Nuclear Weapons and the Environment

New York, 16 April 2002

In a colourful lunch hour ceremony on 16 April, Conference Room 4 was transformed from its main role as the official hall of the NPT PrepCom, when Jane GoDDAll, internationally renowned primatologist and defender of the natural habitat, presented the inaugural Alan Cranston Peace Award to the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala. 

Ms. GoDDAll was at the United Nations, having just been appointed by the Secretary-General as a Messenger of Peace. In presenting the award, she stressed the danger to the environment represented by nuclear weapons and their tests, as well as nuclear waste. 

Award ceremony for Alan Cranston Peace Award. From left to right: Kim Cranston, Jayantha Dhanapala, Jane GoDDAll and Jonathan Granoff

She presented the award in the name of the Global Security Institute (GSI), an organization focusing on peace and security issues. It works to fulfill the vision of its founder, the deceased American Senator Alan Cranston, to bring about a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons, and to base international security on notions other than terror and annihilation. 

Kim Cranston, son of the late Senator, and Chair of GSI, addressed the crowded assembly regarding the nature of the Award, explaining that its purpose is to honour visionary leaders who share his father’s conviction that “nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization” and who, through their efforts, have made significant advancements in reducing the dangers these weapons pose. 

Mr. Dhanapala delivered a stirring call for nuclear disarmament as a legal and moral imperative. 

For the statement of Ms. GoDDAll, see www.gsinstitute.org.

For the statement of the Under-Secretary-General, see http://www.un.org/disarmament/HomePage/SG/sgstatements.shtml.