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PNND Update 20
October 2008


1. Parliamentarians and a nuclear weapons convention

Members of the European Parliament launch statement supporting a NWC

On 1 July 2008, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the European Parliament section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament launched a Parliamentary declaration in support of the Nuclear Weapons Convention, a multi-laterally negotiated treaty to abolish nuclear weapons globally.

The declaration says that such a treaty is required in order to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons and to ensure fulfilment of the NPT’s aims for complete nuclear disarmament.

The declaration refers to the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, which is now a document of both the United Nations General Assembly and the NPT Review Conference, and which outlines the legal, technical and political elements that make nuclear abolition possible. The declaration also notes that due to the complicated nature of nuclear disarmament, the abolition of nuclear weapons might need to be done in a number of steps leading to the final treaty.

Over 100 Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum have endorsed the declaration including former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard and former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.

PNND is now circulating the declaration internationally for parliamentarians from around the world to endorse. PNND is planning to present it to the United Nations during the current session of the UN General Assembly.

For more information see Parliamentarians and a Nuclear Weapons Convention by PNND Co-Presidents Marian Hobbs and Alexa McDonough, PNND Notes p13.


2. PNND Co-President’s letter to the G8 Speakers’ Summit

On 2 September 2008, the anniversary of the Peace Treaty ending World War II, Lower House speakers from the Group of Eight (G8) nations met for a Summit in Hiroshima to pay their respects to those killed by the nuclear blast in 1945, and to consider nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues. The Summit was hosted by the Speaker of the Japan Lower House, PNND Member Yohei KONO. With Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi representing the United States, this was the first time a high-level US official had paid respects at the Hiroshima Peace Park.

The five PNND Co-Presidents sent a letter to the summit of Lower House Speakers urging their colleagues “to lead the parliaments of G8 countries... in implementing steps leading to the achievement of a nuclear weapons-free world.”  They further stated that “Technical, political and institutional developments in the 21st century have transformed the ideal of nuclear disarmament into a realistic goal. However, it will take leadership and action to make this happen.” “Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, a non-partisan network of legislators from around the world, is ready to work with you to ensure success.”

PNND Japan presents Model Nuclear Weapons Convention to Speaker Yohei Kono

Earlier, PNND Japan President Tsuneo Suzuki, PNND Japan General Secretary Taro Kono and PNND Global Coordinator Alyn Ware had met with Yohei Kono, speaker of the Japanese Lower House, to discuss the G8 Speakers Summit and to present him with a copy of the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention.

For more information see:

G8 speakers pay respects to bomb victims in significant visit to Hiroshima memorial

Youth interview with Yohei Kono on G8 Speakers Summit


3. Inter-Parliamentary Union initiative on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), established in 1889, is an international organisation of parliaments of sovereign states. IPU provides a global parliamentary forum for discussing key issues, and has a special relationship with the United Nations as affirmed in a number of UN resolutions and reports.

Hon Roger Price,
Co-Rapporteur for IPU Committee on
Non-proliferation and Disarmament

At its 118 th Annual Assembly held in Cape Town, 13 -18 April 2008, the Inter-Parliamentary Union decided to produce a report on the topic Advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and securing the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty: The role of parliaments. The report will would provide the basis for an IPU action plan and/or resolution at the 120th IPU Assembly. Mr. R. Price ( Australia) and Mr. J.J. Mwiimbu ( Zambia) were appointed Co-Rapporteurs for the report, the first draft of which will be presented to the 119 th IPU Assembly in Geneva 13-15 October.

Indications are that the report will initially focus on consolidating the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, promoting negotiations for a treaty banning the production of fissile materials, and calling for further reductions in nuclear stockpiles. A number of PNND members are suggesting that the report should also focus on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and achievement of a nuclear weapons convention.

PNND is planning to participate in the IPU Assembly in Geneva. For more information contact: alyn@pnnd.org


4. Parliamentary launch of ENACT – youth peace website

On 23 September 2008, as part of UN International Day for Peace, The Hon Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand Minister for Youth Affairs, hosted a parliamentary launch for ENACT – youth enabling action, a youth peace website developed by the Peace Foundation in conjunction with high school students and other young people.


ENACT includes a range of youth initiatives for promoting peace at home, school, in the community and internationally. Jacob Bromer, a young film-maker and activist from Germany, notes that “Already today, young people everywhere shape the world around them, working for change and making their voices heard. To actively connect, inspire and empower them is the goal of ENACT - and just what is needed to take youth campaigning to the next level.”

ENACT includes a number of youth actions and initiatives for nuclear disarmament including Students for a Nuclear Weapons Free World and Ban All Nukes generation (BANg).

PNND Council Member Douglas Roche, in a statement supporting the ENACT launch, said that “ Youth action is vital to bring sanity and direction to a world that currently squanders $3billion a day on militaries while thousands of children die from poverty-related causes. Change is possible. We can abolish nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We can abolish war. We can end poverty. Young people are helping to create this change and build a better world. I urge all youth to join this global effort.”

