First Committee Monitor.

On our website, you can also find statements, documents, archived OEWG reports, and more information.

You can also follow the discussions on Twitter at #OEWG, #goodbyenukes, @RCW_, and @nuclearban, among others.