Ghanaian support for a nuclear weapons ban grows
September 30, 2014
In August, the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, in association with ICAN, held a roundtable meeting in Accra, Ghana. The meeting brought together experts and civil society to strategize on future action, educate the general public on nuclear weapons, and to use this momentum to rouse support for a nuclear weapons ban in the government.
The meeting hosted representatives from key organisations and offices, including the Honourable Fritz Baffour, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), National Peace Council (NPC), representatives from the Chief of Defence, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), AFRICSIS, Ghana National Commission on Small Arms, and Ghana Red Cross Society, among others. There were also a number of media outlets present to report the proceedings of the roundtable.
Participants discussed the role of the humanitarian initiative in framing the debate on nuclear weapons and shedding light on the true risks of nuclear detonation. Though this is a global problem, many participants highlighted Ghana’s specific role as a regional and international actor in promoting a ban on nuclear weapons. Cephas Yaw-ka Nachim, Policy and Advocacy Officer at FOSDA, was adamant about Ghana’s opportunity for meaningful engagement as the current chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “Ghana can and should take advantage of this position to lobby other ECOWAS states to support a nuclear weapons ban”, said Nachim. Baffour, of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, stated that Ghana has been an avid supporter of other disarmament initiatives, and this legacy paves the way for Ghana’s leadership in drafting a nuclear weapons ban.
Baffour confirmed that Ghana is attending and looking forward to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, in December 2014. Looking ahead to the conference, Nachim stressed that the path to success must be paved with a collaborative approach. “Civil society participation is paramount to banning nuclear weapons; when states refuse to act on their own, civil society must make their voices heard and push the government to take action”, said Nachim. “It is vital to have an open process to eliminate nuclear weapons, and that must include civil society.”