PNND Special Representative Lt General Rom é o Dallaire (ret.) also supported the ENACT launch saying “ The continued existence of nuclear weapons ensures that there is no real future for humanity. The aim for future generations is to become abolitionists of nuclear weapons, to become activists and bring about their dismantling once and for all.


5. Mediterranean Union and a Middle East Zone Free of WMDs

On 13 July 2008, at a summit hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy , 43 nations from Europe and the Mediterranean launched the Union for the Mediterranean , a forum for states in the region to deal cooperatively with energy, security, counter-terrorism, immigration and trade issues.

The Union aims to provide a forum for the promotion of peace in the region, particularly between Israel and the Arab countries. The Summit itself was a positive start with leaders from Arab and European countries and Israel coming together in one place for dialogue.

Paris Summit to establish the
Union for the Mediterranean

“We dreamed about a Union for the Mediterranean, and now it is a reality,” Sarkozy said in closing the summit. He called it an “extremely moving, very important moment.”

Egypt ’s President Hosni Mubarak, co-presiding at the summit with Sarkozy, called on the new union to tackle reducing the “wealth gap” between north and south, and cited other southern Mediterranean “challenges” as education, food safety, health and social welfare. He said the union has better chances of success than a previous cooperation process launched in Barcelona in 1995 because the new body focuses on practical projects parallel to efforts toward Mideast peace.

The summit declaration condemned “terrorism in all its forms” and announced six major projects, from a common university and easier travel visas for students to de-polluting the Mediterranean Sea and promoting solar power. The 43 countries, including Israel and the Arab States, also committed themselves in final declaration to “pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction.”

PNND Council member Dov Khenin ( Israel) writes in PNND Notes that “ Up until very recently, the high level of political tension and highly polarized views have prevented any progress [on a Middle East WMD-free zone]. Recent events however indicate a renewed interest and determination to make some progress on the issue. This is partly a result of Israel and Arab States sharing a concern about the nuclear fuel cycle developments in Iran, and looking for ways to ensure that these do not give Iran a nuclear weapons capacity. It is also a result of increasing concerns about the nuclear black market and the surprise that Libya had advanced as far as they had with a nuclear weapons program, before voluntarily abandoning it.”

Khenin also notes that “The Middle East may be a volatile and violence-prone region. But it is also a region of historical contact, communication, cohabitation, cooperation, and collaboration between differing religions and civilizations. We can draw on these historical experiences to bridge animosities and disagreements in order to reach the common goal of a Middle East more secure without WMD.”


6. Leading Italian politicians join in call for nuclear abolition

Gianfranco Fini, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

On 24 July 2008, Italy’s major daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, published an op-ed  “ Per un mondo senza armi nucleari,” (For a world without nuclear weapons) byMassimo D’Alema (former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister), Gianfranco Fini (former Foreign Minister and current President of Italian Chamber of Deputies),  Giorgio La Malfa (former Minister for European Affairs), Arturo Parisi (former Defence Minister) and Francesco Calogero (former Secretary General of Pugwash), calling for the total elimination of nuclear arms. 

They noted that “Italy and Europe can and must do what they can to promote the path towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons... the spread of a new way of thinking – of a new “shared wisdom” – is a fundamental step along this path, and Italy too must contribute. It is necessary that on these fundamental issues for the very survival of humanity, despite our legitimate - indeed necessary - political differences, we join together in recognizing a superior, common interest.”

For more information see: Leading Italian politicians join in call for nuclear abolition


7. Italian nuclear-weapon-free-zone proposal in parliament

On Thursday March 27 th, a delegation presented to the Italian Parliament 67,248 certified signatures of Italian citizens asking the Republic of Italy to be declared a Nuclear Weapon Free-Zone. The Italian Constitution specifies that bills can be presented to Parliament not only by Parliamentarians or by the ruling Government, but also by at least 50,000 citizens listed in the electoral registers.

Mayors of Aviano, Castenedolo and Ghedi signing petition for
nuclear free Italy

Lisa Clark, the coordinator of the campaign for a Nuclear Free Future in Italy declared: “If the will of the people and the law is adopted Italy could become the second European state with a Nuclear Weapon Free Constitution.” The Austrian parliament adopted law in 1999 making Austria a zone free of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy and calling on the government to promote this nuclear-free status internationally.

113 countries outside of Europe have joined regional Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the South Pacific, Central Asia, and South-East Asia. There are also proposals for NWFZs in Europe, North-East Asia and the Arctic (See PNND Notes, Section 3: Nuclear Weapon Free Zones)

For more information see: Italian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone


8. Nuclear disarmament initiatives in the UK Parliament

Former UK Foreign Secretaries on nuclear disarmament

On 16 July 2008, the Hon Margaret Beckett MP followed up her groundbreaking speech on nuclear abolition made as Foreign Secretary in 2007 with Early Day Motion (EDM) 2053 supported by members of all political parties, which “calls on the UK Government to stimulate and support further developments which enhance the prospects for non-proliferation and a fresh drive for nuclear disarmament.” The EDM referred specifically to an op-ed piece in The Times (of London) of 30 June 2008 entitled “ Start worrying and learn to ditch the bomb: It won’t be easy, but a world free of nuclear weapons is possible ,” written by former Foreign Secretaries Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Hurd of Westwell and Lord Owen, and Lord Robertson (a former NATO Secretary-General).

