As ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn put it, "it felt like we made the transition from arguing that we need a ban treaty to actually banning nuclear weapons." With participation from over 130 states, as well as civil society organisations, the constructive atmosphere could be described by John Loretz of IPPNW as "one of the most productive, energized, and energizing exchanges most of us have ever experienced inside a UN conference room."
|ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn, speaks to journalists during the ban treaty negotiations|
Among the contributions from civil society, a poignant highlight was the contribution of Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, who spoke on behalf of ICAN on the second day of the talks.
|Setsuko Thurlow addresses the ban treaty negotiations|
Following decades of stalemate as the nuclear-armed states have blocked progress under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this week's talks show non-nuclear-armed states and civil society reclaiming the initiative in setting the legal framework emphatically back in motion. As has been the case with other weapons of mass destruction, international prohibition offers a significant step towards elimination.
The second phase of negotiations will begin in June, with the talks President, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica, expected to circulate a draft treaty before then.
For more detailed information on the negotiations, see the website of Reaching Critical Will, which includes documentation and transcripts of many of the statements delivered by participation, as well as ICAN's dedicated nuclear ban treaty website, their blog of the week's events, and the IPPNW blog.