May 19th, 2010 13:15 EST
The World Is Approaching a Nuclear Tipping Point
Authoritative scientific studies now predict the detonation of as little as a half of one percent of the deployed and operational arsenals of the nuclear weapon states will produce catastrophic changes in the global climate and environment. Given this data, it is clear that a large nuclear war would destroy civilisation and threaten human survival. The Security Council and all governments must take decisions in the light of this knowledge.
A handful of states possess more than 20,000 nuclear weapons and several of these states including the United States and Russia still cling to nuclear doctrines that assert the right to use these mass terror weapons first, possibly even against non-nuclear attacks and against non-nuclear weapon states. Entry-into-force of the CTBT is within reach, but is being held up by a few hold-out states. The nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea could, if not checked, promote further proliferation.
Concrete actions that reduce the salience, number, and threat of nuclear weapons are urgently needed in order to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime and to secure weapons-useable nuclear material against possible terrorist acquisition.
UN Secretary - General Ban Ki Moon has developed a five point plan toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The upcoming special session of the UN Security Council on September 24 provides an opportunity to focus attention and promote tangible steps that would reduce the nuclear weapons danger, and move decisively toward a nuclear-weapon-free-world, based on the five - point plan.
All states with or without nuclear weapons have a duty to formulate and state clearly, with specificity, their plans to achieve the non-discriminatory, legally binding, verifiable, elimination of nuclear weapons.
We urge you and other Security Council members to utilise this opportunity to adopt a decision that would:
- Invoke Article 26 of the UN Charter and task the Military Staff Committee to develop within 12 months a plan for getting to zero, and securing a nuclear-weapon-free world. Instruct the committee to report to the Security Council on progress in implementation once the plan is approved.
- Call on all nuclear-armed states, including those outside the NPT, to immediately halt the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, sign and/or ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without further delay; and otherwise halt qualitative improvements that enhance the military capabilities of their nuclear weapons arsenals;
- Call upon nuclear armed states to undertake immediate steps that reduce the risks of unauthorised or accidental nuclear attack, including eliminating requirements and plans for rapid launch in response to a nuclear attack;
(See attached General Assembly resolution )
- Provide assurances that states that do not posses nuclear weapons will not be subjected to nuclear weapons threats or nuclear attack;
- Call upon relevant states to sign and ratify nuclear weapons free zone treaties without further delay and without conditions, and task the SG with appointing a special envoy to advance discussions relating to the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East;
- Call upon all states possessing nuclear weapons, as well as states that are not parties to the NPT to provide a detailed accounting of their nuclear weapons holdings, including all warheads of all types, associated delivery systems, and un-safeguarded fissile materials. Such an accounting should be updated annually and submitted to the United Nations Secretariat;
- Call upon all remaining states that have not yet done so to conclude comprehensive full-scope safeguards agreements and additional protocol agreements with the IAEA;
- Recall UN Security Council Resolutions relating to non-proliferation and disarmament, including UNSC Resolution 1540, recent resolutions relating to the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, as well as the 1998 Security Council Resolution on the Indian and Pakistani nuclear and missile programs;
-Pursue negotiations in good faith -- as required by the treaty -- on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification;
- Call upon NPT States Parties to work towards a consensus action plan for strengthening the Treaty in all of its aspects at the May 2010 NPT Review Conference; and
- Convene by 2010 a global summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and call upon all states possessing nuclear weapons or availing themselves of extended nuclear deterrence to start transforming their security policy to that free of nuclear weapons.
This special session of the Security Council represents an important opportunity that should not be squandered. We urge you to act in a serious and purposeful manner.
Letter Coordinated by:
(In conjunction with Jonathan Granoff, Alyn Ware, Steven Starr, Peter Nicholls, Kate Hudson, Akira Kawasaki, Hiro Umebayashi, Daryl Kimball, Dave Krieger, and Aaron Tovish)