ICAN in 2019: our top 10 highlights


This year, ICAN campaigners all around the world doubled down on their efforts to rally the world’s nations behind the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons, and to build up a strong and lasting stigma around these weapons designed to mass murder civilians. These are just some of the highlights and successes of the year:

Halfway (to entry into force) on Hiroshima Day

ICAN was one of the driving forces behind the adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and ever since, we’ve been campaigning all around the world for countries to sign and ratify the treaty. With 50 states parties, the treaty will enter into force and nuclear weapons will be illegal under international law. And this year, on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the treaty reached its halfway mark, when Bolivia became the 25th state party to the Treaty

Nearly 200 cities, towns and states speak out for the TPNW

From Paris to Washington DC, local authorities around the world are leading the way in calling for an end to nuclear weapons through the TPNW. All over the world, major cities, states and towns have taken the ICAN Cities Appeal and called on their government to join the treaty. The current count: 197.  

Addressing ECOWAS parliament

In May, ICAN campaigners from Nigeria, Ghana and Togo gathered in Abuja to address the Parliament of the regional economic union of fifteen West African Countries, ECOWA,  about 

West African leadership in achieving a world without nuclear weapons. 


Bringing together experts for a Caribbean regional meeting

In June 2019, ICAN and the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana brought together representatives from ten of the 15 CARICOM states, national disarmament experts, legal advisors, representatives from Caribbean Red Cross and civil society actors for a meeting on the TPNW.  The event concluded with the adoption of a declaration that highlighted the Caribbean support for the treaty, and the governments agreed to work towards signature and ratification. The results came immediately. Within three months after the meeting concluded, 6 Caribbean governments either signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. And several others have indicated that they will do so in the coming year. 



We’ve moved! 

After 7 years and in our office at the World Council of Churches and many incredible memories (like receiving that Nobel Peace Prize call), our team has grown and we move across town, to a new location near Cornavin Station in Geneva.



Exposing US universities involved in producing nuclear weapons 

In November, ICAN launched a new report exposing the nearly 50 US universities involved in the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons: “Schools of Mass destruction: American Universities in the US nuclear weapons complex.” The report led to a lot of questions at the universities that were listed and even a very powerful editorial in the Johns Hopkins Newsletter


12 signatures and ratifications in one day 

On September 26th, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 12 states took another significant step towards achieving this goal by signing or ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, during a special High-Level Ceremony at the UN Headquarters in New York. 

And the signatures and ratifications did not stop there. As of December 27th, 2019, The TPNW has 80 signatories and 34 states Parties. You can find find the current status of the Treaty here. 


New look, new website

In 2019, we’ve been working on an updated, consistent look and feel that reflects the campaign ICAN is and needs to be in order to end nuclear weapons, as well as modern, fit for purpose website. The logo remains largely unchanged, in order to honour the long-standing history of this powerful icon, which has meant so much to everyone that has worked on this campaign over the years, and will continue to inspire and symbolise our work to end nuclear weapons. But we complement it with new typography and colours and a full style guide to help campaigners apply it consistently. As for the website, we invite you to have a look around!  


First experts meeting on emerging technologies

Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and cyber warfare will have huge implication for nuclear policy, but this is a largely unaddressed issue. That is why we launched a new campaign to bring together experts from different fields to explore the issue we held the first expert meeting. 


The Pope speaks out in support of the TPNW

Pope Francis has been a long-time supporter of the TPNW and the abolition of nuclear weapons. In November an ICAN delegation met with Pope Francis ahead of his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During that visit, the Pope made several strong statements highlighting the plight of Hibakusha (survivors of the bombing), calling for an end to nuclear weapons and in support of the TPNW, reminding the world’s leaders: 

"The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral, as I said two years ago. We will be judged on this"⁠