ICANs innlegg i FNs generalforsamling

We don’t know how much longer our luck will last - eliminating nuclear weapons has never been more urgent.

Tuva Widskjold, koordinator i ICAN Norge, leverte ICAN internasjonalt sitt innlegg til førstekomiteen i FNs generalforsamling. Les hele innlegget under. 


2023 UN General Assembly First Committee Nuclear Weapons Civil Society Statement

Delivered: 11 October 2023


It is easy to forget, sitting in a comfortable room in the United Nations, debating international peace and security, that at any moment, any of the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons could destroy the world. Within minutes, all that we know and love could be incinerated. We take our sheer luck for granted, but this is the reality of nuclear deterrence. Living under the constant threat of complete and utter annihilation.

No country or city is immune from the threat of nuclear weapons and no country is prepared to respond to a nuclear attack. New research reveals that a nuclear detonation over a city in my home country Norway would kill tens of thousands, injure even more and leave our healthcare system devastated and unable to assist the victims.

The increased rhetoric about nuclear use and threats to use nuclear weapons in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has drawn greater public attention to the ever-present risk of nuclear weapons use. The risk remains unacceptably high - and continues to increase, including due to nuclear-armed states’ nuclear upgrades and the role of emerging technologies. In 2022, nuclear-armed states spent $82.9 billion on their nuclear arsenals, at least $29 billion going directly to the companies that produce parts of nuclear weapons and that lobby and invest in think tanks to promote these weapons.

Even if nuclear weapons haven’t been used in warfare since 1945, they have had devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences. Any use of nuclear weapons would be a clear violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The use and testing of nuclear weapons has scarred the populations and the planet for generations, disproportionately impacting formerly colonized peoples and Indigenous peoples.

Although we cannot dismiss the ever present risk of nuclear use or the ongoing harm that nuclear weapons are wrecking on people and the environment, we can find hope in the actions of courageous diplomats and civil society - standing up to do something about it.

This positive and constructive approach to tackle one of the world’s most pressing existential threats is evident in the work to implement and universalise the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The TPNW has grown in membership to 93 signatories and 69 states parties, demonstrating the will of the international community to eliminate these weapons of mass destruction. We warmly welcome Sri Lanka’s recent accession to the treaty and the Bahamas’ signature.

Following the First Meeting of States Parties in June 2022, TPNW states parties alongside civil society, have engaged actively in each of the working groups established to implement commitments agreed to in the Vienna Action Plan adopted at the meeting. At the Second Meeting of States Parties taking place from 27 November- 1 December here in New York, states will report on their work on nuclear disarmament verification, victim assistance and environmental remediation, universalising the treaty, demonstrating its complementarity with other nonproliferation and disarmament instruments, and advancing principles on gender and inclusion. The newly established Scientific Advisory Group will report on their work and assessment of the current status of nuclear weapons risks and humanitarian consequences.

This is an essential meeting in the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament calendar - one of the few where states are still able to work constructively together and inclusively with civil society to reach agreement on concrete steps to advance towards nuclear disarmament. All countries, including those not yet party to the Treaty, must attend and should recognise the positive contribution of the treaty, including its creation of the first international structure to assist victims of nuclear weapons use and testing and to remediate the environment.

But most importantly, all countries must join this landmark instrument without delay.  Every country that joins the TPNW strengthens the norm against all nuclear weapons activities - including use, threat to use, and stationing. We don’t know how much longer our luck will last - eliminating nuclear weapons has never been more urgent.