PNND Update

Dear friends,

PNND is active in over 90 countries around the world. In this update we highlight recent PNND activities and news in Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, France, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia and the United States.

Austria: Alexander Van der Bellen wins the Presidency

On December 4, PNND alumni member Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of the Green Party (but running as an independent), won Austria’s presidential election, beating right-wing populist Norbert Hofer.

This was a re-run of the election in May which Van der Ballen won by a very narrow margin, but which was annulled due to vote-counting irregularities. In the re-run, Van der Ballen increased his winning margin by a number of percentage points.

Mr Van der Bellen has been an active member of PNND, joining initiatives such as the Joint parliamentary statement supporting a Middle East free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and co-sponsoring resolutions in the parliament to build support for international initiatives of the Austrian government.
PNND Alumni Member Alexander Van der Bellen wins the election for Austrian President

Chile: Chamber of Deputies Hosts PNND Event

On 30 November, Deputy Marcos Espinosa (PRSD) the First-Vice President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies, and Deputy Denise Pascal Allende (PS), co-hosted a PNND event in the Chilean Parliament to inform parliamentarians about nuclear disarmament issues and parliamentary initiatives.

Allende believes that the event held at the Chilean Chamber comes at a crucial moment, as tensions between nuclear-armed States increases and nuclear war becomes a frightening possibility once again.

Nearly all the parliamentarians participating in the event in the Chilean Parliament accepted the invitation to join PNND and become more active in nuclear disarmament. 'This demonstrates that Chilean parliamentarians have rejected the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons as an option to address international conflicts,' said Deputy Marcos Espinosa.

Czech Republic: 6th Prague Agenda Conference

On Dec 1-2, the 6th Prague Agenda Conference was held in Czernin Palace, Prague, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and co-sponsored by the Prague Institute of International Relations, Charles University, Metropolitan University, PNND and PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security.

The conferences have focused on follow-up to President Obama's 2009 speech in Prague where he put forward the vision and commitment to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world. This 6th Prague Agenda Conference took place just after the elections in the United States, and included consideration of the possibilities for nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament with the new US Administration.

On the final day of the conference, PNND organised a field trip to the ATOM Museum, a former Soviet nuclear weapon base.
Prague Agenda Conference participants visit the ATOM Museum, a former Soviet nuclear weapons base in the Czech Republic.

France - Political pressure for and against a nuclear ban treaty

PNND France and Observatoire des armements publish a monthly newsletter for PNND Franco-phone members and supporters.

The December 2016 newsletter highlights parliamentary actions in Australia, Belgium, the European Parliament, France and the Netherlands in support of the United Nations resolution (L.41) to initiate negotiations on a nuclear prohibition treaty. The newsletter reports on pressure by the French government on parliamentarians and Franco-phone governments to oppose the UN resolution.

And the newsletter includes an article written by Annick Suzor-Weiner and Jacques Bordé, President and Vice-President of the Pugwash France. Pugwash, a Nobel Peace Laureate organisation, will commemorate its 60th anniversary in 2017 with a major international conference in Kazakhstan.

Jordan - Nuclear disarmament book released

Muna Makhamreh, PNND Coordinator for Arab Countries, has published a book in Arabic chronicling the legacy of Soviet nuclear tests in Kazakhstan, and highlighting the initiatives of Kazakhstan for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The book was launched in Amman, Jordan on December 15, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.
Muna signs a copy of her book to give to the Kazakhstan Ambassador to Jordan

Kazakhstan - 25 years of nuclear disarmament leadership

Alyn Ware (PNND Global Coordinator) and Marzhan Nurzhan (PNND Coordinator for CIS Countries - Commonwealth of Independent States) visited Astana from December 12-16 to participate in commemorations of the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan independence.

Kazakh President Nazarbayev used the occasion to highlight the legacy of nuclear tests, the importance of nuclear disarmament and the actions being taken by Kazakhstan in this regard.

Alyn and Marzhan met with parliamentary leaders and foreign ministry officials to discuss follow-up of the Astana Vision Declaration, including through the United Nations. Kazakhstan will take-up a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council in January 2017, and has announced that nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament will be one of their priority issues on the Council.
PNND Global Coordinator Alyn Ware meets with President of the Kazakhstan Senate Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to discuss implementation of the Astana Vision Declaration: From a Radio-active Haze to a Nuclear Weapon Free World.

Norway: PNND section meets to plan for 2017

The PNND Norway Section, chaired by Torstein Tvedt Solberg, met in the Norwegian Parliament on December 7 to plan activities for 2017. Representatives from the Labour, Green and Conservative parties participated.

Key points discussed were Norway's possible participation in the prohibition treaty negotiations (even though they voted against), follow-up to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly support for nuclear-risk reduction and no-first-use, gathering additional endorsers for 'A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good' prior to its presentation to the new UN Secretary-General, input into the draft Global Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free World and preparations for the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.

Russia - CIS Parliamentary Assembly considers nuclear weapons and the law

Marzhan Nurzhan, PNND Coordinator for CIS Countries, was invited as an expert speaker to a conference in St Petersburg on Use of Weapons in Modern Conflicts: Humanitarian Aspects.

The conference, co-hosted by the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), included a focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use, and the illegality of such use under international humanitarian law. 

Ms Nurzhan, in her address to the conference, highlighted the role of parliamentarians to reduce the risks of nuclear-weapons-use, to build support for nuclear disarmament and to encourage governments to replace the reliance on nuclear deterrence with common security approaches to international conflicts.
Uta Zapf, PNND Special Representative for Inter-Parliamentary Organisations, chairs the panel on The Role of Parliamentarians and Civil Society. Speakers include Anna Crowe (Harvard Law School), Jelena Vićentić (International Campaign to Ban Landmines), Lyudmila Kozlova (Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation), and Marzhan Nurzhan (PNND Program Officer, CIS countries).

United States: Restraint on the President-elect

PNND Co-President Edward J. Markey recently introduced the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016” into the U.S. Senate. The legislation would prohibit the U.S. President from launching a nuclear first strike without specific authorization of the U.S. Congress. 

Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation,” says Senator Markey.

United States: Bi-partisan support for NATO and nonproliferation

On December 14, PNND Co-President Senator Markey and Republican Senator Mario Rubio sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump calling on him to support the United States alliances, including NATO and the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, and long-standing nuclear nonproliferation policies.

The senators, who are members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, reminded Trump that 'By strengthening assurances of military protections to allies such as Japan and South Korea, the United States reduces incentives for allied nations to launch nuclear weapons programs of their own.' 


United States: Honouring astronaut John Glenn

In a Dec 8 press release, Senator Markey paid tribute to astronaut and former Senator John Glenn who passed away on that day. Senator Glenn was the author of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act which has made a vital contribution to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

'John Glenn helped lift America’s gaze upwards to the constellation of possibilities – in space, in the halls of Congress, and in public life,' said Senator Markey. 'From exploring the reaches of space, to working in the Senate for a nuclear weapons-free world, John Glenn was a hero for the entire planet.'

PNND takes this opportunity to extend best wishes for the season, and reminds you to inform us of your actions and initiatives for nuclear risk-reduction, nonproliferation and disarmament.

Yours sincerely

Alyn Ware
Alyn Ware
PNND Global Coordinator
On behalf of the PNND Coordinating Team

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) is a global network of legislators working on a range of initiatives to prevent nuclear proliferation and to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.

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