EDM 1959 introduced by PNND member David Chaytor, supports the op-ed piece and suggests that the call for a nuclear weapons-free world could be achieved through the UK leading negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention (a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons).

EDM 1941 introduced by Angus Robertson repeats the call for a NWC, and calls also on the UK government to reverse its decision on replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system with a new, longer-life system.                                                                        

    Removal of US nuclear weapons from the UK

On 26 June 2008 the Federation of American Scientists released a

PNND Council Member Jeremy Corbyn

report - U.S. Nuclear Weapons Withdrawn From the United Kingdom - stating that the US had quietly removed its remaining tactical weapons in the UK.

EDM 1986 introduced by PNND Council member Jeremy Corbyn on 7 August 2008, “ welcomes the news that 110 US tactical nuclear weapons have been withdrawn from Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk; notes that there are now no US nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time since 1954; further notes that this move follows the withdrawal of similar weapons from Greece in 2001, and the April 2005 resolution passed by the Belgian Senate calling for the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons in Europe; congratulates the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Lakenheath Action Group, which have tirelessly campaigned against US nuclear weapons at Lakenheath;”

    International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

On 9 July 2008 the Australian government announced the establishment of an International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament which would be chaired by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Hon. Gareth Evans AO, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.

On 25 September the membership of the commission was announced along with a statement of intent. (See Joint statement of Co-Chairs Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi and Hon Gareth Evans).

EDM 1802 introduced by Jeremy Corbyn commends Australia for the initiative and calls on the UK to actively support it.

    Global Summit for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

On 2 May 2008 Jeremy Corbyn introduced EDM 892 commending the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for its Global Summit for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World which brought together experts from the United Nations and around the world, and calling on the government to re-focus on creating the conditions for abolishing nuclear weapons .

    Nuclear Weapons Convention

On 6 November 2007 Jeremy Corbyn introduced EDM 72 which “ notes the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; … endorses the unanimous opinion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith, and bring to a conclusion, negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control; further notes the… submission of a model nuclear weapons convention by Costa Rica to the United Nations for discussion; and calls upon the Government to work to achieve progress on multilateral negotiations with the aim of achieving implementation of a nuclear weapons convention by 2020.”

    Nuclear warhead construction

On 11 March 2008, Jeremy Corbyn introduced EDM 1165 criticising plans by the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Berkshire to “ develop new facilities worth £5 billion, including state-of-the-art computers, which could support the development of new nuclear weapons without the need for a nuclear weapon test explosion, banned under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”

    Parliamentary inquiry into nuclear test veterans

On 11 August 2007, John Baron introduced EDM 156 which “notes that servicemen involved in nuclear tests have subsequently attributed cases of ill health to their exposure to radiation during and after the tests; welcomes the conclusions of a recent cross-party inquiry into nuclear test veterans chaired by the hon. Member for Billericay and the hon. Member for Norwich North; believes that the current system for hearing claims for compensation is inconsistent, unfair and in need of complete reform, and therefore calls on the Government to respond positively to the recommendations of the inquiry.”


9. PNND Notes now available in four languages

The 2008 edition PNND Notes is now available in hard-copy or online in English, Spanish, French and German. Arabic and Japanese versions will be available soon.


PNND Notes contains articles written mostly by parliamentarians on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues and initiatives. The current issue includes articles on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, nuclear energy, NATO and nuclear weapons deployments, proposed Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones, divestment from nuclear weapons corporations, a nuclear weapons convention, cluster munitions, advancing the United Nations disarmament agenda, and small arms and light weapons.

Multiple copies of the hard-copy version are available to give to other parliamentarians to inform and engage them in non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives. Contact: alyn@pnnd.org   






1. Parliamentarians and a nuclear weapons convention

2. PNND Co-Presidents' letter to the G8 Speakers' Summit

3. Inter-Parliamentary Union initiative on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament

4. Parliamentary launch of ENACT- youth peace website

5. Mediterranean Union initiative for a Middle East Zone Free of WMDs

6. Leading Italian politicians join in call for nuclear abolition

7. Italian nuclear weapon-free zone proposal in parliament

8. Nuclear disarmament actions in the UK Parliament
  - Former UK Foreign Secretaries on nuclear disarmament
Removal of US nuclear weapons from the UK
  - International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
 - Global Summit for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World
  - Nuclear Weapons Convention
  - Nuclear warhead construction

  - Parliamentary inquiry into nuclear test veterans

9. PNND Notes out now (in four languages!)