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ICAN and ICAN France co-host ICAN Campaign Forum – Paris 2020

On February 14 and 15, 2020, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons will be hosting an ICAN Campaign Forum in Paris, France. Organised by ICAN and ICAN France, the ICAN Campaign Forum – Paris 2020 will bring together students and ICAN campaigners from around the world to extract lessons from the ICAN’s work in achieving and promoting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons, and empower participants to get involved in ending nuclear weapons, or take on other challenges facing the world today.

With this Forum, ICAN hopes to further empower the next generation of campaigners to take meaningful action at a local, national and global level on issues that are relevant to them. In recent months, the world has seen the incredible successes of movements led by young people such as the massive climate protests seen around the world as part of Fridays for Future. With the ICAN Campaign Forum – Paris 2020, ICAN hopes to share its own experiences in this field and invite and empower new faces to join the fight to end nuclear weapons.

ICAN and ICAN France are finalising agenda and program, but those who are interested in receiving an invitation to register can do so here.

Sign up to be notified when registration opens

Photo: Chris Karidis | Unsplash

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One year on: 5 things you can do to support the Nuclear Ban Treaty

This weekend marked an important day for our movement: the Nuclear Ban Treaty’s first birthday! One year ago, on July 7th, 2017 the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Image: Happy birthday Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Can't believe how fast you're growing. Love, ICAN

Visit www.nuclearban.org to see the celebrations and take action →

What a year!

The day after the Nuclear Ban Treaty was adopted, campaigners went straight back to work to ensure that 50 countries join – that is, sign and ratify – the treaty as soon as possible, so that it enters into force. To date, 59 countries have signed the treaty and last Thursday, Costa Rica’s ratification brought the number of States Party to the Treaty to 11!

In December, the campaign had another reason to celebrate: ICAN had the incredible honour of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for our work to achieve this treaty. This has not only helped raise the profile of the campaign, opening doors and new opportunities for conversation, but has also allowed us to set up the 1000 Day Fund to support initiatives that push towards the entry into force of the Treaty. But the loudest endorsement the treaty doesn’t come from the UN, or parliamentarians, or even the Nobel Committee. It comes from hopeful, determined people all around the world. New polls released this week show that a vast majority of Italian, German, Belgian, Dutch and French citizens, want their governments to join the Nuclear Ban Treaty.

So one year on, we are well on track, but there is still work to be done. And everybody can help!

Five things you can do to support the Nuclear Ban Treaty

  1. Join the movement: To stop nuclear weapons, we need everyone: doctors, unions, diplomats, activists, moms, dads, students, friends… and you! Sign up to receive updates on the treaty and ways to take action
  2.  The way we talk about nuclear weapons must reflect their real, unacceptable impact on human beings. So listen to the stories of the survivors of nuclear weapons use and testing and share them far and wide. 
  3. Pressure your elected officials to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, encourage them to take the Parliamentary Pledge
  4. Every time someone speaks up against nuclear weapons and says: “I believe nuclear weapons are inhumane, immoral and illegal. All countries should join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” it chips away at their legitimacy. So say it, loud and often. And if you’re in a country that endorses nuclear weapons, demand change!
  5. Stop investments in nuclear weapons. Under the Nuclear Ban Treaty it will not only be illegal to produce nuclear weapons, it will also be illegal to bankroll them. Many banks are already getting ahead of the curve by pulling out of investing in companies that engage in nuclear weapons activities.  Tell your bank: #DontBankontheBomb
What's next: We have the nuclear Ban Treaty, here's who we're going to achieve it's purpose

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1000 Day Fund: Four new projects launched!

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year, ICAN allocated part of the prize money to kickstart a fund to support initiatives that push towards the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Since its launch, the 1000 Day Fund has been supported by generous donations from all across the world and today, we are proud to announce four new projects in collaboration with ICAN-partners from Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific Region.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force when 50 countries join the treaty, and we are well on our way, with Vietnam and Austria among the most recent States Party to the treaty. And it’s been incredibly rewarding to see the 1000-Day Fund book clear results in this direction: just two weeks ago, a small contribution to ICAN Switzerland translated into the First Chamber of Swiss Parliament voting in favour of signing and ratifying the Treaty. Together with our partner organisations, we will work hard with to make these next four projects equally successful!

