We must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. President Barack Obama’s announcement in Berlin that the US would negotiate with a view to reducing US strategic nuclear weapons by up to a third is an important step in this direction.
We were pleased when the NPT Review Conference in 2010 brought concrete results in the shape of a detailed Action Plan. But only the implementation of the Action Plan will take us from the level of diplomatic achievement to results on the ground. We look forward to seeing even more ambitious, concrete and measurable steps being taken to implement the Action Plan.
The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has increasingly been recognised as a fundamental, and global, concern that must be at the heart of all our deliberations regarding nuclear disarmament and all our non-proliferation efforts. At the last NPT Review Conference, all member states expressed their – and I quote – “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” (end quote).
In March this year, I had the honour of hosting an international conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. 128 states met at the Conference, together with UN humanitarian organisations such as OCHA, UNHCR and UNDP, as well as the ICRC and representatives of civil society.
The Conference provided a new arena for a facts-based discussion for all stakeholders, and focused on three key issues:
- The immediate humanitarian impact of nuclear detonations.
- The wider and more long-term developmental, health and environmental consequences.
- Preparedness, including plans and existing capacity for responding to this type of disaster.
The main conclusion from the Conference was that no state or international body could address the humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in any adequate or meaningful way.
The Conference established, in factual terms, what is meant by “catastrophic humanitarian consequences”. These realities must guide our efforts if we are to achieve meaningful progress. It has become clear that this is everybody’s concern and that it is equally legitimate for nuclear and non-nuclear states to care about this issue. It is my hope that the knowledge gained in Oslo will inspire further critical and constructive discussions. We warmly welcome the offer from Mexico to host a follow-up Conference to this end, and we encourage all states to participate in order to take this debate further.
While political circumstances have changed and the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world has fallen since the end of the Cold War, tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remain in the arsenals of states. Meanwhile, the number of states with access to these arms has risen. We wholeheartedly agree with President Obama’s statement in Berlin that it is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. A robust non-proliferation regime is a necessary requirement for successful disarmament. We urge Iran to resolve all outstanding issues related to its past and current nuclear programme, so it fully lives up to its NPT obligations. Furthermore, Norway strongly condemns the nuclear and missile tests carried out by the DPRK.
Allow me to conclude by urging and encouraging the world community to work towards fulfilling our aim of a world without nuclear weapons and to continuously engage in all forums to achieve this end.