From Prague to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

PNND notebook and program - essential for the PNND Assembly

Legislators, academics, diplomats and NGOs meet in the Czech Republic to advance the Prague Agenda.

A Joint Statement of Religious Leaders and Legislators from Around the World, and an International Youth Pledge are presented to high-level UN and parliamentary officials.

On 5 April 2009, U.S. President Obama gave an historic speech in Hradcany Square, Prague, putting forward a vision and commitment to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Karipbek Kuyukov speaks at the PNND press conference, along with Alena Gajduskova, Senator Ivo Barek and PNND Co-President Sue Miller.

Obama followed up with a series of initiatives to reduce nuclear stockpiles, lower the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. doctrine, support nuclear weapon free zones, highlight the humanitarian impact of any use of nuclear weapons, affirm the global practice of non-use of nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear proliferation.  

Today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can."
President Barack Obama, Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic. April 5, 2009.

However, negotiations to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons globally have remained elusive. Indeed, increasing tensions in central Europe (Ukraine), East Asia and the Middle East have elevated nuclear threats and reduced the prospects for nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, the recent Iran deal has demonstrated that diplomacy can be successful in managing conflicts and preventing nuclear proliferation.

Karipbek Kuyukov addressing the PNND Assembly in the Czech Senate

PNND Assembly and Prague Agenda Conference

Raseriti Johannes Tau MP, Chair, Inter-Parliamentary Union Standing Committee on International Peace and Security

From October 14-17, legislators, academics, diplomats and NGOs from around the world met in the Czech Republic for the 5th Prague Agenda Conference and the 2015 PNND Assembly in order to consider these issues and to discuss practical approaches to implement the Prague nuclear disarmament agenda.

The PNND Assembly was hosted by Alena Gajduskova (PNND Council Member from Czech Republic) and Senator Ivo Barek (Vice-President of the Czech Senate). Speakers at the Conference and Assembly included:

  • Karipbek Kuyukov, second generation victim of Soviet nuclear tests
  • Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
  • Adam M. Scheinman, Special Representative of the President of the United States of America for Nuclear Nonproliferation
  • Wolfgang Rudischhauser, Head of the NATO WMD Non-Proliferation Centre
  • Taous Feroukhi, Chair of the 2015 NPT Review Conference
  • Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, European Union
  • Marek Jukl, President of Czech Red Cross
  • Thore Vestby, Vice-President of Mayors for Peace
  • Raseriti Johannes Tau MP, Chair, Inter-Parliamentary Union Standing Committee on International Peace and Security
  • Hervé Morin MP, former French Minister of Defence (by video message)
  • plus many other parliamentary leaders from around the world.
PNND Co-President Senator Salwa Damen Masri (Jordan) and Middle Powers Initiative Chair Tarja Cronberg speaking at the Prague Agenda Conference in the Foreign Ministry.

A range of topics were discussed including the 2015 NPT Review Conference 2015, nuclear weapons doctrines, humanitarian consequences, nuclear risks and ethics, proposals for nuclear weapon free zones, national nuclear prohibition legislation, and multilateral initiatives to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.

Special actions and events at the PNND Assembly

The Czech premiere of the movie ‘The Man Who Saved the World’ was screened at the historic Lucerna Cinema. The movie tells the story of Lt Colonel Stanislav Petrov who 30 years ago probably prevented a nuclear war by making a choice not to follow Soviet nuclear command and control procedures when the early warning system mistakenly showed a US nuclear attack. The movie stars Petrov himself along with Kevin Costner and appearances by Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher and Walter Cronkite. The screening was followed by enlightening discussion with Peter Anthony, the movie’s director.

PNND Co-President Bill Kidd (Scotland) presents the Statement of Legislators and Religious Leaders to Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

A Joint Statement of Legislators and Religious Leaders for a Nuclear Weapon Free World was presented to Kim Won-soo, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. The statement, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of nuclear weapons being used and the United Nations being established, has been endorsed by religious leaders of all major faiths, as well as parliamentarians and mayors from around the world. It has also been presented to Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly and to Marco Kalbusch, Secretary of the Conference on Disarmament and Head of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs in Geneva.. See Religious leaders and legislators present nuclear abolition call to the United Nations.