Contribute to 1000 Day Fund

With a presence in 27 nations, the African Council of Religious Leaders / Religions for Peace are perfectly positioned to promote the treaty across Africa. Campaigners highlight the trans-boundary impacts of nuclear weapons and the need for all nations to work for disarmament. Amongst other things, the 1000 Day Fund Project will enable the ACRL/RfP to bring together different stakeholders in the region, such as parliamentarians, campaigners and national Red Cross societies.

Members of the Latin American Human Security Network (SEHLAC) are taking each opportunity to engage with decision-makers and bring the entire region on board the treaty. SEHLAC representative Pía Devoto gives a very current example: “In Latin America, these two months revolve entirely around the Football World Cup, but that doesn’t mean our work must grind to a halt. Quite the contrary: As part of our 1000 Day Fund Project, we are exploring how to increase visibility of the Treaty, and the daily buzz around the world cup on social media provides us with countless opportunities to engage parliamentarians throughout the region. Appealing to their sense of fair play and their love of a win could help score a #Goal for the #Nuclearban”

Education also play a crucial role in promoting the Nuclear Ban Treaty. Our collaborations with the Institute of International Studies in Indonesia and the Center for Peace Education in the Philippines as part of this fund, will help campaigners scale up their current efforts to raise support for the Treaty in the Asia-Pacific.
ICAN Campaigners from Latin America and Asia Pacific

Contribute to 1000 Day Fund

Each new signature, each new ratification is a small but important step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and we are proud, excited and grateful that through this fund,  ICAN can support the movement that will make it happen!

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Reach out to your national trade union confederation!

In May 2014 all the national affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) adopted a resolution calling for “urgent negotiations on a treaty banning the use, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of nuclear weapons as a first step towards their complete elimination” at their 3rd World Congress in Berlin.

On 8-9 December 2014, Austria will host the third international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna. As pointed out in this aide mémoire recently sent out by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all UN mission in New York and Geneva, the Vienna Conference is framed as a continuation of the discussion on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, started in Oslo and continued in Nayarit. This approach has now doubt been successful in changing the conversation about nuclear weapons and opened space for greater engagement from states, international organisations, and civil society.

The fact that all the world’s trade union confederations are expressing concern at the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and have put their weight behind the call for a treaty banning nuclear weapons is an extremely encouraging development for anyone working for this objective. It also provides ICAN campaigners with a unique outreach opportunity. In many countries, national trade union confederations are an important political player. However, these organisations also have many other important priorities, so it is important to get in touch with as many trade union confederations as possible to exchange information about activities and ask how they intend to follow up on the resolution.

[show_hide title=”ICAN action points for outreach to trade union confederations”]

  1. Read the resolution adopted by the International Trade Union Confederation (click here to download).
  2. Write an e-mail to your national trade union confederation (click here to download a template letter to your national trade union confederation, and here for a directory of all ITUC affiliates). Ask, if you don’t know already, for the names and contact details of the individual(s) participating in the 3rd World Congress in Berlin.
  3. Set a meeting with the individual(s) that participated in the World Congress to discuss points of cooperation in the run-up to and beyond the Vienna Conference.

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Should you have any questions about how to proceed or how to use these resources, please contact ICAN Campaign and Advocacy Director Magnus Løvold at lovold@icanw.org.

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Organise a nuclear ban round table!

Organising a round table is one of the best ways to raise awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian harm caused by nuclear weapons and garner support for a new ban treaty. Few activities are as effective as an interactive face-to-face discussion in which the participants are given an opportunity to state their views and express their concerns. Although it takes some time to prepare, it is well worth the effort, and by following the steps outlined in ICAN’s new round table guide (see below or download here), you might find it to be a pretty enjoyable process.

