A Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

The Abolition 2000 Network is a network of over 700 organizations and growing on every continent, working for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It grew from many seeds - the World Court Project, the International Coalition for Non-Proliferation, the Global Alliance against Nuclear Arms, the Abolition Caucus, etc. All of these movements are like streams that led into the river that is the Abolition 2000 network. It is not a membership body but is open to all organizations endorsing the Abolition Statement, drafted at the NPT Conference in New York in 1995. Its over-arching premise is the vision of entering the 21st century with a plan in place for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

What is the Network?

700-plus organisations have organised themselves into what was termed a "tight" (rather than the usual loose) network which aims to provide groups concerned with nuclear issues a forum for the exchange of information and the development of joint initiatives. The "tightness" of the network (like the tautness of a web) is defined by how closely the members of the network work together and how good the lines of communication are.

The Network has an office which moves occasionally, staffed by a facilitator, who may change. The Global Network Office is by a Management Group. The substantive work of the network is done by International Working Groups on issues relating to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Internet is a very important part of the networking process.

How did it come about?

In 1995 at the Conference to Review and Extend the Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York a group of 40 to 50 activists, representing NGOs from all around the world, met each day to coordinate their work and called themselves "The Abolition Caucus." (Proposition One was represented by Thomas, and by colleagues in the Shundahai Network.) The group drafted a consensus document which was known as the "Abolition Statement". In less than two weeks the first 200 organisations had signed the statement; in early 1997 we're told the number is over 700, and still growing.

Added to this, the International Coalition for Non-Proliferation organised a meeting during the NPT Conference on a Draft Nuclear Weapons Convention, called "Beyond the NPT." The demand for a Convention became the prime focus of the lobbying work of the Abolition Caucus and also of the Abolition Statement. They called on the delegates to "initiate immediately and conclude by the year 2000 negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a timebound framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement."

The Abolition Caucus requested the NPT parties to adopt this goal in the final report of the Conference. The opposition to the indefinite, unconditional extension of the NPT was clearly expressed in the original statement, which has since been updated to remove references to the Conference and other dates.

Development of the Network

A core group went on to organise a further meeting in The Hague to coincide with the oral hearings at the International Court of Justice in November 1995 of the advisory opinion on the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons (World Court Project). The 60 participants at this meeting agreed by consensus to found a network and defined its structure. The title "Abolition 2000 - A Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons" was chosen.

The idea of a "tight network," consisting of regions, working groups and a distribution/communications centre (later titled the "Global Network Office") was born. Most importantly it was decided that there should be no central committee to take decisions on behalf of the network, and that initially no common strategy would be decided, except to take action under the only agreed common position: the Abolition Statement, which everybody had signed. The group that had organized the meeting in The Hague was given the task of setting up the office and finding the funding for a staff person for it. A second meeting in Edinburgh in March 1996 gave this group the title "Interim Management Group", whose function is solely to oversee the functioning of the Global Network Office. The members of the Interim Management Group are: Lysiane Alizard (France), Colin Archer (Switzerland), Janet Bloomfield (UK), Jackie Cabasso (USA), Michael Christ (USA), Xanthe Hall (Germany), Pamela Meidell (USA), Alice Slater (USA), and Alyn Ware, (Aotearoa/NZ). It was agreed that this group should be more regionally balanced than it presently is, and it is hoped that new members would be found before the next full meeting of the Network in the Pacific Region in 1997. (See Tahiti and Nevada, 1997)

The Regions

The Regions are at present North America, Central and South America, Europe, the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Network has some organizations in all of these regions, but the strongest are the Pacific, Europe and North America. Asia has much activity, but little participation in the meetings at present. Some regions are establishing regional networks to look for common strategies. The USA, Canada, Germany and Norway have formally established abolition networks. To join these networks contact:

AOTEAROA/NZ - Kate Dewes, P O Box 8390, Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Tel/Fax: +64-3-348 1353, E-mail: katie@chch.planet.co.nz

CANADA - Debbie Grisdale, Physicians for Global Survival, 170a Booth St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7W1, Canada, Tel: +1-613-233 1982, Fax: 233 9028, E-Mail: pgs@web.apc.org

GERMANY - Xanthe Hall, IPPNW Germany, Koertestrasse 10, D-10967 Berlin, Germany, Tel: +49-30-693 0244, Fax: 693 8166, E-Mail: ippnw@oln.comlink.apc.org

NORWAY - Frederik Heffermehl: Norwegian Peace Alliance, N Juelsgt 28A, N-0272 Oslo 2, Norway, Tel: +47-2244 8003, Fax: 2244 7616 USA - Karina Wood, Peace Action, 1819 H Street NW, Suite 420, Washington DC 20006-3603, USA, Tel: +1-202-862 9740, Fax: 862 9762, E- Mail: panukes@igc.apc.org

The Working Groups

The Working Groups deal with substantive issues arising out of the Abolition Statement. They concentrate on furthering the 11 points included in the statement and recommend further strategies to the Network. The members of each working group are fluid, but the convenor remains the same. Some groups meet regularly and others communicate by e-mail, fax, telephone and post. Anyone interested can participate at any one time by contacting the convenor.

