The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the unanimous decision made today by Manchester City Council to formally support the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). NFLA calls on the UK Government to engage with the majority will of United Nations (UN) member states by engaging in a process they have currently boycotted. (1)
The TPNW was agreed at the UN by 122 countries (including the Republic of Ireland) in July 2017 and is currently being ratified, a process that is expected to conclude in 2019. The Treaty is a concerted attempt to move forward with multilateral nuclear disarmament, but it has been opposed at every stage by the nuclear weapon states, including the United Kingdom. NATO members, and states like Australia and Japan who are linked to American security policies, have also opposed this process.
As the resolution notes, Manchester is a founder member and the host of the NFLA and is a Vice President of Mayors for Peace. NFLA is also a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its lobbying work in seeking the agreement and full ratification of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty.
In August, a number of American cities such as Los Angeles and Baltimore passed resolutions supporting the TPNW, and that has now been followed up by similar resolutions passed in November by the Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle and the Canadian city Toronto. Manchester’s resolution today makes it the first European city to formally support the TPNW. A number of other NFLA and Mayors for Peace members in the UK are in the process of passing similar resolutions, and other European Mayors for Peace Vice Presidents are also about to imminently pass resolutions supporting the TPNW as well. NFLA members in Ireland do not have to pass such resolutions as the Irish Government is in the process of fully ratifying the Treaty through the Dail with cross-party support.
At a recent UCLG Global Conference in Madrid, ICAN launched its ‘Cities Appeal’ encouraging town, city and county councils to pass resolutions to support the TPNW, and both NFLA and the Mayors for Peace have formally endorsed ICAN’s initiative. (2)
Manchester’s resolution also calls for a change in UK defence policy away from the expensive development of a Trident replacement programme in favour of the promotion of multilateral nuclear disarmament. NFLA promotes a policy of defence diversification to protect jobs and supports appropriate initiatives like the Scottish Government’s ‘Just Transition’ programme.
NFLA remains highly concerned with the position of the international debate on nuclear weapons. The United States have recently announced plans to abrogate from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which brought about considerable nuclear disarmament in the 1980s. There also remains real tensions with North Korea’s nuclear weapon programme, and with Iran’s nuclear programme. There is an urgent need for moves to encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament. The TPNW arose from a greater level of understanding of the dire humanitarian consequences of ever using nuclear weapons again in the world. There remain 14,575 nuclear weapons in the world today. (3)
Manchester’s NFLA representative, who proposed the resolution, Councillor Eddy Newman, said: “As one of the signatories to Manchester’s famous 1980 ‘nuclear weapons free city’ resolution that established the NFLA, it is an honour to propose this resolution fully committing the Council to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It allies Manchester with prominent progressive cities around the world and with ICAN’s important Cities Appeal. It also shows our complete solidarity with our fellow Mayors for Peace lead cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who understand the true destructive nature of nuclear warfare. The atomic bomb survivors’ message has been a consistent ‘No More Hiroshimas!’ and ‘No More Nagasakis!’ By the passing of this resolution we stand side by side with them for a more peaceful Manchester, and a more peaceful world. I hope many other towns and cities now follow our lead.”
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“I am delighted to hear that Manchester City Council has unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I know many other NFLA members will be proud to follow their lead. Nuclear weapons are a costly and unnecessary weapon of complete destruction that the world could very much do without. NFLA is proud to work with Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many other towns and cities that call for a different form of defence policy and a new progressive form of international security. Over two thirds of the countries of the world took that brave first step when agreeing to the Treaty last year. I am delighted now that the great towns and cities of the world can show their solidarity with them by passing such resolutions, as I am sure they will do over the next few months.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Manchester City Council resolution passed 28th November, The International Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons:
“Manchester City Council is a founder member and the host of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), and a Vice President of the Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace; both of which have been working for over three decades to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament.
“NFLA and Mayors for Peace work with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work in encouraging over two thirds of United Nations members to agree to the International Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Council regrets that the Governments of the existing nuclear weapon states, including the UK, refuse to support the Treaty. Council fully supports the TPNW as one of the most effective ways to bring about long-term and verifiable multilateral nuclear disarmament.
“Council also calls on the United Kingdom Government to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
- Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
- Cancelling the plan to replace its entire Trident nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons;
- Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals by supporting the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons and the ‘Good Faith’ Protocols within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Council instructs the Chief Executive to write to the UK Government to inform them of this resolution and urge them to take account of it.”
(2) ICAN Cities Appeal, November 2018
http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/los-angeles-sydney-and-toronto-join-new-ican-cities-appeal/ and http://www.icanw.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ICAN-Cities-Appeal.pdf
(3) Ploughshares Fund – https://www.ploughshares.org/world-nuclear-stockpile-report