Ascend the Political Ladder

Presentation of Jonathan Granoff, President Global Security Institute, on behalf of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament at the International Seminar: “The Experience of the NWFZ in Latin America
and the Caribbean and the perspective towards 2015 and beyond”

Mexico City, 14-15 February 2012

Your  Excellencies, Friends:  It is an honor to address such a distinguished gathering of ministers, diplomats, experts, and friends so deeply concerned with making substantive progress on ending the threats posed by the existence of nuclear weapons. For all their efforts in bringing us together I would like to especially thank Ambassador Ubeda and her staff.

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), which is part of the Global Security Institute, is a global network of over 800 parliamentarians from more than 80 countries working to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and achieve nuclear disarmament. The network serves as a dynamic resource for parliamentarians by providing up to date information on nuclear weapons policies thus helping parliamentarians become more effectively engaged in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives.  PNND leadership includes high-level parliamentarians from around the world including the very distinguished Senator Rosario Green, Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Mexican Senate and former Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, who serves a Co-President of PNND.

The Latin American and Caribbean Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) has inspired the establishment of other NWFZs encompassing the entire Southern Hemisphere and also regions in the Northern Hemisphere. It was not only diplomatic leadership that made this happen. Parliamentarians were active–indeed at times vital– in the establishment and implementation of these zones. Parliamentary action is vital to build the political momentum for establishing additional NWFZs in the Middle East, North East Asia and the Arctic. PNND has thus launched joint parliamentary statements, organized cross-party forums, released model NWFZ treaties and is encouraging other similar parliamentary actions. We welcome further collaboration with civil society, like-minded governments, the United Nations and other key actors to ensure success.

On April 30, 2010 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the 2nd Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zones and described the contribution of these zones to world security perfectly:

“Nuclear-weapon-free zones are the success stories of the disarmament movement. You are leading by example.” Your exemplary conduct has prevented resources from being squandered and helped obtain greater security for all. It is time that the Northern Hemisphere became liberated from the shadow of the moral corruption of threatening to use nuclear weapons as well as the threat to be annihilated, along with everyone everywhere, by them. Ending that threat was the essential corollary of the Secretary General’s presentation. “My goal – our goal – is to make the whole world a nuclear-weapon-free zone.”

When the Treaty of Tlatelolco entered into force fax and Xerox copying machines were not in common use. Communication was by phone and mail. Global integration of economies and the recognition of our shared fate in protecting the climate of the planet were not salient issues. In many ways the world today is more integrated than Latin America was forty years ago. Your example has become critically important at a global level as an inspiring story of success.

Today, regarding nuclear weapons, everywhere is only as secure as the insecurity experienced anywhere. A nuclear exchange in South Asia becomes a local incident everywhere for its impact on the global climate would precipitate catastrophic consequences such as nuclear winter, massive famines, and disruption of the delicate balance of social relations we call civilization. Can South Asia become a nuclear weapons free zone? Pakistan will not eliminate its nuclear weapons because of India; India because of China; China because of Russia; and Russia because of the United States. The only solution to the threat to our common security arising from instability in South Asia is exactly what was expressed so clearly in the Declaration of Member States of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean issued here in Mexico City in September 2011 as the requirement to achieve “through concrete initiatives and sustained actions…global, total, irreversible and verifiable nuclear disarmament.”

The “unequivocal undertaking” to eliminate nuclear weapons made by the nuclear weapons states at the 2000 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was reaffirmed at the NPT 2010 Review Conference as a concrete task for all States to undertake, indeed, the Parties to the NPT agreed that  “All States should make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons” noting the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Plan for nuclear disarmament including the proposal for a nuclear weapons convention, There was the recognition that this work is “urgent” and must be made “concrete.”

Yes, the START treaty is worthy of our praise and appreciation, and even the US Nuclear Posture Review calls for a “commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world” and the initiation of “a comprehensive national research and development program to support continued progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons.” We would however be negligent if we ignored the fact that nearly every state with nuclear weapons is upgrading, expanding, or modernizing their nuclear arsenals. We can also expect that without the momentum of progress to achieve the universal, legally verifiable and enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons we will again and again be faced with revisiting the issue of whether nuclear weapons should be abolished. This debate, as in the past, will take place in the context of a crisis de jour in proliferation.

Today, the focus is again on a symptom of an incoherent unstable non-proliferation regime. Today, that instability manifests in the Middle East with the focus on Iran and Israel. Tomorrow, if we do not act, it will be another crisis de jour and, under the cloud of fear, disarmament will be put behind emergency non-proliferation concerns. The only solution to move from perennially debating whether we should abolish nuclear weapons and move to perpetually working successfully to achieve this goal is to have the clear focus of a framework of instruments or a convention banning nuclear weapons. It is time now to begin the preparatory work on a convention or framework.

This need was explicitly recognized in the Special Communique on the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons issued at the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in December of 2011 when the CELAC leaders expressed “their strong commitment to work on convening an international high-level conference to identify ways and methods to eliminate nuclear weapons as soon as possible.” This effort to move to move from whether to how is exactly what is needed. I am pleased to share that the Global Security Institute will be working to establish a group of like-minded states to create such a conference at the United Nations in New York in the early part of 2013. I am asking your help in making that happen.

