November 2022 E-News
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) is currently taking place in Egypt. While world leaders discuss a number of measures to tackle the climate crisis, it is clear no solution will be effective unless it uproots the system responsible for causing the problem in the first place. Climate change and environmental destruction is a result of human activity driven by capitalism, militarism, patriarchy, and colonialism, and no progress will be made unless these underlying causes are addressed. As WILPF has argued before, a solution to the ecological crisis will not be achieved through the “greening” of institutions that are maintaining the status quo, such as the military-industrial complex. Militaries are among the greatest polluters and consumers of resources, and military spending - which achieved a record level this year - directly undermines investment in environmental protection and regeneration, social infrastructure and care, and conflict prevention and peacebuilding. This is why WILPF believes that peace, gender, and the environment are interconnected. We invite you to learn more about our approach to environmental justice and to join us in this movement!
In this edition
- Current and upcoming disarmament meetings
- Recently concluded disarmament meetings
- New resources page on Ukraine, Russia and nuclear dangers
- WILPF Togo organises workshop about the TPNW
- Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming—Fund Climate Justice not the Military!
- Gender and Disarmament Database: Recommendation of the month
- Upcoming events
- Featured news
- Recommended reading
Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty
The 20th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) is scheduled to take place in-person on 21–25 November 2022 in Geneva, with Colombia presiding. Check out the conference website for updates and documents.
2022 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the CCW
The 2022 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will convene in Geneva from 16–18 November 2022. Among other things, this meeting should decide next year’s plan for dealing with autonomous weapon systems in the CCW Group of Governmental Experts. Reaching Critical Will will provide coverage of the conference through its CCW Report. Subscribe to receive our analysis, advocacy information, and highlights from the discussions. On RCW’s website, you can also find statements, documents, archived CCW Reports, and more information.
Signing ceremony for explosive weapons declaration and civil society events
On 18 November, Ireland will host a high-level international conference in Dublin to adopt the Political Declaration on strengthening the protection of civilians from the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Consultations on this declaration concluded in June 2022 after several years of work, in which RCW participated actively.
On 17 November, the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) and Dóchas will host a Civil Society Forum in Dublin. The Civil Society Forum will bring together states, international organisations and civil society and aims to ensure that the adoption of the political declaration is just the beginning of a long-term, committed and effective process of work. You can check INEW’s website for more details about the event, as well as for recent materials launched by the campaign, including a FAQ on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas and the Political Declaration and leaflet which lays out practical information on the political declaration, why and how to join it, and recommendations to states.
Informal intersessional meeting of the UN Open-ended working group (OEWG) on information and communications technology (ICT)
The Chair of the UN’s OEWG on cyber issues will convene an informal intersessional meeting from 5-9 December 2022. The meeting will take place online and in-person in New York at UNHQ. A major area of focus will be the topic of confidence-building mechanisms, but there is also expected to be discussion about cyber capacity-building and the recent decision to make progress on a cyber programme of action. To learn more about the UN OEWG, visit RCW’s resource page or read past editions of the Cyber Peace & Security Monitor.
UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security
The 77th Session of the First Committee on Disarmament and International Security took place between 3 October–4 November 2022 in New York. In light of Russia’s war in Ukraine and rising tensions among the world’s most heavily militarised states, this year’s meeting was particularly fraught. Civil society and most states pushed for peace and security through disarmament, using this democratic forum to be heard. But challenges abound in the UN system when it comes to ending and preventing war and militarism. To find out what was discussed during the session, check out our First Committee Monitor. You can also find statements, resolutions and more information on RCW’s website.
New resource page on Ukraine, Russia and nuclear dangers
WILPF has recently launched a new resource page called “Ukraine, Russia and nuclear dangers.” The page contains an analysis of the nuclear risks associated with the conflict in Ukraine, as well as a collection of resources about the risks of nuclear war and the catastrophic consequences it could have. It also offers recommendations for actions people across the globe can take to call for an end to nuclear weapons. Check out the page here.
