We are pleased to provide this report back from BftB Steering Committee member, Dr. Ira Helfand who attended the 1st Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna from June 21-23, 2022. An historic step on the path to a world free of nuclear weapons, the formal 1MSP was attended by representatives from 49 of the 65 countries that are parties to the Treaty and 34 nations that attended as observers. It concluded with a strong political statement that condemned the threats of nuclear war that have accompanied the Russian invasion of Ukraine and an Action Plan to guide participating nations over the coming two years as they work to universalize the Treaty and pressure the nuclear armed nations to eliminate their arsenals.
The weekend before the meeting, ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), the formal civil society partner to the Meeting, held a Forum for more than 600 activists from around the world to plan their activities in support of the Treaty. The gathering was dominated by young people eager to take action to confront this existential threat to the world they will inherit. The Austrian government also hosted a one day conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons that featured discussion of the actual medical effects of nuclear weapons production, testing, and use, including the most recent — soon to be published – data on the extent of the nuclear famine that will follow even a limited nuclear war.