(12) Disarmament and Non- Proliferation Education and Cooperation with Civil Society
Regarding cooperation with civil society in nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, the involvement of civil society in the process of formulating the TPNW was notable. In 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of numerous face-to-face meetings on disarmament and nonproliferation, many meetings, including side events of the UNGA First Committee, were held virtually. Many of the side events were attended by government officials, experts, and civil society, including NGOs. Still, it cannot be denied that the inability to hold face-to- face meetings has resulted in not a few constraints and limitations regarding interactions between civil society and government.
Japan, which held the “Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament” from 2017 through 2019, hosted the second “Track 1.5 Meeting for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament” virtually in March 2021. The meeting was attended by Gustavo Zlauvinen (President-designate of the 10th NPR Review Conference), Izumi Nakamitsu (Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs of the UN), government officials from the five NWS and six NNWS (Australia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico and the Netherlands), and fifteen Japanese and international experts. The participants discussed ways to achieve a meaningful outcome at the NPT RevCon, with the aim of contributing to confidence-building and the formation of common ground among nations toward the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.229
Japan also hosted its third meeting virtually in December, which was attended by Slauvinen, Nakamitsu, government officials from five NWS and 10 NNWS (including Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, the Netherlands and South Africa), and 13 Japanese and international experts. After Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s opening remarks, the participants discussed the possible outcomes of the NPT RevCon scheduled in January 2022, in particular the balanced outcomes of the three pillars of the NPT (disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful use) and the way forward in the field of nuclear disarmament based on Article VI of the NPT.230
In June 2021, South Korea and the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) co-hosted a Youth Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, in which 25 young people from 22 countries participated. They discussed ways to enhance international disarmament and non-proliferation as well as synergy among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), new and emerging technologies, and gender issues.231
At the 2021 UNGA, the resolution “Youth, Disarmament and nonproliferation” was adopted by consensus.232 The resolution, inter alia, encourages UN Member States, the United Nations and other organizations to continue to promote the meaningful and inclusive participation of young people in discussions in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation through dialogue platforms, mentoring, internships, fellowships, scholarships, model events and youth group activities; and called upon them to consider developing and implementing policies and programs for young people to increase and facilitate their constructive engagement of young people in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.
Regarding cooperation with civil society, one of the important efforts that governments must make is to provide more information on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation matters. Among those surveyed in this report, the following countries have set up a section or sections on disarmament and non-proliferation on their official English-language homepages and posted enlightening information: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, the UNGA resolutions on nuclear disarmament proposed by Japan and the NAC, respectively, mentioned the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education.
Finally, a few countries started to legislate “divestment” against organizations or companies involved in producing nuclear weapons. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) annual report published in November 2021, 338 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers invested over USD $685 billion in the top 25 nuclear weapon producers since 2019.233
229 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “The 2nd Track 1.5 Meeting for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament,” March 10, 2021, https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press3e_000185.html.
230 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “The 3rd Track 1.5 Meeting for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament,” December 10, 2021, https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/dns/ac_d/page4_005470. html. (in Japanese)
231 “Youth Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Takes Place,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ROK, July 1, 2021, https://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do?seq=321738.
232 A/RES/76/45, December 6, 2021.
233 ICAN and PAX, Perilous Profiteering: The Companies Building Nuclear Arsenals and Their Financial Backers, November 2021. According to the ICAN and Pax report published in June 2019, 325 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers invested over US$ 748 billion in the top 18 nuclear weapon producers from January 2017 through January 2019. (ICAN and PAX, Shorting Our Security-Financing the Companies that Make Nuclear Weapons, June 2019.) In November 2021, it was reported that “Norway’s largest pension fund KLP … would no longer invest in 14 major weapons makers and their suppliers, including Raytheon Technologies Corporation and Rolls-Royce.” (Victoria Klesty, “Nordic Fund KLP Excludes 14 Weapons Companies on Ethical Grounds,” Reuters, November 4, 2021, https://www.reuters. com/business/nordic-fund-klp-excludes-14-weapons-companies-ethical-grounds-2021-11-04/.)