As parliamentarians, mayors and religious leaders we join together to highlight the continuing risks of a nuclear catastrophe – whether by accident, miscalculation or intent – and the moral and security imperative to achieve nuclear abolition.
Joint Statement of Legislators and Religious Leaders for a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Rimma Velikanova , coordinator of Global Wave 2015 presenting the International Youth Pledge for Nuclear Abolition to PNND Co-President Baroness Sue Miller. Sarah Snyder, Religions for Peace International, looks on.

An International Youth Pledge for Nuclear Abolition was presented to PNND leadership by Rimma Velikanova, the coordinator of Global Wave 2015 and one of the young campaigners who co-drafted the pledge at a Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition in Hiroshima in August.

The Youth Pledge includes a specific call on parliamentarians to adopt national legislation to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons in their countries. PNND, the World Future Council and the Inter Parliamentary Union have held events and produced publications highlighting examples of such legislation in Austria, Mongolia, New Zealand and the Philippines. See Future Policy – Nuclear Disarmament.

PNND workshop - The Role of Europe in Nuclear Disarmament

A special PNND workshop on The Role of Europe in Nuclear Disarmament was held on 14

PNND workshop on Europe: Jean-Marie Collin (France) speaking. Others pictured include Edine von Herold (Costa Rica), Caroline Leroy (UK), Senator Gladson Cameli (Brazil), Taous Feroukhi (Chair of the 2015 NPT Review Conference), Pavel Krivak (Czech Republic) and Harald Muller (Germany)

October with participation of parliamentarians, academics, policy analysts and NGO representatives mostly from European countries. The workshop considered the possibilities

for European parliamentarians to advance nuclear disarmament in their own national legislatures, as well as through the European Parliament and the parliamentary assemblies of NATO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Specific initiatives included a prohibition on use of nuclear weapons (or in the interim a move to no-first-use), the establishment of a European Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (see the recent study on this concept by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt), removal of nuclear weapons deployed in nuclear sharing countries and engagement in the Open Ended Working Group which will likely be established by the United Nations General Assembly at its 70th session this year.

Dinner meeting on SCRAP - Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation

An informal dinner was held on October 16 to discuss the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP). The dinner was hosted by Dan Plesch, one of the co-founders of the initiative. Discussion included the relationship of SCRAP to nuclear disarmament, the political possibilities for progress on elements of the SCRAP program and the role of parliamentarians. 

PNND Council Meeting

PNND Council Meeting, October 17

PNND held its annual council meeting on the final day of the assembly. The meeting affirmed the PNND Co-Presidents and Council members for the next two years (or until the next PNND Assembly), discussed key events and opportunities for progress on nuclear disarmament and adopted the PNND program of work including PNND's activities with partners and cooperating organisations.

We live in an interconnected world. Unfortunately, though, we live in an imperfect world. But even in an imperfect world, where human rights violations and violent conflict persist, the risk of nuclear weapons use remains very real and their elimination remains an urgent imperative. This international cross party network of parliamentarians is unprecedented and unparalleled, and must be unyielding in this effort. You are the key to achieving sustainable multilateral nuclear disarmament and the hope we need to build a more peaceful planet.
Senator Ed Markey (USA). Message to the PNND Assembly

Alyn Ware, PNND Global Coordinator, talks about cooperation with Religions for Peace including the production of a Nuclear Disarmament Resource Guide for Religious Leaders and Communities.

PNND partners and cooperating organisations

Representatives from a number of PNND partners and cooperating organisations participated in the Assembly including Abolition 2000, Arms Control Association, the ATOM Project, Basel Peace Office, Global Security Institute, Global Wave 2015, Global Zero, Inter Parliamentary Union, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Mayors for Peace, Middle Powers Initiative, NGO Committee on Disarmament, PragueVision, Religions for Peace, SCRAP, UNFOLD ZERO and the World Future Council.

Documents and photos

PNND staff plus a couple of members visit the memorial to Berta van Suttner, the first women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Suttner was born in Prague.

PNND thanks the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Jennifer Simons Foundation, Basel Peace Office, Czech Senate, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and PragueVision for support for the PNND Assembly. PNND also thanks the other co-sponsors of the Prague Agenda Conference - the Institute for International Relations, Institute for Political Science at Charles University, and the Metropolitan University in Prague.