  1. Working document: To make it as easy as possible for you to organise your round table meeting, we have developed an organiser’s excel working document that allows you to gather all the information you need in one place (click here to download the working document).
  2. Date, time and venue: As you can see from the working document, the first thing to do is to decide on a date and a time for the round table. We recommend you to give yourself at least one month to prepare the meeting, as this will increase the likelihood of a good turnout. The second step would be to find a venue for 15 – 25 people. If you have a budget, most hotels would be able to offer you a conference room. Alternatively, you can ask an organisation whether they have a conference room you can use.
  3. Participation: The single most important factor determining whether your round table will be a comes down to who you decide to invite to the meeting. A good place to start is to contact your national Red Cross society and other humanitarian organisations in your country. Some organisations, especially peace and disarmament organisations, may already be working on nuclear weapons, but remember that this should not be a requirement for participation. Parliamentarians, academics and experts on humanitarian preparedness and international relations might give valuable contributions to the discussion. Depending on how confident you feel about the event, you should consider inviting civil servants from your Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), as these are the ones you eventually will need to convince. If your government participated in the Oslo conference, their participant list would be a good place to start (click here). If they didn’t, invite someone working on humanitarian or disarmament affairs in the MFA.
  4. Programme: A round table meeting is supposed to be an open and interactive discussion, so there is no need for an elaborate programme. However, it is helpful to develop a minimal programme identifying the topics or questions you would like to address and to ask a few of the participants to give short introductions to each of the topics. This is usually a good way to get the conversation started and to lower the threshold for participation in the discussion (click here to download a programme example).
  5. Producing invitations: If you have identified 15-25 participants to your round table and finalised a programme, now is the time to start producing and sending out invitation letters. To make it easier for you, we have produced a template invitation letter that you can translate, adapt and use to produce your invitations (click here to download the letter). If you know how to use Mail Merge or another similar programme, producing your invitation letters should only take a few minutes if you have filled out all the fields in the excel working document. If you don’t know how to use Mail Merge, you can either produce your invitations manually or send your working document and your translated invitation letter to ICAN Network Coordinator Magnus Løvold (lovold@icanw.org), and he will do it for you.
  6. Sending invitations: As soon as you have your invitation letters, send an e-mail to each of the participants and attach their personalised invitation letter and the programme. We have produced a template e-mail text that you can translate, adapt and use for your e-mails (click here to download the text). The e-mail text includes links to a number of background documents to help participants prepare for the meeting. Again, if you know how to use Mail Merge or another similar programme, producing your e-mails should only take a few minutes if you have filled out all the fields in the excel working document. If you don’t know how to use Mail Merge, you can either send out your invitations manually or send your working document and your translated e-mail text to ICAN Network Coordinator Magnus Løvold (lovold@icanw.org).
  7. Discussion prep: To prepare for the discussion, it is important that you are yourself familiar with the background documents that you have sent out to your participants. So take a couple of hours to study the papers. It is also usually a good idea to liaise with the participants you have asked to give introductions (see step 4), to make sure that they feel comfortable with what they are going to say. Try to think about what the different participants are likely to say during the meeting, and think about how to respond and which questions to ask in order to bring the discussion forward in a good direction.
  8. Setting up the room: To provide for a good and interactive discussion, organise the chairs and the tables in the room in a circle or a square. Research shows that organising the room in a way that puts everyone at the same level greatly increases engagement among participants. Put hard copies of the background material, the agenda, an ICAN partnership form (click here) and a name plate on each participant’s place (click here to download a template name plate). If you are not able to print the background documents yourself, send an e-mail to ICAN Network Coordinator Magnus Løvold (lovold@icanw.org) and he will send it to you.
  9.  The meeting: When all the participants are gathered around the table, it’s time to start discussing. Since you are the organiser, it is expected that you or someone from your organisation facilitate the meeting. The facilitator is expected lead the discussion, introduce and close the meeting, and make sure that everyone who indicates that they would like to speak is given the opportunity to speak. If you are a participant, try to lead the discussion in a good direction, and let people know how they can get involved. In general, the more people talk, the better the outcome, so it is better to ask questions instead of providing lengthy responses. Click here to download a set of ICAN talking points on the humanitarian initiative and a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  10. Report and follow-up: A few weeks after the meeting, send a brief report summarising the main points and arguments raised during the discussion to the participants and remind people of eventual follow-up actions you discussed during the meeting. Remember also to send a brief report from the meeting to the ICAN campaign list (ican-campaigners@googlegroups.com).

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Reach out to the Red Cross/Crescent!

In November 2013 the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted a four-year action plan towards the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons at their Council of Delegates meeting in Sydney, Australia. The action plan follows up on a historic resolution adopted by the Movement in 2011, in which it appealed “to all states […] to pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement, based on existing commitments and international obligations”.

On 8-9 December 2014, Austria will host the third international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna. As pointed out in this aide mémoire recently sent out by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all UN mission in New York and Geneva, the Vienna Conference is framed as a continuation of the discussion on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, started in Oslo and continued in Nayarit. This approach has now doubt been successful in changing the conversation about nuclear weapons and opened space for greater engagement from states, international organisations, and civil society. Following the example of the two previous conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the Vienna Conference will be open to all interested parties, including the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Time and again, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has proved to be an extremely powerful force in humanitarian advocacy. The fact that they are now putting their full weight behind the call for a nuclear ban is a big step forward for anyone working for a ban on nuclear weapons, and a great opportunity for ICAN to catalyse our governments into action.

[show_hide title=”Key points from the 2013 action plan”]

  • All Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies should engage with governments to encourage their active participation in current fora addressing the threat of nuclear weapons
  • All Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies should convey the Movement’s concerns and position on nuclear weapons
  • All Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies should urge their governments to take concrete steps leading to the negotiation of a legally binding international agreement to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons – based on existing commitments and international obligations – and to conclude such negotiations with urgency and determination

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This provides ICAN campaigners with a unique outreach opportunity. In many countries, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies have very good access to government officials, and better organisational capacity than most civil society organisations. However, these societies also have many other important priorities, so it is important to get in touch with all national Red Cross/Crescent societies to exchange information about activities and ask how they intend to follow up on the action plan adopted in Sydney and what the

[show_hide title=”ICAN action points for Red Cross/Crescent outreach”]

  1. Read the action plan adopted by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (click here to download).
  2. Write an e-mail to your national Red Cross/Crescent society (click here to download a template letter to your national Red Cross/Crescent society, and here for a directory of all Red Cross/Crescent societies). Ask, if you don’t know already, for the names and contact details of the individual(s) participating in the Council of Delegates meeting in Sydney.
  3. Set a meeting with the individual(s) that participated in the Council of Delegates meeting to discuss how to best follow up on the 2013 action plan adopted by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the run-up to the Vienna Conference.

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Should you have any questions about how to proceed or how to use these resources, please contact ICAN Campaign and Advocacy Director Magnus Løvold at lovold@icanw.org.

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Hold a Bombs No More action

Aim: to use art to engage members of the public in discussions about how to achieve a nuclear weapons ban

Bombs No More is an ICAN action that is capturing the imagination of people of all ages. This citizen disarmament initiative provides people with the opportunity to transform a nuclear bomb image into something peaceful. We hope to collect thousands of “disarmed bombs” from across the world to show government leaders that there’s strong public support for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Download blank bomb image →

View Bombs No More illustrations →

 

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Promote nuclear divestment

Aim: to persuade your bank, pension fund or insurance company to divest from nuclear weapons producers

ICAN has identified more than 300 banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers in 30 countries with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers. Our study Don’t Bank on the Bomb provides details of financial transactions with 20 companies that are heavily involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernization of US, British, French and Indian nuclear forces.

We are appealing to financial institutions to stop investing in the nuclear arms industry, as any use of nuclear weapons would violate international law and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. By investing in nuclear weapons producers, financial institutions are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear forces. This undermines efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world and heightens the risk that one day these ultimate weapons of mass destruction will be used again.

Our report provides the basis for coordinated campaigning to discourage financial institutions from investing in nuclear weapons companies. Taking action can involve meeting with bank representatives, organizing protests outside their headquarters or branches, raising public awareness, finding allies and promoting boycotts.

Visit the Don’t Bank on the Bomb website →

 

Writing to financial institutions

Engaging in dialogues with financial institutions about their investments in nuclear weapons companies can help to raise their understanding of the effects of nuclear weapons and their status under international law. Here are some tips for letter-writing:

  • How to begin: Let the financial institution know who you are. Do you hold a bank account with them? Are you a member of their superannuation plan? Do you own shares in their company? Are you writing as a representative of a particular organization? Are you simply a concerned citizen?
  • What to include: Inform the financial institution that you are aware of their investments in nuclear weapons companies. Specify which companies and briefly describe the activities these companies are engaged in. Outline why you believe that financing nuclear weapons is illegitimate.
  • Ask for information: Inquire as to whether the financial institution has a policy on investing in the arms industry. If you are already aware that such a policy exists, ask the institution to explain how its investments in nuclear weapons companies can be justified under the terms of the policy.
  • Call for action: Call on the financial institution to divest from all nuclear weapons companies. Explain that nuclear weapons are illegal to use and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. End by making it clear that you expect a response.

 

Sample letter

Dear Chief Executive Officer,

I am writing to you as a concerned customer of your bank. I recently read a report indicating that your bank has provided capital loans to three companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons. Those companies are:

  • Alliant Techsystems, which produces rocket propulsion systems for Trident II and Minuteman III nuclear missiles;
  • Honeywell International, which produces 85 per cent of the non-nuclear components for US nuclear weapons;
  • BAE Systems, which is involved in the British and French nuclear weapons programmes.

The financing of these companies contributes to the build-up and modernization of nuclear arms and undermines efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament. It also heightens the risk that one day these inhumane weapons will be used again.

Any use of nuclear weapons would violate fundamental rules of international law and have catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences. I strongly encourage you to divest from these companies without delay.

The support of your bank and other financial institutions will be crucial to the success of worldwide efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. I hope that you will assist rather than impede efforts to eliminate this ultimate threat to our future.

I want my savings to help secure my future and that of my family, not undermine it. Unless you can reassure me that you will no longer invest in nuclear weapons producers, I intend to move my funds elsewhere.

I look forward to your response to these concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Concerned Customer

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Engage your local mayor

Aim: to persuade your local mayor and other council officials to join in efforts to achieve a global ban on nuclear weapons

ICAN works in partnership with Mayors for Peace, a global network of more than 5,000 local governments in 150 countries working to create a more peaceful world free from the threat of nuclear weapons. Led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it aims to galvanize support from local communities for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020.

The Mayors for Peace network is a highly respected voice in the worldwide movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. It operates on the principle that no town or city should ever be the target of a nuclear attack and that the only effective way to address the nuclear threat is to outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons without further delay.

 

Action ideas for mayors
  • Publicity: Inform the public on your website, in your newsletter and in the local press that you are a Mayor for Peace
  • Exhibition: Host a Mayors for Peace exhibition about the nuclear threat and worldwide efforts to achieve abolition
  • Peace pillar: Erect a peace pillar in a public place to focus the public’s attention on the need for nuclear abolition
  • Hiroshima visit: Fund students from your city/municipality to visit the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan
  • Commemorations: Hold a public event on August 6 or 9 to mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Japan in 1945
  • Motions: Pass a resolution through your council expressing support for a treaty to ban all nuclear weapons
  • Delegations: Take part in Mayors for Peace delegations at meetings with national governments
  • Network: Encourage other mayors in your area to join and become active in the Mayors for Peace network

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Get an article published on a ban

Aim: to make a newspaper editor think that your opinion article about a treaty banning nuclear weapons is worth publishing
  1. Investigate: Get an overview of what is already being written about nuclear weapons in your country. To find news articles about nuclear weapons, the website news.google.com is a good place to start. Type the word for nuclear weapons in your language in the search field and start investigating. Most public libraries also have either electronic or ordinary subscriptions of local, national and international newspapers. Spend a couple of hours reading, focus on new information about nuclear weapons, and try to think about how this information can be made relevant locally or nationally.
  2. Target: For some strange reason, the editors of opinion pages love conflicts. So to increase the likelihood of an editor publishing your opinion piece, identify a person or an institution to criticize. For your purposes, the most obvious target will probably be your own government, or individual ministers in your government, such as your Foreign, Defence or Prime Minister. Other potential targets is leaders of companies investing in nuclear weapons, political parties and individual parliamentarians as well as other civil society actors.
  3. Frame the issue: This is the most important, and also the most challenging task. First, make the opinion piece newsworthy by linking your argument to a recent or on-going event, such as an international meeting, a nuclear near-accident, a new policy programme, a recently published study etc. Second, based on your investigation, try and present one problem relating to the existence of nuclear weapons. Then present the idea of a global ban on nuclear weapons as a solution to this particular problem.
  4. Call: Before you do any proper writing, identify the phone number of the editor of the opinion pages in the newspaper you would like make publish your opinion piece. Call the editor during office hours, present your framing, and ask him or her whether this is something he or she could be interested in. If the editor is positive to your idea, proceed to step 5. If the editor tells you he or she is not interested, call another newspaper and try again. If you are turned down in more than three times, there is probably something wrong with your target or your framing. Go back to step 2 and try again.
  5. Write: As soon as you’ve got a “go” from the editor, start writing immediately, and send the piece to him or her before he or she gets a chance to forget about your phone call. Remember that 80 per cent of the readers will only read the title and the introduction of your opinion piece, so put the most important things you would like to say first. The title should be short and arouse curiosity, while the introduction should summarise your main point. When writing about nuclear weapons, it is easy to become trapped in an overly technical language. So when you write, assume that the one you’re writing for doesn’t know anything about the issue.
  6. Send: As soon as your opinion piece is published, post a link to it on Facebook and Twitter, and wait for your target to respond. If you get an answer, there’s a good chance you’ll be given a chance to respond.