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Latin American and Caribbean Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Wins
Top Disarmament Award as Argentina, New Zealand Take Silver
NEW YORK/HAMBURG/GENEVA, 23 October (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) was today proclaimed winner of the 2013 Future Policy Award for sustainable disarmament, beating 24 other nominated policies to the prize. The award will be presented at a ceremony this evening at United Nations Headquarters by the World Future Council, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Silver awards were granted to Argentina’s National Programme for the Voluntary Surrender of Firearms and New Zealand’s Nuclear-Free Zone, Arms Control, and Disarmament Act while four additional disarmament policies from Belgium, Costa Rica, Mongolia and Mozambique/South Africa were recognized as Honourable Mentions.
The Treaty of Tlatelolco (1967) won the Gold Award for its invaluable contribution to advancing regional peace and security as well as creating a precedent and inspiration for subsequent nuclear-weapon-free zones. The nuclear arms race and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis had prompted Latin American Governments to begin a process which would ensure that the region would never again become the scene of a nuclear conflict. These efforts culminated in the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established the first nuclear-weapons-free zones in a highly populated area.
As one of the architects of the Treaty, Mexico’s Nobel Prize-winning Ambassador Alfonso García Robles explained: “It provides profitable lessons for all States wishing to contribute to the broadening of the areas of the world from which those terrible instruments of mass destruction that are nuclear weapons would be forever proscribed.”
Chair of the World Future Council, Jakob von Uexkull, noted how the Future Policy Award “highlights the importance of best practice in law-making and identifies outstanding examples of regulatory vision. It demonstrates that, when public and political will meet, positive change can happen. We now need to work to spread such best policies across the planet.” It is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level.
Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, remarked in addition, “Democracy cannot exist without peace. Citizens everywhere are struggling for both in a world rife with all kinds of conflict. Courageous leadership on disarmament that forges new paths to a brave, new and peaceful world is desperately needed. This Future Policy Award is an opportunity to inspire others to take that critical bold first step. We hope they take it.”
The United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, concluded: “This year’s Future Policy Award underscores how progress in disarmament — especially nuclear disarmament — can deliver global benefits for sustainable development. While the honoured recipients will receive special recognition, the real winners are the citizens of our common planet. I hope the Award will inspire new progress in this field. When disarmament moves forward, the world moves forward.”
The World Future Council will now work to spread such best policies around the world by assisting policymakers in their development and implementation.
The outstanding success of Argentina’s National Programme for the Voluntary Surrender of Firearms (Law 26.216, 2006) was recognized with a Silver Award. Ongoing and effective collaboration between Argentina’s National Arms Registry (RENAR) and the civil society Argentine Disarmament Network (RAD) in the implementation of a gun and ammunition buyback has led to the impressive destruction of over 148,000 firearms and one million ammunition units. Mobile reception points have allowed the programme to visit towns and cities all over Argentina, not only to destroy the firearms, but also to educate the public at large on the risks of having a weapon in the home and promote a culture of peace.
The 1987 New Zealand Nuclear-Free Zone, Arms Control, and Disarmament Act was granted a Silver Award for one of the strongest existing legal prohibitions against nuclear arms, its strong normative effects on building the nuclear prohibition principle and setting a precedent for other countries to follow. The policy’s Silver Award reinforces the words of the former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, who said: “Our nuclear free status is a statement of our belief that we and our fellow human beings can build the institutions which will one day allow us all to renounce the weapons of mass destruction. We are a small country and what we can do is limited. But in this as in every other great issue, we have to start somewhere.”
Policies which received an Honourable Mention are Belgium’sLaw on Anti-personnel Mines, 1995, and its Law regulating Economic and Individual Activities with Weapons, 2006, which serves to ban cluster munitions; Costa Rica’sAbolition of the Army as enshrined in Article 12 of its Constitution, 1949; the Law of Mongolia on its nuclear-weapon-free status, 2000; and Mozambique and South Africa’s Agreement in Respect of Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in the field of Crime Combating (Operation Rachel), 1995.
The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policymaking. It is comprised of 50 eminent members from around the globe who have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany. For more information, visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs provides substantive and organizational support for norm-setting in the area of disarmament through the work of the General Assembly and its First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and other bodies. It fosters disarmament measures through dialogue, transparency and confidence-building on military matters, and encourages regional disarmament efforts. It also provides objective, impartial and up-to-date information on multilateral disarmament issues and activities to Member States; States parties to multilateral agreements; intergovernmental organizations and institutions; departments and agencies of the United Nations system; research and educational institutions; civil society, especially non-governmental organizations; the media; and the general public.
As the global organization of national parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (www.ipu.org) works to establish democracy, peace and cooperation among peoples by uniting members to drive positive change. A commitment to peace dating back to IPU’s inception in 1889 forms the bedrock of the Organization. Over the years, IPU members have made a particular push to ensure global peace and security through various political resolutions on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament that commit them to pursuing a nuclear-free world. These have been followed by working on practical measures that parliaments can take to advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda.
The Future Policy Award is designed to alert policymakers and the public to the importance of best practice in lawmaking and highlight outstanding examples of regulatory vision. The Award draws attention to existing sustainable policies and demonstrates that when political will is asserted, positive change can happen. Celebrating visionary policies raises public awareness, encourages rapid learning and speeds up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies. For more information, visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future_policy_award.html.
The annual observance of Disarmament Week, which begins on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, 24 October, was called for in the Final Document of the General Assembly 1978 special session on disarmament (resolution S-10/2). All Member States and civil society organizations are invited to highlight the danger of the arms race, propagate the need for its cessation and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament.
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