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  Bedjaoui, Thompson and von Trapp Large Web view
H.E. Laura Thompson (Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Nations in Geneva), Mohammed Bedjaoui and Lisa von Trapp (PNND Senior Officer – France)


On November 13, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) joined the Costa Rican Mission to the United Nations, the Simons Foundation, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists against Proliferation (INESAP) and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) in co-sponsoring a day-long diplomatic roundtable at the United Nations in Geneva (Palais des Nations) on Steps toward a Nuclear Weapons Convention: Exploring and developing legal and political aspects.

The event came 11 days after the election of a new president in the United States, and three weeks after the announcement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of a five-point disarmament plan which called for negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention (NWC), and highlighted the Model NWC which he had circulated to UN member States at the request of Costa Rica and Malaysia.

Ambassadors and disarmament representatives from 35 countries, including some of the Nuclear Weapon States, joined with legal and political experts to discuss ways of utilising the new political openings to make progress on nuclear disarmament, explore possibilities for advancing a nuclear weapons convention, and to consider key elements from the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention which could be developed and implemented in the near future.

Jeremy Corbyn 2  
PNND Council Member Jeremy Corbyn

The discussions were stimulated by a keynote speech from Mohammed Bedjaoui (former President of the International Court of Justice and former Foreign Minister of Algeria), and by short presentations from Greg Austin, (Vice-President of the East-West Institute), Tim Caughley (Director of the Geneva Branch UN Office for Disarmament Affairs), Ambassador Caroline Millar (Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN in Geneva), Ambassador Laura Thompson (Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva), Jeremy CorbynMP (Member of the UK House of Commons and PNND Member), Thomas O’Grady (Mayor of North Olmsted and member of Mayors for Peace ), John Burroughs (Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy), Carlos Vargas Pizarro (Law Professor and Legal Consultant, Costa Rica), Peter Becker (Vice-President IALANA), Moritz Kutt and Martin Cieslik (Student participants in the 2008 Model NWC Negotiating Conference), and Ed Aguilar (Director of the Project for Nuclear Awareness).

Key themes (ideas, questions, issues) emerging from the roundtable included:

  Andreas and Martin
Andreas Nidecker (IPPNW) and Martin Cieslik
  • The need to adopt a comprehensive framework for nuclear disarmament, as proposed by the UN Secretary-General, in order to make progress on non-proliferation and disarmament steps, and to lay a pathway for a nuclear weapons free world;
  • There are now political openings for a nuclear weapons convention arising from new leadership in the United States, a combination of authoritative studies and commissions focused on achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world, and the UN Secretary-General’s five-point plan for nuclear disarmament;
  • The need to enhance track two diplomacy - especially between US and Russia - and the role that disarmament experts, parliamentarians and other actors could play in this;
  • The possibilities for non-Nuclear Weapon States to take initial steps relating to the Nuclear Weapons Convention including national prohibition and criminalisation measures, development of verification capacities and possibly even the start of NWC negotiations or preparatory meetings for such;
  • The value in using the Model NWC as an indication of the legal, technical and political mechanisms which can address concerns and security needs currently preventing progress, and the way it assists in developing a problem-solving approach to these issues;
  • The need to increase political will and momentum on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament through high-level government action supported by parliamentarians, mayors and other sectors in civil society.
Bedjaoui speaking at lunch event 3  

Mohammed Bedjaoui at the lunch in his honour


The roundtable include a presentation by Mayor Thomas O’Grady, member of the International Affairs Standing Committee of the United States Conference of Mayors, of a Proclamation entered into the US Congressional Record by Congressman Dennis Kucinich honouring PNND and supporting a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

There was also a UN delegates lunch honouring Mohammed Bedjaoui for his contribution to the advancement of international law, the promotion of legal principles for disarmament and the application of law to the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The lunch, which was vegetarian to support of the elimination of world hunger and protection of the environment , was hosted by PNND, The Simons Foundation and IALANA.


Roundtable program

Bios of speakers


Briefing papers:

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