International Cooperation and Assistance Addressing Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapon (RSVP required) November 29, 2023 at 8:15am - 9:45am Eastern Time (US & Canada) Delegates Dining Room UN Headquarters 405 E 45th St New York, NY 10017 United States Contact person: Lennart Inklaar

According to UN High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu, the legacy of nuclear tests continues to have “profound, harmful, and long-lasting effects on the environment, human health, and the economic development of some of the world’s most fragile regions.” The TPNW’s “positive obligations -- Article 6 and 7 -- require states parties to engage in international cooperation and assistance to aid communities affected by the ongoing humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons
use and testing. In the Action Plan of the TPNW’s First Meeting of States Parties, states parties agreed to assess needs and establish national and international mechanisms to provide victim assistance and environmental remediation, centering on the concerns of affected communities. Recent negotiations in the NPT, Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly First Committee have also elevated victim assistance and environmental remediation as diplomatic priorities beyond the TPNW.

Concerted international action to address the consequences of nuclear weapons use and testing is a humanitarian imperative – to alleviate human suffering and environmental degradation. But there are also other compelling reasons to support the TPNW’s positive obligations. Productive and action-oriented cooperation addressing the ongoing humanitarian and environmental impact of nuclear weapons use, testing, and related activities offers a way to build bridges between TPNW states parties and those not yet supportive of the Treaty. Victim assistance and environmental remediation programs can be conceived of as confidence and security-building mechanisms addressing the current hostile global political context. At a time of increasing tension in nuclear diplomacy, focus on humanitarian and environmental concerns could build much-needed trust. The humanitarian approach used by states in mine action—covering landmines, cluster munitions, and explosive remnants of war—offers a model of pragmatic and collaborative practice.

However, to date there have been few efforts either by donor states or private philanthropic organizations to actively provide support to communities affected by nuclear weapons use and testing, particularly in comparison with other humanitarian disarmament sectors like mine action and small arms control. This side event considers what actions and discussions might need to happen to bolster nuclear weapons- related victim assistance and environmental remediation as an emerging sector of development assistance. It will bring together selected parliamentarians and diplomats from UN member states, as well as representatives from international organizations, grant-making institutions, and civil society.

Further information or to RSVP before 17 November: [email protected]