Mayors for Peace: PRESENTE and Future Force for Total Disarmament

A Report from the NPT Review Conference in New York

Ending the Threat of Nuclear Devastation: Mayors Conference at the United Nations

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Citizens around the globe working together to eliminate all nuclear weapons have banded together in an “Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons” by 2020, led by Mayors for Peace, other global associations of local authorities and supporting NGOs. They are here at the NPT RevCon, swelled from 19 mayors and deputies in 12 countries at the 2004 PrepCom to now over 100 mayors and local authority representatives. In a day-long program Tuesday it was announced that over 1000 cities around the world have joined the mobilization with the number of cities growing every day. Mayors from 23 countries making up a Delegation of 100 will present International Mayoral Statements and Public Petitions in the Great Hall of the General Assembly Wednesday. Earlier in the day they will consult with heads of their country delegations.

Mayors Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace, and Iccho Itoh of Nagasaki, Vice President presided at the Tuesday morning session at The Japan Society, co-organized with Sister Cities International. The special threat to cities around the world was described with chilling facts. Dr. Charles Meade’s presentation of the Rand Corporation’s study of the local impacts around globe of a single terrorist nuclear attack, for example on the Port of Long Beach, was followed by Dr. Bruce Blair’s recitation of the minute-by-minute hair-trigger alert status of “launch on warning” systems of the United States and Russia. Thousands of nuclear warheads,100,000 times the Hiroshima bomb equivalent, are still targeted at thousands of cities, the same rote script for a catastrophic unleashing of nuclear holocaust unchanged for 30 years. Dr. Blair is President of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. The risk of false alarms and electronic hacking are magnified by heightened terrorist activity,

The program segment titled “Legacy of the Cold War” was actually heartening. Councillor Thomas Risby, Manchester, England, Dr Montgomery Elmer of Communities for International Development, and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz of Madison,WI, talked about city-to-city projects, local and personal, creating a dynamic and the political will to abolish nuclear weapons. Cooperation in the clean up of existing dangers from previous wars and preparation for war is uniting global activists.

The Mayors gave a standing ovation to Secretary General Kofi Annan at a ceremonial break midday in Conference Room 4. Hailing Mayors for Peace he expressed appreciation for mobilizing citizen insistence that governments act boldly to achieve nuclear abolition. He was introduced by Mayor Donald Plusquillic of Akron, OH, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors which in June of last year adopted, unanimously, a model resolution demanding nuclear abolition.

The concluding session heard reports from Belgium, with 221 out of 589 mayors now participating, from Germany, Canada, Japan, UK and many other countries. Aaron Tovish, International Campaign Manager, outlined strategies to jump past a stalled NPT process should the 2005 RevCon be derailed. Activities of the 60th Anniversary Year of Remembrance and Action will express loud and clear the overwhelming global opposition to nuclear weapons, and mayors from around the world will collect again for a global meeting at a World Urban Peace Forum, June 23-26, 2006 in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Gillian Gilhool

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