Montego Bay roundtable demonstrates regional support for nuclear weapons ban
September 12, 2014
This article was adapted from this article by ILPI. The full article can be found here.
On 20–21 August 2014, a regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons was held in in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The roundtable was organized by the Nuclear Weapons Project of the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), in coordination with the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences at the University of the West Indies (ICENS-UWI), the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in New York.
The roundtable was attended by government representatives, civil society, and academics from 14 countries. Before official discussions began, participants were briefed on the latest developments in the NPT, nuclear weapon free zones (NWFZs), and the movement towards a nuclear weapons ban.
Discussions focused on opportunities for Caribbean states to become more involved in nuclear disarmament processes and take a lead in presenting a progressive, united position to the international community. In order to fully develop this strong position, attendees determined that governments and the general public should be exposed to more information about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament prioritised in domestic discourse. Participants also discussed partnering with other regional organisations in Africa and Asia to unify positions and build momentum for a nuclear weapons ban.
Attendees also discussed the upcoming Vienna Conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and considered the conference as an opportunity for Caribbean states to take a progressive stance on nuclear weapons disarmament. The majority of attendees expressed support for a ban treaty as a first step to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, an indication that Caribbean states might play a lead in this process. “Caribbean states have played a vital role in past efforts to ban weapons whose effects are considered to be unacceptable under our understanding of humanitarian principles”, said Daniel Högsta, Campaign and Communications Officer at ICAN. “By bringing that experience and know-how of how successful disarmament processes work to the nuclear weapons field, they can make a great impact in supporting the humanitarian initiative and the goal of achieving a treaty banning nuclear weapons.”