Nuclear Weapons Convention: convened by Juergen Scheffran (INESAP) Institut fuer Kernphysik, Schloßgartenstraße 9, D-64289 Darmstadt, Germany, Tel: +49- 6151-163016, fax: 166039, E-mail: scheffran@hrzpub.th-darmstadt.de The time is right to demand a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). As in the Abolition Statement, negotiations should start now because it will be a long process to complete them, and NGOs should be involved in this. Working for a NWC is the logical next step of the World Court Project, as it is for the International Network of Engineers and Scientists and the Pugwash, who have set up a Study Group on the NWC. At the group's meeting in New York in March 1996, an outline of the elements of a model treaty was discussed with various participants taking on the drafting of specific language. An executive summary of the treaty is now complete and has been forwarded to the Canberra Commission (a Commission of experts Convened by the Australian Government to discuss concrete measures to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons). Plans are being made to organize a World Conference to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in 1998.

Overcoming Nuclear Threats: Convened by Rob Green (WCP UK) 2 Chiswick House, High Street, Twyford, Berks RG10 8AG, UK, Tel/Fax: +44-734 340 258, E-mail: robwcpuk@gn.apc.org

The group is assessing and will report on the implications of the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion(s). It will propose actions for the nuclear weapons states to comply with the ruling. It aims to coordinate the work to challenge the doctrine of deterrence. The deterrence doctrine and the abolition of nuclear weapons are incompatible. There is a brochure on the implications of possible Court rulings, which will be updated after the ruling itself. Also there is a brochure on "Deterring War Responsibly". Both are available from Rob Green.

Nuclear Test Ban and Beyond: Convened by Jackie Cabasso (WSLF) 1440 Broadway, Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612, Tel: +1-510-839 5877, Fax: 839 5397, E- mail: wslf@igc.apc.org

The work of this group refers to the points on testing in the Abolition Statement: working for a truly comprehensive test ban that prevents development of nuclear weapons and for the closure of the test sites. The CTBT negotiations are now underway in Geneva. The Test Ban will most likely not be comprehensive because the nuclear weapons states have developed the technical capability to replace testing. Computer simulated tests are far from messing around on a laptop - the facilities are as big or bigger than football stadiums. Above Ground Explosions take place that are not technically termed nuclear explosions although explosions take place using nuclear material. There are also plans for "laser fusion" facilities at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California, USA and in Bordeaux, France (Megajoule). Technical knowledge and understanding of what subcritical, hydrodynamic or hydronuclear tests are, or what laser or intertial confinement fusion is will be an important task of this group. These are the methods of the future that will enable the nuclear weapons states to continue collecting data and experimenting with the modernisation, miniaturisation and design of nuclear weapons. The group is campaigning to get language introduced into the preamble of the CTBT (language available from Jackie Cabasso) that will specifically refer to the prevention of the development of nuclear weapons as the intention of the treaty. The concept of "The Test Ban and Beyond" is to favour an early conclusion of the CTBT, while recognising that this will not fulfil our objectives and therefore planning for beyond this. Action in 1996 and 1997, following completion of the CTBT, centre around the subcritical tests planned in the United States.

Fissile Materials (no convenor as yet)

Much work is going on in this area by organizations in the Network although a working group has not yet formally been convened. The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva plans to negotiate a fissile material "Cut-off" after completion of the CTBT. Discussions at present are around the issues of banning fissile material completely - i.e. destroying stockpiles - and the production of fissile materials in the civilian sector. If the stockpiles remain, the present status quo will be perpetuated, as with the NPT and most likely with the CTBT, that the declared nuclear weapons states retain their capability, while forbidding it for all others. This is not disarmament. Disallowing fissile material production only in the military and not in the civilian sector repeats the mistake of the NPT by ignoring that nuclear energy produces bomb material that can be diverted, legally or illegally, for military purposes. The question of fissile material production is important because it cuts off the source of material - "pulling the plug on the bomb".

Chernobyl: Convened by "For Mother Earth"

Lange Steenstraat 16/D, B-9000 Gent, Tel + Fax: +32-9-233 8439, E-mail: fme@int.knooppunt.be

This group was originally set up to coordinate the activities for the 10th anniversary of the Catastrophe at Chernobyl. It has developed a petition, addressed to Boutros Ghali asking for the IAEA to stop promoting nuclear power and for the UN to set up an International Alternative Energy Agency, which will be circulated until November 30th 1996. This area is an initial breeding ground for cooperative work between disarmament and environmental groups. The pro-nuclear lobby tried to claim that the medical consequences of the Chernobyl accident were very low (no more than 30 deaths). Calculations from German physicians put the figure at around 25,000 deaths so far, an increase in thyroid cancer 100 times higher in the worst hit areas, and diabetes figures have doubled. The main point is not the figures but the suffering, physical and psychological.

