Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, at the conference. Photo: Kilian Munch/Gyro
The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Espen Barth Eide hosted 4-5 March 2013 an international Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
The Conference provided an arena for a fact-based discussion of the humanitarian and developmental consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation. Delegates from 127 countries as well as several UN organisations, the International Red Cross movement, representatives of civil society and other relevant stakeholders participated.
Summarising the Conference, Mr. Barth Eide observed: “This broad participation reflects the increasing global concern regarding the effects of nuclear weapons detonations, as well as the recognition that this is an issue of fundamental significance for us all.”
The Conference heard presentations from a wide range of experts on the various effects of nuclear weapons detonations. Three key points were discerned from the presentations and the discussions:
- It is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected. Moreover, it might not be possible to establish such capacities, even if it were attempted. ·
- The historical experience from the use and testing of nuclear weapons has demonstrated their devastating immediate and long-term effects. While political circumstances have changed, the destructive potential of nuclear weapons remains. ·
- The effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, irrespective of cause, will not be constrained by national borders, and will affect states and people in significant ways, regionally as well as globally.
A number of states expressed an interest in further exploring these issues, and broaden the discourse on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. During the final session of the Conference, the Government of Mexico announced that they will host a follow-up conference.
See more photos from the conference on Flickr.
From the Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. (Photo: Mari Nordmo, MFA)