The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) regards the upcoming nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, held 3-28 May 2010 in New York, as an opportunity for states to make concrete and substantive progress on nuclear disarmament.
In order to reach progress, traditional concepts of security need to shift. During recent years, it has extensively been recognized that gendered attitudes and ideologies continue to influence disarmament strategies and outcomes. In their report (2006), the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) conclude that “armament policies and the use of armed force have often been influenced by misguided ideas about masculinity and strength. An understanding of and emancipation from this traditional perspective might help to remove some of the hurdles on the road to disarmament and non-proliferation.” WILPF encourages all states to move away from this traditional approach, and to stress disarmament, cooperation, and non-violent conflict resolution in the interests of human security.
Nuclear weapons do not increase our security. While political and military elites continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining an “effective nuclear deterrent” in order to protect “national security”, we believe that nuclear deterrence is irrelevant to the perceived threats facing the world today—such as climate change, food, water, and energy shortages, terrorism and increasing global economic disparity. Nuclear weapons cannot respond and tackle these converging crises, as their development, deployment, and proliferation increases global tensions, disparities, polarizations, and environmental degradation and squanders the economic, political, and human resources that could otherwise be used to confront and solve these crises. In fact, the only thing that nuclear weapons seem to deter is disarmament.
WILPF also recognizes that military expenditure continue to divert financial resources from investments in peace; in 2008, global military expenditure reached 1464 000 000 000 USD. Meanwhile, one year’s military spending would finance 24 years of the additional foreign aid required to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. According to the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, it is vital to “explore new ways of generating new public and private financial resources, inter alia, through the appropriate reduction of excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures, trade in arms and investment for arms production and acquisition, taking into consideration national security requirements, so as to permit the possible allocation of additional funds for social and economic development, in particular for the advancement of women.” Hence, financial resources need to be invested i! n human security, not in nuclear weapons or any other category of weapons.
WILPF calls on all states possessing nuclear arsenals to halt nuclear weapon research, development, testing, and component production. Arms control and disarmament measures undertaken by nuclear-armed states must not include conditions that are paradoxical to disarmament. In order to save our planet from the direct and indirect consequences of nuclear weapons, WILPF encourages all governments at the NPT Review Conference to work towards negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which would prohibit the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. WILPF also calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons to be grounded in a broader movement toward political, economic, and social justice and gender equity in which the majority of the world’s people are empowered to live a healthy, dignified, and productive life.
Kerstin Grebäck and Annelise Ebbe,
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom