How can you get your city, town or local authority to join the ICAN Cities Appeal? Even if you’ve never engaged with local politics before, it’s easier than you might think.
1. Do your research
First, you might have to do a bit of homework to find out how your city council takes decisions (by vote? by mayoral decree? it can vary greatly from city to city). Usually you can find information about the latest legislation or initiatives on a city or town's website. If not, it won't take more than an email (and a phone call if necessary) to find out.
You might want to consider getting in touch with a city councilor or other elected official to get them to champion passage of a resolution on the appeal.
Another thing you might want to check for is whether your city a member of Mayors for Peace, a large international network of cities working for peace and disarmament. If it is, you might want to let them know about Mayor for Peace's endorsement.
2. Reach out
It all starts with an email or a letter to the mayor, or even a local politician. If you don't quite know what to write, we have a template here to help get you started.
Remember to make the case for why cities and towns should join:
- Cities and towns would suffer the most from any nuclear weapons attack, so they have a special responsibility to their citizens to take a stand;
- Networks of cities and towns are already champions in tackling the world’s urgent existential challenges, including the climate emergency;
- Local politics can apply upward pressure on national legislatures by generating increased awareness about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons among citizens and impacting national political party platforms.
- They'll be in good company! Almost 300 cities and towns, including many capital cities and major urban areas, have already joined the appeal.
Don't forget to attach a copy of the ICAN Cities Appeal, which you can find in different languages here.
Usually local authorities prefer to hear from their own constituents, but if you think an official letter from ICAN would also help, we'd be happy to send one. Just get in touch at info[at]icanw.org and let us know.
3. Propose a motion
In some contexts, the mayor can decide to join the ICAN Cities Appeal on behalf of the city / town or the mayor's office will place the item on the agenda for a decision at a city/town council session.
In other cases, however, including in the United States for example, the municipal legislature needs to vote to pass the decision (it could be called a "motion" or a "resolution"). You'll probably want to enlist the help of a local politician to champion the motion to passage and/or to advise you how to get it through. You can usually find out who your local elected officials are on your city or town's website.
Check out the list of cities that have joined and click on the links to see examples of the motions that have been passed. They could be used as inspiration for the text of your home town's motion.
To confirm a city wants to join the ICAN Cities Appeal, all that's needed is an email from the mayor of the city or other authorised official. That email should be sent to info[at]icanw.org.
4. Involve local stakeholders
It make take a bit of time before a hearing is held of a motion put forward in the council or maybe even before you hear back at all. Don't be put off! It's not uncommon to encounter some hurdles along the way, whether it be bureaucratic inertia, lack of interest or even political opposition.
Keep at it and get your friends, family and other local stakeholders to reach out as well. For bigger cities, it could take a big team effort to get across the line.
There are many allies you could enlist to help convince your local government that it should join the Cities Appeal. Of course, you might want to see if there are any ICAN partner organisations working in your area. Otherwise you might want to consider reaching out to the following groups for support:
- Local trade unions: check out if any are affiliated with our friends at International Trade Union Confederation and UNI Global Union.
- Faith groups: prominent supporters of the TPNW include ICAN partners: Religions for Peace, World Council of Churches, Soka Gakkai, Pax Christi International and the United Methodist Church. Others that have endorsed the TPNW: the Vatican (which has actually signed and ratified the TPNW), the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church USA.
- Red Cross / Red Crescent societies
- Local celebrities
- For other ideas, get in touch at info[at]icanw.org and we'll see how ICAN can help in your neighbourhood.
5. Spread the word
Once your city is signed up, ask them to follow up by sending a letter to the government announcing their support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and/or ask them to publicise their commitment on their social media accounts. Don't forget to let ICAN know too so we can help amplify the news.
Spread the word about the role that cities and towns can play for nuclear disarmament on social media.
Feel free to get in touch with us at any point in the process for advice or encouragement!