Are you coming to Vienna?

July 21, 2014

Here at ICAN, we are getting excited about the ICAN Civil Society Forum, which will take place in Vienna, December 6-7, 2014. In this interview Nadja Schmidt, Coordinator of ICAN Austria, shares her hopes and expectations with us and explains why we should all be in Vienna. If you want to know more about the event check the and register to be informed when registration opens.

On December 6-7, 2014 ICAN is planning its second ‘ Civil Society Forum’ in Vienna. What will be the theme and the focus of this event? 

The ICAN Civil Society Forum will revolve around the theme, “The Courage to Ban Nuclear Weapons”. Over the course of the two days in Vienna, we aim to create an experience for participants – whether they be experienced campaigners, experts, academics or newcomers to the field – that is both educational and illuminating, but above all, inspirational.

What do you hope or expect will come out of the civil society forum in Vienna?

Together, and on behalf of the organisations and institutions we represent from all around the world, we will make a strong statement of unity against the continued possession of nuclear weapons and that the time for negotiations on a new legal instrument prohibiting these weapons has come.  Our expectation is to create an impact at the international conference taking place immediately after the Civil Society Forum and influence states towards a ban. We are asking governments to be brave and do the right thing. Civil society is ready to support those who will have the courage to begin negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. We have the power to create the conditions for political breakthroughs. Now it is time to ban nuclear weapons and Vienna will be a defining moment!

What are your expectations with regards to the third international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons hosted by Austria on 8 – 9 December 2014?

Since the Oslo conference in 2013, we have heard more and more states add their voices to the condemnation of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. At the same time, states representing all global regions are starting to speak openly about the impact that a treaty banning nuclear weapons would have on the prospects for nuclear disarmament. The growing support for such a new legal instrument was recognised by the chair of the Nayarit conference in Mexico when he declared that the time had come for states to kick off negotiations. At the Vienna conference in December we will encourage and expect a vocal majority of states to coalesce around a ban treaty and commit to a timeline as bold as the one suggested in the summary document of the Nayarit conference. It’s fair to say that civil society is getting impatient!

Why should campaigners register?

Campaigners from all around the world should come to Vienna to show the scope and the diversity of the campaign. We want the governments participating at the state conference to feel the pressure of the different constituencies represented in the campaign. We need the power, ideas and commitment of our campaigners to inspire governments in Vienna and to make sure this message reaches capitals. We need to show the world that a ban is possible, urgent and a strong and diverse civil society campaign is fully behind it.


  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate