The NGO Abolition Morning Caucus met every day during the four week Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference starting on Tuesday, May 4th straight through to the last day of the UN meeting on May 28th. We gathered each day at 8:00 AM at the UN gates on First Avenue, waiting for the guards to unlock the chains on the UN fence and then proceeded through “security” to the temporary building on the North Lawn where a conference room had been reserved for the use of NGOs. Conference Room A was almost always in use, hosting the Abolition Caucus, the daily NGO government briefings organized by Reaching Critical Will, the plethora of NGO panels, films, testimony from Hibakusha, brainstorming and strategy sessions through the course of the Review.
Our Abolition Caucus began each morning by reviewing the day’s calendar, proposing a new agenda for each day, and then brainstorming to plan various actions during the course of the Conference. At the end of each meeting a new facilitator would volunteer to Chair the meeting for the following day, and volunteers sent out daily minutes of our work. In the first week, as many as 60 nuclear activists showed up at our morning meetings, hailing from every continent and united in our commitment to rid the world of the nuclear scourge.
We were encouraged by the many nations who called for negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention and all signed on to about 30 thank you notes that were presented to their Ambassadors at the Review conference. The Ambassador from Switzerland was so moved by our message that he asked us to send another one to his Foreign Minister. We sent two letters from the caucus to Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. One expressed our thanks and appreciation for his enthusiastic support of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention and his Five Point Plan.The other was to express our dismay and urge mediation instead of the rude treatment we witnessed of Iran’s President, by the western powers who walked out on him during his speech on the first day of the Conference.
We drafted statements in response to the Main Committee I and III reports, issued our own nuclear abolitionists preamble to the report, did a satirical take on the conference in The Scallion, a riff on The Onion, a US publication that writes spoofs of current events, and issued a final statement and critique of the weakened outcome document at the Conference. Usually our documents were inserted in the News in Review issued each day by Reaching Critical Will for distribution to the delegates. The Abolition Caucus documents are on the web at http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/2010index.html under “Other Resources”. We also networked with the Commission on Sustainable Development which was meeting concurrently with the NPT and addressing the catastrophic results of mining. They held a heart-wrenching presentation on the havoc of uranium mining. Our caucus was able to enroll the French government, represented at one of the morning briefings, to permit us to show the promo for a film on the evils of uranium mining at the closing of a French presentation on the benefits of “peaceful” nuclear power.
At the close of the meeting we presented the delegates with fortune cookies, which when opened, said “Global Zero Now”. Most important, we now have a list of over 100 international participants who can continue the warm relationships and camaraderie that developed over the four weeks, newly energized and inspired by each other as we work together for a nuclear free world. Onward to June 5th and International Nuclear Abolition Day!! See www.icanw.org.