On 31 October, WILPF Togo organised the workshop "The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in connection with conflict prevention: UNSC Resolution 1325 after 22 years." The workshop is part of activities carried out by the section to raise awareness about the Treaty and the importance of its ratification. Togo signed the Treaty in 2017, but it has not yet ratified it. For Ms. Bassiratou Idrissou-Traoré, President WILFP TOGO, the section "is in advocacy to get the Togolese authorities to ratify this international Treaty" to prove that they fully adhere to this important instrument. (Picture credit: WILPF Togo)
The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) is taking place in Egypt from 6–19 November 2022. WILPF’s delegation is present at the conference, raising awareness about the myriad impacts of militarism on the climate crisis and the wider ecological crisis, and how militarism, environment and gender are connected. WILPF believes that there can be no peace if there is no gender justice or environmental justice, and is once again calling on countries to reduce military spending and to re-allocate it to climate financing and to a gender-responsive just transition. Check out our dedicated page to learn more about how WILPF is working for environmental justice and feminist peace. (Image credit: WILPF)
The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) published the “Informative booklet on abusive masculine behaviour and gender-based gun violence.” The booklet is directed to young people and it contains definitions, key points, questions and activities. According to the network, the notebook can help young people to “express their emotions and think about the kind of world they want to live in, a world where all voices are heard and everyone can express their human rights to peace, safety and security.” The publication is available in English, French and Spanish.
Third Session of the the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction
14–18 November 2022 | New York, USA
20th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT)
15–22 November 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
2022 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
16–18 November 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
Signing ceremony for the Political Declaration on explosive weapons
18 November 2022 | Dublin, Ireland
Ninth Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference
28 November–16 December 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
Informal intersessional meeting of the UN OEWG on ICT
5–9 December 2022 | Online and New York
Events and webinars
INEW Civil Society Forum
17 November 2022 | Dublin, Ireland
Gender equality in the BWC: Moving from words to action
17 November 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
Abolishing State Violence: A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and Cages
28 November 2022 | Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Creation of the “Interparliamentary Circle on Nuclear Disarmament and the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” in France
On 26 October, the French National Assembly launched the “Interparliamentary Circle on Nuclear Disarmament and the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” It is the first time that this kind of parliamentarian initiative is organised in a nuclear-armed state. According to ICAN France, “This group will allow parliamentarians to continue the work carried out in recent years, freely engage in new reflections, continue exchanges with the ICAN Campaign and follow all news related to nuclear proliferation and disarmament.” At the meeting, two new parliamentarians, Hubert Julien-Laferrière and Tematai Le Gayic, signed the ICAN France Parliamentary Appeal, which now has reached 30 signatures.
New series of videos with survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Hiroshima-based Chugoku Shimbun newspaper has recently launched a series of interviews with Hibakusha and peace advocates to raise awareness about the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons use. In the first interview, Hiromu Morishita, 91, speaks about his experience as an atomic bomb survivor, and urges Russia not to use nuclear weapons. Five other interviews have also been published by the newspaper, in which survivors share their experience and call for the elimination of nuclear weapons. All interviews are available in English, Russian, and Japanese.
