ICNND Media Release
Commission Report Launched in Tokyo: Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World
Tokyo, Japan 15 December 2009
The Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers”, was presented today in Tokyo to the Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan, their excellencies Kevin Rudd and Yukio Hatoyama, by the Commission Co-Chairs, former foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi, at a ceremony at the Japanese Prime Minister’s residence.
The full text of the report is available online at www.icnnd.org.
The 230-page report, the most comprehensive of its kind yet produced, is the unanimous product of an independent global panel of fifteen commissioners, supported by a high-level international advisory board and worldwide network of research centres, who together brought an unprecedented level of technical and policy expertise, and strategic and political experience, to their year-long deliberations and consultations.
Its detailed analysis, sharply focused policy recommendations, and short, medium and long term practical agendas, address the whole range of issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with which policymakers are presently wrestling in the context of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference and beyond.
With new U.S. and Russian leadership seriously committed to nuclear disarmament action, there is a new opportunity - the first since the immediate post-World War II and post-Cold War years - to halt, and reverse, the problem of nuclear weapons once and for all. The report describes, not just rhetorically but in the detail that policymakers need, how that opportunity can and should be seized.
The starting point of the report is that the nuclear status quo is not an option. Nuclear weapons are only ones ever invented that have the capacity to wholly destroy life on this planet, and present arsenals could do so many times over. It defies credibility that, so long as any such weapons exist, they will not one day be used, by accident, miscalculation or design. The problem of nuclear weapons is at least equal to climate change in terms of gravity - and much more immediate in its potential impact.
The report evaluates in detail, making it clear that they defy complacency, the threats and risks associated with the failure to persuade existing nuclear-armed states to relinquish their weapons, to prevent new states acquiring them, to stop terrorist actors gaining access to them, and to properly manage a rapid expansion in civil nuclear energy.
Among the more significant of the report’s 76 recommendations are:
• The setting of a medium term ‘minimization point’ target - to be reached by 2025 - of a world with less than 2,000 nuclear warheads - a more than 90 per cent reduction of present nuclear arsenals.
• A full package of recommended outcomes for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including a proposed new 20-point statement on disarmament, tough new measures against proliferation, and a suggested approach to moving forward the issue of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East.
• A plea for early movement by the nuclear-armed states on refining their nuclear doctrine to limit the role of nuclear weapons and give unequivocal assurances that they will not be used against non-nuclear weapons states, and for a rethinking of existing approaches to ‘extended deterrence’ .
• Support for the further development of civil nuclear energy, subject to effective security, safeguards and safety measures, and with much more attention being paid to proliferation resistant technologies and to creating disincentives to states building their own enrichment and reprocessing facilities.
• Strong support for the continued delegitimisation of nuclear weapons, and the ultimate achievement of a completely nuclear weapon free world, while recognizing the many difficult conditions that will have to be satisfied before the movement from minimum levels to zero is achievable.