Call for an Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone

11.08.2009 - Copenhaguen - Alyn Ware

We the participants in the Conference on an Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, held in Copenhagen 10-11 August 2009:

Recognizing that polar-ice-cap melting, caused by climate change, increases the potential for greater human and economic activity as well as conflict in the arctic region, making more urgent the establishment of non-military, cooperative mechanisms for environmental protection, adaptation and security;

Inspired by promising new opportunities and political momentum for the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world;

Believing that nuclear-weapon-free zones play an important role in building regional security and confidence in order to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world;

Recognizing the value of international treaties as instruments for building mutually beneficial collaborative arrangements and ensuring verification and compliance;

Welcoming treaties prohibiting nuclear weapons in specific regions, including Antarctica (1959), Outer Space (1967), Latin America and the Caribbean (1968), the South Pacific (1986), South East Asia (1995), Africa (1996) and Central Asia (2006);

Encouraged by the April 2009 resolution adopted by the Inter Parliamentary Union, representing 150 national parliaments, calling for the establishment of additional Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones;

Welcoming international treaties which take additional steps to completely demilitarize geographic zones, such as the 1959 Antarctic Treaty;

Welcoming especially the 1971 Seabed Treaty which prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons on the ocean floor including in the Arctic region;

Recognizing that each region, including the Arctic, has its own unique security environment which requires creative, multifaceted negotiations in order to achieve the establishment of the desired Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone;

Encouraged by the May 2008 declaration of Illulissat in which the Foreign Ministers of the littoral states of the Arctic region agreed to work together to promote peaceful cooperation in the Arctic region, on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Recommend:

1.That governments and relevant sectors of civil society collaborate in developing the modalities for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free and demilitarized Arctic region;

2.That such collaboration should include active participation of indigenous and northern peoples, inhabitants of the region, parliamentarians, scientists, health professionals, academics… and the likes;

3.That the aim of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Arctic should be promoted in relevant environmental and development forums;

4.That the aim should also be promoted in relevant national and international political forums including, but not limited to, the United Nations, Arctic Council, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Nordic Council, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Cooperative Security Treaty Organisation (Tashkent Treaty), Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences and the Conference of Disarmament;

5.That countries in nuclear alliances be encouraged to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines in order to better facilitate the establishment of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones involving these countries, including in the Arctic region;

6.That countries in the Arctic region not possessing nuclear weapons (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) take initial steps towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in close cooperation with the United States and the Russian Federation;

7.That governments undertake steps to increase transparency and to redress negative impacts on inhabitants and the environment from military activities in the Arctic region including those in the past.

Categories: Europe, International, Politics

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