World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates calls for action to ban nuclear weapons

The 14th meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Rome from December 12 to 14 2014. The initiative attracts Nobel Peace Prize laureates, high-profile leaders and organizations from around the globe. This year's edition is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and is entitled: “Peace. Living It” At the summit, Nobel laureates called for actions in a number of key areas with the aim to transform a growing cult of violence into the building of a culture of peace. They indicated some areas of grave concern global wide which include a resurgent arms race, disrespect for international law, and the failure of the world's governments to address adequately the challenges of poverty and environmental degradation.

IPPNWi was represented at the meeting by Ira Helfand and Tilman Ruff. The final communiqué released by the meeting contained the following statement in regard to the need to ban nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Disarmament

There are over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. As the recent 3rd International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded: the impact of the use of just one is unacceptable. A mere 100 would lower the earth’s temperature by over 1 degree Celsius for at least ten years, causing massive disruption of global food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation. If we fail to prevent nuclear war, all of our other efforts to secure peace and justice will be for naught.  We need to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Meeting in Rome, we commend Pope Francis’ recent call for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”. We welcome the pledge by the Austrian government “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

 We urge all states to commence negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time, and subsequently to conclude the negotiations within two years. This will fulfil existing obligations enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be reviewed in May of 2015, and the unanimous ruling of the International Court of Justice.  Negotiations should be open to all states and blockable by none. The 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015 highlights the urgency of ending the threat of these weapons.