Today such progress will not begin from within the corridors of power in Moscow or Washington. They will not commence this work nor join in it without our making the currency of disarmament more valuable than the political currency of nuclear weapons brandishing. Upgrading disarmament will strengthen essential non-proliferation work.

Upgrading advocacy to the highest levels of state has now become a necessity and it is within our grasp to make that happen. Combine the CELAC Special Commique’s call with the Declaration’s assertion “that the use or threat to use nuclear weapons is a violation of the United Nations Charter and a crime against humanity” and the foundation for powerful political persuasion is established.

Powerful interventions are now imperative. By any rational analysis the nuclear nonproliferation disarmament regime is presently in a logjam and a crisis of insufficient productivity.

When the Cold War produced such a crisis, in the 1980’s, the Six Nation Initiative helped break a deadly spiral driven by the Soviet Union and the United States. Heads of State of Greece, India, Sweden, Tanzania, and two outstanding Latin American leaders, Mexico’s President Miguel de la Madrid and Argentina’s President Raul Alfonsin made quiet diplomatic interventions to Moscow and Washington, a the highest levels, to good effect. Beginning in 1984, they persisted until 1989. The process was begun by Parliamentarians for Global Action but, once the pump was primed, Heads of State picked up their own momentum. Practical suggestions helped move the then two superpowers toward clear progress.

The need for similar effort today is clear. The capacity amongst Latin American leaders is strong. The issue of eliminating nuclear weapons must be addressed at the highest political level. The message has already been crafted with clarity and eloquence. This opportunity must be seized. I have every confidence that amongst us here today are those who appreciate the gravity of the moment and have the passion and capacity to raise advocacy for the universal, legally verifiable and enforceable non-discriminatory elimination of nuclear weapons up the political ladder. Thank you for giving me theopportunity be an oarsman along with you

Mission and Focus
Monitored the arms control negotiations of the two superpowers – the
USA and the USSR – with a focus on advocating steps toward nuclear
disarmament (especially the banning of nuclear tests).1

Key Players

* Formed by the NGO Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA).
Originally called Parliamentarians for World Order, PGA is “a worldwide
network of parliamentarians dedicated to advancing disarmament
and development issues.” 2

* Some leaders were chosen because, although being aligned with either the Soviet Union or the United States, they had demonstrated an ability
to pursue initiatives and action independent of the superpowers.3
To maintain a sense of international legitimacy, other leaders were chosen
for their affiliation with the non-aligned movement (NAM).4 The SNI
was ultimately comprised of the Heads of State and Government of:
o Argentina: President Raul Alfonsin
o Greece: Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou
o India: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1917-1984); succeeded
by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
o Mexico: President Miguel de la Madrid
o Sweden: Prime Minister Olaf Palme
o Tanzania: President Julius Nyerere

Strategy, Highlights and Achievements

* Following the breakdown of US-USSR disarmament negotiations, “all
six leaders of the SNI signed a Call for Action and met together in
New Delhi in 1984 to press the two superpowers to stop nuclear
testing and get on with [disarmament] negotiations. The SNI
became…an effective channel for the views of many governments,
parliaments, and citizens working for common security. The Initiative
could not, of course, take sole credit for the resumption of Soviet-
American negotiations…but it was an important element in
demonstrating world support for nuclear disarmament to the two

* Provided a focal point for NGO communities working on nuclear
disarmament by serving as “a vocal, persistent and authentic voice for
nuclear disarmament.”6

* Proposed in 1988 that the UN General Assembly commission a report
outlining a UN verification system. This proposal was merged with
another resolution drafted by Canada, France, and the Netherlands.
The result was a final resolution asking the Secretary-General to
prepare a comprehensive report on the role of the United Nations in

* October 25 1988, delegates “presented a concrete proposal…[for] the
endorsement, in principle, of [a multilateral] international verification agency
within the United Nations.”8 The draft resolution was entitled “Verification within
the United Nations.”

* Through its work as a third party arbiter, the SNI helped to revive dialogue on
disarmament between the USA and USSR. One example of such work was the
SNI’s support of and help with facilitating negotiations on the Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminated all nuclear-armed ground launched
ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500
kilometers and their infrastructure – the first nuclear arms control agreement to
actually reduce nuclear arms, rather than establish ceilings that could not be
1 Vajpayee, Shri Atal Bihari. Address by the Prime Minister of India at the XII Non-Aligned Movement
Summit. Durban, South Africa. September 1998. [Available courtesy Federation of American Scientists,]
2 Roche, Douglas. Scrapping the Bomb: The Role of Middle Power Countries. The Ploughshares Monitor.
Vol. 18, No. 3. September 1997
3 Frangonikolopoulos, Christos. Six Nation Initiative for Disarmament: A Third Party in the Arms Control
Process. The Kent Papers in Politics and International Relations. The University of Kent. 1992.
[Available at]
4 Ibid.
5 Roche, Scrapping the Bomb.
6 Dubey, Muchkund. For Nuclear Disarmament. The Hindu. March 6, 2004. [Available at]
7 Dorn, A. Walter. U.N. Should Verify Treaties. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Vol. 46, No. 6.
July/August 1990. page 13
8 Rao, Mr. P. V. Narasimha. United Nations 17th Plenary Meeting, 43th Session. October 4, 1988.
Available at []
9 Frangonikolopoulos. Six Nation Initiative for Disarmament, and Anonymous. Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces [INF]. Federation of American Scientists website.

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