International gatherings on the “humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons” to be held in Oslo, Norway in March

by Tomomitsu Miyazaki, Senior Staff Writer

Hosted by the government of Norway, an international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons will be held on March 4 and 5 in Oslo, the capital. Participants of the conference will include representatives of national governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Discussions will be held on such subjects as the medical consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation, and the participants will seek to create a road map for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Immediately prior to this gathering, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an NGO, will host the Civil Society Forum in Oslo on March 2 and 3, focusing on the same theme of humanitarian consequences. Taking part, and engaging in discussion, will be antinuclear and peace organizations.

Both the conference and the forum are aimed at strengthening international public opinion for the realization of a nuclear weapons convention prior to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in April and May of this year.

The international conference will hold three working sessions: “The immediate humanitarian and medical impact of a nuclear weapon detonation”; “The wider impact with regard to the environment, the global economy, and public health”; and “The humanitarian preparedness and response in the event of a nuclear weapon detonation.” Representatives of national governments, international organizations, and NGOs will hold discussions based on information provided by experts. The event will then wrap up with a session for conclusions and final remarks.

According to an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Japan will take part in the conference and do all that it can to contribute to the proceedings.

The Civil Society Forum will involve speeches, workshops, and discussions. Based on the strength of humanitarian arguments, which international NGOs contend successfully moved disarmament negotiations forward in the banning of landmines in the 1990s and cluster bombs in the 2000s, ICAN and other NGOs intend to take the same approach when it comes to outlawing nuclear weapons.

International conference “Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons”
Oslo, Norway, March 4-5, 2013

March 4
10:00 a.m. Opening
11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Working session I
The immediate humanitarian impact of a nuclear weapon detonation
2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Working session II
The wider impact and longer-term consequences
6:30 p.m. Reception

March 5
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Working Session III
Humanitarian preparedness and response
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Conclusion and final remarks

(The above schedule has been compiled based on information at the website of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from other sources.)

(Originally published on January 21, 2013)