Belgian organisations protest against nuclear exercise by NATO
On 19 October, the Belgian Coalition Against Nuclear Weapons protested in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels against “Steadfast Noon,” an annual nuclear air strike simulation exercise conducted by NATO. The group protested against the normalisation of such exercise, and the dowplay of the use and danger of nuclear weapons. It further added that “the presence of these weapons in Belgium, their imminent replacement with more modern B61-12 bombs and the holding of such exercises are explicit violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Civil society protests against militarisation of the Korean Peninsula
As the tensions in the Korean Peninsula escalate with the conduct of military exercises in the region by both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) jointly with the United States (US), civil society continue mobilise against the militarisation of the region. On October 27, after the announcement of ROK-US large-scale air drills to take place in the region, civil society groups held a joint press conference in front of the ROK’s President office to call for the end of an arms race in the region. A few days earlier, some members of the group, including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, also organised a webinar titled “US-China Competition and the Korean Peninsula: From Confrontation to Peacebuilding,” in which the panellists discussed the implications of the US-China rivalry on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the opportunity that regional peacebuilding presents for US-China cooperation. (Picture credit: Korea Peace Appeal Campaign)
Australia abstains during voting of the TPNW resolution for the first time
A welcome development took place at this year’s First Committee during the voting of resolution L.17 “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” when Australia changed its position of traditionally voting against the resolution and abstained from it for the first time. By doing this, Australia became the first state with an “extended nuclear deterrence” arrangement with the United States to abstain from the resolution. A few days later, the US reacted to Australia’s shift, saying that the TPNW could hamper defence arrangements between the US and its allies and warned Australia not to join it. As ICAN Australia Director Gem Romuld said, “It’s no surprise that the US don’t want their allies to sign on, because if we claim protection from their so-called ‘nuclear umbrella’ then it helps justify their continued retention and possible use of these illegal and indiscriminate weapons.” Romuld gave the example of Aotearoa New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines, all US allies that have ratified the Treaty, adding that “a mature relationship and genuine partnership has the capacity to deal with complexity and Australia must not be a nation that facilitates nuclear weapons.”
70 states deliver joint statement on autonomous weapons at the UN General Assembly
During this year’s UNGA First Committee, Ambassador Alexander Kmentt from Austria delivered a statement on behalf of 70 states about autonomous weapons systems. It was the first time that a joint statement on the topic was delivered at the General Assembly. As highlighted by Stop Killer Robots, the statement recognised that AWS raise serious concerns from humanitarian, legal, security, technological and ethical perspectives; it acknowledges the need to maintain human responsibility and accountability in the use of force; and it emphasised the need for internationally agreed rules and limits, including a combination of prohibitions and regulations on autonomous weapons systems.
The significant support for the statement contrasts with the deadlock faced at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), in which states were not able to achieve consensus on how to regulate the issue even after 10 years of discussions. Momentum towards launching negotiations on a new international framework is gathering pace, and a growing number of experts argue that this should be done outside the CCW. That is the main argument of a recent study launched by Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School called “An Agenda for Action: Alternative Processes for Negotiating a Killer Robots Treaty.” In this report, the authors analyse the current challenges faced at the CCW, and suggest possible forums for negotiating a new treaty.
September update of the Explosive Weapons Monitor
The Explosive Weapons Monitor has recently released data that shows that in September 2022, 476 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use worldwide resulted in 2,880 casualties, 77% civilians. Some of the most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Syria, and Ukraine. You can check more information about the number of casualties, location and weapons used at the Monitor’s website. The Explosive Weapons Monitor is a civil society initiative that conducts research and analysis on harms from and practices of explosive weapon use in populated areas for the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW). You can subscribe to receive their bulletin here. (Image credit: @WeaponsMonitor)
Investigation conducted by Amnesty International exposes aviation fuel supply chain linked to air attacks against civilians in Myanmar
Amnesty International conducted an investigation to expose the supply chain of aviation fuel to Myanmar military, which has been using it to conduct a number of air attacks on civilian targets. The findings of the investigations were published in the report “Deadly Cargo: Exposing the Supply Chain that Fuels War Crimes in Myanmar.” It demonstrates that the actions of some companies involved in the supply of aviation fuel to Myanmar link them to the Myanmar military’s commission of war crimes. The organisation urges suppliers of aviation fuel to suspend their shipments to Myanmar in order to prevent further air attacks, which have already caused dozens of civilian deaths.
Israel discloses information about drone operations conducted in the region
During a drone conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 9 November, Israeli Brigadier-General Neri Horowitz said that Israel has used drones for surveillance and strikes against Palestinian militants in Gaza, as reported by Reuters. This information, which previously was not disclosed, was published by the Israeli government last July. Israel also exports drones to Arab countries that have close ties to the country, as said by the Economy Minister Orna Barbivai.