A Non-Nuclear Security Model for Europe

Convened by Solange Fernex (WILPF and Greens, France) F-68480 Biederthal, France, Tel: +33-89-407183, Fax: 407804

This group is looking at NATO and WEU and the unacceptability of these alliances in the future for solving security problems. The WEU is accepted as the European leg of NATO. An opportunity to open the discussion on common security policy in Europe is emerging preceding Maastricht II. NGOs should try to intervene in this discussion. The group proposes that the OSCE is the correct organ to work on security in Europe through solving conflicts non-violently and on a political level. The OSCE is much bigger than WEU or NATO, with 54 member states, including states from Eastern Europe, neutral states and all NATO members. Security is not a military problem, but often to do with ethnic, religious or economic problems rather than a threat of outside invasion. The OSCE is currently under Swiss Presidency. It is launching a discussion on a model for security in the 21st century and is inviting input. The group suggests encouraging non-nuclear weapons states to participate in this discussion. If the WEU is accepted as Europe's security force, then the currently proposed security arrangement - a European nuclear deterrent shared by France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Greece, Turkey and others - will become a reality.

Lobbying, Dialogue and Campaigning:

Convened by Xanthe Hall (IPPNW Germany) Koertestrasse 10, D-10967 Berlin, Tel: +49-30-693 0244, Fax: 693 8166, E-Mail: ippnw@oln.comlink.apc.org

This working group arises out of work that IPPNW has being undertaking in the last year or more as their main area of work. Physicians and other professionals have the ability to influence decision-makers in their areas of competence. During lobbying work on the CTBT and NPT it has become clear that many organizations are involved in lobbying and this work often crosses over. This working group would focus on methodology; it would help set up international delegations and avoid duplication of efforts; it could discuss best approaches to different negotiating forums. IPPNW has also been working with Oxford Research Group on Dialoguing with Decision-Makers, such as nuclear scientists, arms traders, military leaders. IPPNW has met with NATO to discuss a nuclear weapon free zone in Eastern Europe. Already had some success in bringing military leaders from Britain and China together to discuss security and abolition. The lobbying and dialoguing needs corresponding campaigning to show the breadth of support behind it and to involve the grassroots with this work in postcard, letter-writing and fax actions. Working with political parties, locally and nationally, as well as local authorities is very important. The idea of nuclear free zones is useful in this context.

Media, Communication and Outreach:

Convened by Janet Bloomfield (CND) 162 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DQ, Tel: +44-171-700 2393, Fax: 7002357, E-mail: cnd@gn.apc.org

This group will focus on outreach - getting other groups and networks involved, especially with the use of internal media from national and international groups. It will discuss how best to use the newspapers, TV and Radio and develop a register of sympathetic journalists around the world to feed information to. A cinema advertisement for the World Court Project is available for adaptation, with a changed message at the end to promote Abolition 2000. Copies are available on video. Another media tool is "Court TV", which recorded the entire oral proceedings at the ICJ in November, and made them into a series of programmes for cable TV in the US. Some of the commentators of these programmes were from the Network.


Convened by Tobias Damjanov (German Peace Society/DFG- VK, Germany) c/o INES, POB 101707, D-44017 Dortmund, Germany, Tel: +49-2327- 81987, Fax: 81944, E-Mail: dfg-vk.nrw@anarch.ping.de, Internet WWW page: http:/cac.psu.edu/~duf/social/ines.html

The newsletter aims to cover anti-nuclear activities and programmes that you wouldn't get otherwise. BAN! is available through E-Mail. The group is currently working on mailing a hard copy. __________________________________________________________________

What you can do

* Get your organization to sign the Abolition Statement. New signatories should send their name, address, telephone and fax number, E-Mail address, affiliation and number of members to Xanthe Hall, IPPNW Germany, Koertestrasse 10, D-10967 Berlin, Tel: +49-30-693 0244, Fax: 693 8166, E-Mail: ippnw@oln.comlink.apc.org or Pamela Meidell 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 123, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, Tel: +1-805 965 3443, Fax. 568 0466, E-mail: pmeidell@igc.apc.org. All signatories are invited to yearly meetings of the Network.

* Join the E-Mail list server "abolition-caucus" by sending a message to majordomo@igc.apc.org. The text should be in the body of the message and not the title and should say "subscribe abolition-caucus". Anyone can join this and will receive from and can send messages to any of the other participators on the subject of Campaigning for abolition.

* Take part in one or more of the substantive working groups. Contact the convenor of your preferred issue and ask them what the method of communicating with the group is or to send you information on the issue.

* Take part in a regional or national network, or in setting one up. The more developed these networks become, the easier it will be to make consensus decisions on points of strategy in the future, should we wish to do so.

Networking is a skill which relates to non-violence. Each group or individual takes on work according to their interest and ability. Networking looks for common ground in preference to conflict. Its basis is cooperation and complementation rather than competition. The challenge for this network is to abolish nuclear weapons.

(Updated by Proposition One Committee 8/97)