A year ago today, on 7 July 2017, the UN treaty to ban all nuclear weapons was adopted.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) had been working on this treaty for years. PAX plays a leading role in ICAN. It was in large part ICAN’s work on getting the nuclear weapons ban treaty adopted that led to its being granted the Nobel Peace Prize later in the year. The treaty has yet to go into force (50 countries must ratify it first), but it is already having profound effects.
- Investors are changing their policy on nuclear weapons
Influential financial institutions such as the Dutch pension fund ABP (the fifth largest pension fund in the world), the Belgian bank KBC, and the Deutsche Bank point to the ban treaty as the reason they have changed their policies toward investing in the nuclear weapons sector.
- Fifty-nine countries have already signed the treaty (ten have ratified it). This pace of signings is faster than any of the earlier treaties banning weapons of mass destruction.
- The vast majority of the populations of four NATO member countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands) want their government to sign the treaty and get the American nuclear weapons stationed in their country out. This is the result of an independent poll ICAN commissioned by YouGov.
- For the first time, the pope publicly condemned the possession of nuclear weapons. In November 2017, Pope Francis said, “If we… take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.”
- The effects nuclear weapons have on civilians is back on the agenda. For instance, last week victims still dealing with the effects of being exposed to nuclear weapons tests testified in the US Senate last week.
Also check out the visual story about the nuclear ban treaty (in Dutch).