At the 2017 Vienna UN Conference Alistair Edgar met with Alyn Ware, to discuss the work of UNFOLD ZERO, which he co-founded, and its aim to achieve a nuclear weapons free world. The process to eliminate the reliance on nuclear weapons is complex. As Ware reminds listeners, it is a topic with a long history dating back to the first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. Ware argues that nuclear politics is related to other pressing issues that are vital to the survivability and sustainability of the planet. The co-operation and global governance required to address climate change, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and prevent terrorism is not possible when some countries possess nuclear weapons and threaten other countries and entire populations with annihilation. Furthermore, cutting funding for nuclear weapons can provide financial support for other activities. As Ware emphasises, the organisations that fund nuclear weapons have an enormous influence as over $100 billion is spent on nuclear weapons every year. Recognising these connections can be an avenue for citizen involvement since most public funds have investments somewhere in their portfolio that are invested in nuclear weapons corporations. Citizen involvement and awareness is crucial, and UNFOLD ZERO provides information and suggestions for action..
Visit the UNFOLD ZERO website
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1 (I) “Establishment of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy”
“Move the nuclear weapons money: A handbook for Civil Society and Legislators” (International Peace Bureau, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and the World Future Council, 2016)
Alyn Ware, serves as the Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), a cross-party network of influential parliamentarians from around the world.
Mr Ware is the co-founder of a number of organisations, networks and initiatives including:
- Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons – which has grown to include more than 2000 organizations in over 90 countries;
- Basel Peace Office, which brings together key international and Swiss organisations to advance the security of a nuclear-weapons-free world;
- Middle Powers Initiative which has brought together influential governments to advance a nuclear disarmament framework in multilateral forums;
- Model Nuclear Weapons Convention which has been circulated by the UN Secretary-General as a guide to nuclear disarmament negotiations;
- Nuclear Abolition Forum, a website and periodical to facilitate dialogue on the process to achieve and sustain a nuclear-weapons-free world;
- UNFOLD ZERO, which highlights United Nations forums and mechanisms to abolish nuclear weapons and resolve international conflicts peacefully;
- World Court Project which achieved a decision from the International Court of Justice in 1996 on the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons;
Mr Ware also serves as the Director of the Basel Peace Office, Consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and Co-chair of the World Future Council Peace and Disarmament Commission. He has previously served as Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (US), Vice-President of International Peace Bureau (a Nobel Laureate organisation) and on the New Zealand Department of Education Peace Studies Guidelines Advisory Board and NZ Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control.
Mr Ware has won a number of awards including the Right Livelihood Award (Sweden), United Nations International Year for Peace Award (New Zealand), Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Award (New Zealand), Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Award (USA) Quaker Peace and Service Loxley Award (New Zealand), Tom Perry Peace Award (Canada) and World Peace Award (World Federalist Movement, Canada). He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.
His publications include:
- Our Planet in every Classroom, co-authored with Annie Doherty, 1991;
- Securing our Survival: The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, co-authored with Merav Datan, Felicity Hill and Juergen Scheffran, 1997, revised 2007;
- PNND/IPU Handbook for Parliamentarians: Supporting Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, co-edited with Rob van Riet, 2012;
- Moving Beyond Nuclear Deterrence to a Nuclear Weapons Free World, co-edited with Marc Finaud, Paul Meyer and Manpreet Sethi, 2013;
- Why It’s Vital to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons: And How You Can Help: Special Issue of the Pacific Ecologist, co-edited with Kay Weir, 2013:
- Nuclear Disarmament Resource Guide for Religious Leaders and Communities, published by Religions for Peace, September 2013
Recorded January 2017