Regional roundtable in Lagos concludes: A ban is urgent
December 5, 2013
On the 13 – 14 November 2013, ICAN partner organisations Churches in Action for Peace and Development (CAPAD), the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Nigeria (WILPF-Nigeria) and the IANSA Women Network – Nigeria, in collaboration with the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) and ICAN, held a West African regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons. There was a positive turnout with participants including academics, activists from civil society and government representatives from Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo. The purpose was to share experiences and ideas, establish a basis of cooperation and establish a regional agenda on how to bring forward discussions on the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
The sessions were split over the course of two days, with the first spent sharing initial views and covering the state of play in the field of nuclear weapons disarmament, and the second dealing with how to improve cooperation in the region and what actions can be taken in the immediate future. There was a shared sentiment that traditional forums on this issue are either gridlocked or not showing the requisite progress that the urgency of the threat demands. It was agreed that recent efforts to reframe the nuclear weapons issue in terms of their humanitarian consequences has been a positive development which has gained traction in West Africa, and some participants discussed that the negotiation of a ban would be a welcome development as the next step for the initiative.
Challenges still remain in attracting a wider audience and making the nuclear weapons issue seem relevant today, with an obstacle being the convoluted and inaccessible language that acts as a barrier to entry into nuclear weapons discussion. Further public engagement and media outreach based the global nature of the humanitarian impact will be important going forward.
With the Mexico conference rapidly approaching there was a sense of enthusiasm that we are on the precipice of a process which will ban nuclear weapons outright and make a decisive step forward towards elimination.
Read ILPI’s report here.