”This is not about action plans, programmes of work, or informal working groups. Disarmament Treaties should prevent civilian casualties, prevent humanitarian catastrophes”, Mia Gandenberger, Programme Associate for Reaching Critical Will
As every year, for International Women Day, WILPF addressed the plenary meeting of the Conference of Disarmament (CD) today.
On 11 March this year, Mia Gandenberger delivered a statement drawing the attention of the conference back to the very scope of disarmament treaties and the work of the conference: to prevent civilian casualties, to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, to prevent armed violence and escalation of armed conflicts.
WILPF made it binding!
The final text, indeed, recognized such a provision on the same footing as other criteria for refusing arms transfer, such as violation of human rights and international law. However, this is not enough and more efforts are needed to ensure that the treaty will be efficiently implemented.
Civil society turned elsewhere
Despite the embarrassing stalemate that the CD has been facing for almost the last two decades, real progress on disarmament does happen elsewhere. In the interest of achieving real results in the disarmament agenda, civil society has already turned to other international processes. For example, the Conferences of Oslo and Nayarit and the upcoming in Vienna, have created a unique momentum on nuclear weapons that will have an impact far beyond 2015 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
Finally Mia Gandenberger included a remark on the vital role of civil society for progress on multilateral negotiations. This essential engagement of all sectors of the civil society was also recognized and underline by representatives of Austria and Australia who took the floor later on.