Russian company reports increase of arms sales to civilians
Kalashnikov, the company responsible for the AK-47, has reported an increase in small-arms sales. According to the company, the numbers are a result of exports and sales to civilians overseas. Already in September, the exports to civilian weapons are equal to the total figure for 2021, and the current plan for the production of small arms at the enterprise has become a record high for the past 20 years. The Kalashnikov Group exports its products to more than 27 countries around the world.
New report explores link between military spending and the climate crisis
Transnational Institute, Stop Wapenhaldel, Tipping Point North South, and the Global Campaign on Military Spending published the report “Climate Collateral,” which explores how military spending accelerated climate breakdown. The report analyses the impact that military spending and arms sales have on the capacity to address the climate crisis and to promote social justice. Among its many findings, the report shows that the richest countries are spending 30 times as much on their armed forces as they spend on providing climate finance for the world’s most vulnerable countries. It also demonstrates that one year’s military spending by the top 10 military spenders would pay for promised international climate finance for 15 years.
European Union investigates the use of Pegasus by European states
An investigation conducted by the European Union (EU) concluded that Pegasus, a spying software used to infiltrate mobile phones to extract data, was an integral part of a system to control and even oppress citizens. In the past months, at least four European states—Hungary, Poland, Spain and Greece—have been accused of using Pegasus or equivalent technology against critics of the government. The report also concludes that although not all countries were suspected of the abuse, "we can safely assume that all EU member states have purchased one or more commercial spyware products," as reported by DW, which had access to the report. Sophie in’t Veld, the parliamentarian responsible for the investigation, joined the calls for an immediate moratorium on such spyware pending proper regulation.
European Union proposes action plan to boost its cyber defence capabilities
The European Union (EU) proposed a new policy to address cybersecurity concerns caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The initiative contains measures to boost EU cyber defence capabilities and strengthen coordination and cooperation between the military and civilian cyber communities. According to the EU cybersecurity agency (ENISA), the invasion of Ukraine led to more damaging and widespread cybersecurity attacks in the EU in the year to July.
Paul Meyer, “Cyber Security at the UN General Assembly First Committee – Déjà vu all over again,” ICT4Peace, 11 November 2022
Simon Bagshaw, “Implementing the political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas: Key areas and implementing actions,” Article 36, 10 November 2022
Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, “An Agenda for Action: Alternative Processes for Negotiating a Killer Robots Treaty,” 10 November 2022
Arms Control Association, “A ‘plan B’ to address Iran’s accelerating nuclear program,” 9 November 2022
Podcast: Article 36, “A political declaration: How the explosive weapons issue will shift norms,” 4 November 2022
Webinar: Drone Wars, “Pandora's Box: Reflecting on 20 years of drone targeted killing,” 4 November 2022
Webinar: NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs, “Ukraine and nuclear dangers,” 1 November 2022
IANSA,"Strengthening controls on civilian-held small arms to decrease the human costs of armed violence," 31 October 2022
Bonnie Docherty and Alicia Sanders-Zakre, “The origins and influence of victim assistance: Contributions of the Mine Ban Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Cambridge University Press, 27 October 2022
Human Rights Watch and International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, “Safeguarding Civilians,” 26 October 2022
Podcast: Council on Foreign Relations, “The Cost of the US arms trade,” 26 October 2022
IANSA, “Post-shipment control of small arms and light weapons,” 21 October 2022
IANSA, “Informative booklet on abusive masculine behaviour and gender-based gun violence,” 20 October 2022
François Diaz-Maurin, “Nowhere to hide: How a nuclear war would kill you - and almost everyone else,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20 October 2022
Podcast: BBC, “Living in the shadow of the bomb,” 14 October 2022
Video: IANSA, “All voices heard: United against gun violence!” 4 October 2022