Every generation has a chance to change the world.
This is our chance to ban nuclear weapons
From 6 to 7 December 2014 – immediately before the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons – ICAN organized a major civil society forum with the theme “the courage to ban nuclear weapons”.
More than 600 campaigners attended from 70 nations, representing over 100 organizations travelled to Vienna with one demand: A ban on nuclear weapons!
The Vienna Civil Society Forum was ICAN’s largest gathering to date, and one of the largest civil society meetings on nuclear weapons in recent years. Participants discussed strategies for building effective coalitions, attracting media attention, advocating with officials and parliamentarians, and raising public awareness about nuclear dangers. The two-day programme offered 16 hours of inspiring, informative and hands-on activities, including workshops, interactive panel discussions, “lightning” speeches, meet-and-greet sessions and a marketplace exhibiting partners’ work.
Speakers included Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi; Tony de Brum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands; Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice; Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; Eric Schlosser, bestselling author of Command and Control; and parliamentarians from Canada, Scotland and the United Kingdom. The Austrian federal president, Heinz Fischer, along with retired US general Lee Butler and Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Jody Williams, sent video messages to the forum.
The topics discussed included the immorality of nuclear weapons, their lack of military utility, their financing by banks and other institutions, and the need for “resolute normative leadership”. The forum provided an open platform for debate and the exchange of best practices among campaigners around the world. It sent a clear message to delegates attending the Vienna conference that civil society stands united behind the goal of a treaty banning nuclear weapons, and is a force to be reckoned with.
The landmark Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, hosted by Austria from 8 to 9 December 2014, concluded with an extraordinary pledge “to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” – a commitment, in other words, to begin negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
IT’S TIME TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS.