Chair’s summary Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
Oslo, 4.–5. mars 2013
The Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Oslo 4–5 March 2013 has heard presentations from a wide range of experts on the various effects of nuclear weapon detonations. Presentations have covered preparedness and first-line response as well as the medium- and long-term humanitarian, developmental and environmental effects.
The objective has been to present a facts-based understanding of the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapon detonations and to facilitate an informed discussion of these effects with stakeholders from states, the United Nations, other international organisations and civil society.
Delegations representing 127 states, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and civil society participated in the conference. It is the chair’s view that 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 to us all.
Some key points can be 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.
This conference aimed at presenting key aspects of the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation. During the discussions a number of states expressed an interest in further exploring this important issue in ways that ensure global participation. States expressed their interest in continuing the discussions, and to broaden the discourse on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The chair welcomes the offer from Mexico to host a follow-up meeting to this conference. The chair also welcomes the intention expressed by other states to organise events on this subject.