Reading Room

Tri-Valley CAREs at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

Tri-Valley CAREs' Executive Director Marylia Kelley and long-time member Joanne Dean-Freemire spent the early part of May 2010 at the UN in New York City, participating on our members' behalf at the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference (held every 5 years). The NPT remains the "cornerstone" of international disarmament and nonproliferation efforts, and, the 2010 conference was especially important following the widely acknowledged failure to achieve progress towards disarmament goals at the 2005 review.

In the days before the 2010 review conference opened, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world gathered for their own conference to share information, strategize, and come up with NGO goals for the pending review, the larger NPT framework, and the future of citizen action to achieve global nuclear disarmament. Highlights of the NGO conference included amazing plenary sessions and workshops with NGO experts and a keynote address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On May 1, Marylia Kelley presented at the NGO conference at a panel on "Modernization of Nuclear Weapons Complexes." Marylia and Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico addressed the contradiction between the Obama Administration's stated nuclear disarmament goals and its planned build up of the U.S. nuclear weapons budget and weapons production complex. They were joined by French physicist and disarmament activist Dominique Lalanne, who outlined the steps France is taking to modernize its weapons complex and arsenal.

On Sunday, May 2, the NGO conference was followed by a spirited rally of ten thousand to twenty-five thousand participants from the U.S. and around the world, including several thousand from Japan. All were united by the theme, "For a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World." Joanne and Marylia proudly marched with a small Tri-Valley CAREs banner to represent all of our members and supporters.

Tri-Valley CAREs has NGO accreditation at the UN, and, so, bright and early Monday morning, May 3, Joanne and Marylia received their badges and began their efforts to observe the NPT proceedings, speak with various nations' delegations, and ultimately, influence the review conference to ensure progress toward disarmament.

It was a whirlwind first week at the review conference. Each morning, Marylia participated in an NGO roundtable, hosted by Abolition 2000, an international network formed by Tri-Valley CAREs and numerous colleague groups at the NPT review and extension conference in 1995. The roundtables focused on NPT Article 6 disarmament obligations, the problematic Article 4 (stating an "inalienable right" to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes), getting U.S. nuclear weapons out of Europe, negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Convention with a time-bound framework for eliminating nuclear arsenals (missing from Article 6) - and more.

Following the early morning roundtables, our friends at the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Reaching Critical Will project, organized 9 AM sessions with diplomats, including from Ireland, Egypt, and the U.S. These hour-long sessions provided for an exceptional level of dialogue between Ambassadors and key staff and the NGO community.

Additionally, each day, Marylia and Joanne attended NPT review conference proceedings on the floor of the UN, participated in sessions set up by various countries to proclaim their recent activities to comply with the NPT (including by Russia and the U.S.), and met one-on-one with states parties to the NPT.

In numerous venues, your Tri-Valley CAREs team addressed the incompatibility of revitalizing the U.S. infrastructure to produce new and modified nuclear weapons and NPT compliance. Many countries' Ambassadors and diplomats were aware of (and concerned by) this situation. The non-aligned movement countries addressed the issue directly, while others said they would follow up and discuss this incompatibility with the U.S. in other venues.

And, the thousand-plus disarmament petitions gathered by Tri-Valley CAREs members and friends were put with those from around the world and delivered at the UN. The result was an astonishing 12 million gathered worldwide.

The NPT review conference culminated with a �Final Consensus Document� that, in our view, demonstrated the influence of the NGO community on the process. However, the document also displays the tensions brought by various states parties to the Treaty (including but not limited to the U.S.) that hinder disarmament goals. Given that the 2005 NPT review conference broke down and did not result in any consensus document, this 2010 document is a positive sign. However, whether it will result in concrete action toward nuclear disarmament remains a challenge.

In conclusion, there is much work still to be done. Your team at Tri-Valley CAREs is committed to conducting follow up activities, and to achieving the overarching goal of a nuclear weapons free world for our generation (yes, we can) and all generations to come.

Watch for more on the NPT review conference in our upcoming summer 2010 newsletter. And, please check out the links below.

For more on the NPT review conference:

Click here to read a guide to the NPT review conference with useful background on the NPT

Click here to read the NGO roundtable Statement on Article 6 of the NPT

Click here to read the NGO roundtable Statement on Nuclear Power and the NPT

Click here to read the Final Consensus Document of the States Parties to the Treaty

For more on the NGO conference and rally that preceded the review conference:

Click here to read Ban Ki-moon's Address to the NGO conference

Click here for more on the NGO conference

Click here for a news article on the rally by the Japanese press