The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons


Campaign Overview

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.

ICAN began in Australia and was formally launched in Austria in April 2007. Our campaign’s founders were inspired by the tremendous success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which a decade earlier had played an instrumental role in the negotiation of the anti-personnel mine ban convention, or Ottawa treaty.

Since our founding, we have worked to build a powerful global groundswell of public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. By engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments, we have helped reshape the debate on nuclear weapons and generate momentum towards elimination.

We were awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for our “work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” and our “ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

Humanitarian focus

At a review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2010, all nations expressed their deep concern at the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of any use of nuclear weapons – a statement that led to the convening of three major conferences in 2013 and 2014 focusing on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear detonations.

ICAN served as the civil society coordinator for each of the conferences, which brought together most of the world’s governments, along with international organizations and academic institutions. We helped garner the support of 127 nations for a humanitarian pledge to fill the gap in the existing legal regime governing nuclear weapons.

Building on the outcomes of the humanitarian conferences, ICAN campaigned for the establishment of a special UN working group to examine specific proposals for advancing nuclear disarmament. This body met in Geneva in February, May and August 2016, and issued a report recommending the negotiation of a nuclear ban treaty.

Our campaign then successfully lobbied for the UN General Assembly to adopt a landmark resolution in December 2016 to launch negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons” – heralding an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.

Throughout the negotiating process, ICAN worked alongside governments to achieve the strongest, most effective treaty possible. Around two-thirds of the world’s nations voted in favour of adopting the agreement. Our focus now is on persuading nations to sign and ratify it, and then to work for its full implementation. 

How we work

ICAN is a coalition consisting of several hundred non-government organizations, from local peace groups to global federations representing millions of people. An international steering group and staff team coordinate the campaign’s activities. Our main office is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

We organize global days of action, hold public awareness-raising events, and engage in advocacy at the United Nations and in national parliaments. We work with survivors of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of nuclear tests, helping share their testimonies with the public and decision makers.

Many prominent people have lent their support to ICAN, including Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, musician Herbie Hancock, artist Yoko Ono, and actors Martin Sheen and Michael Douglas. The UN secretary-general praised ICAN in 2012 “for working with such commitment and creativity in pursuit of our shared goal”.

To find out more visit:

World Beyond War Conference - Toronto 21-23 September 2018
Proposal for NZ Peace Rep. Laurie Ross to attend

World Beyond War


1) To support the World Beyond War organisation, the STOP WAR conference and the work of civil society to achieve this goal.

2) To provide my experience of 37 years as a leading NZ Nuclear Free Peaceworker at this WBW landmark event for helping humanity free itself from the dominance of violence and warfare.

3) To network and develop personal relationships with Key People working for a World Beyond War 
especially in Canada which is my native land and Toronto my birthplace.

4) To help Coordinate an International Strategy Plan for achieving political policies that reject warfare defence ideology and provide viable alternatives to war within and between countries.


1) Laurie will organise new Peace Events, plus provide Public Speaking and Political Advocacy services through the UNA NZ and the Peace Foundation educating civil society to stop warfare.

2) Investing in New Zealanders who are accomplished Peaceworkers so they become more effective in working together both in NZ and overseas. Laurie is on a team of 3 leading NZ Peace workers.

3) Developing NZ's Defence and Foreign policy on Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding for a World Beyond War, working with the UN and international community of nations.

Support Organisations and Referrals: The Peace Foundation Manager-Chris Le Breton  ph: 022 689 7107 (78 Pitt St. Auckland 1010) UNA NZ (NRB President) Dr. Pedram Pirnia  ph: 027 466 1031


$ 2340   Airfares  NZ-Toronto Return
$   682   Hotel accomodation 6 nights @$147 per day (approx.)
$   200   Shuttles/transport (4) to/from airports and venues
$   200   WBW Conference registration/sponsor and materials
$   250   Meals approx. $50 per day x 5 days
$ 3672   TOTAL  (tbc)
$   500   Possible extra Flight to New York for UN Nuclear Abolition Day 26th Sept. UN Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons event ceremony (incl. Attendance, accomodation etc.)
$ 4172   NEW TOTAL

Funds raised will go towards the costs of attending the WBW conference, airfares, accomodation for Laurie Ross. Payment to: ASB New Zealand Peacemakers #12-3051-0247322-00 or you can make a donation at 'givealittle' ...
Give a Little


Laurie has an extensive track record of written REPORTING in detail on all her Peace Projects over the last decade and beyond. 
More info. contact:   

Nuclear Free Banner

Nuclear ban treaty adopted: New Zealand plays a leading role

“New Zealand brings to this negotiation our long and proud history as a strong supporter of nuclear disarmament, as a member of our regional Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga), and on the basis of our guiding domestic legislation – the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act, 1987. We look forward to playing an active and constructive part in this negotiation alongside all colleagues here - including our valued civil society partners who have made such a strong contribution to our work to date.” - New Zealand statement to the first negotiation session of the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, 28 March 2017

Almost 72 years since the day of the first atomic bomb detonation, a legally binding nuclear ban treaty with the potential to end the threat of global devastation on an unimaginable scale has finally been achieved.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted last night by 122 states during the final session of the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination, in New York.

As the vote to adopt the Treaty text approached, the President of the UN Conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez (Costa Rica), stressed the importance of putting an international legal norm in place as a first step towards achieving a nuclear weapons-free world, and described the Treaty as “a historic event for humanity”.

New Zealand was a Vice President of the UN Conference and played a leading role in building support for a ban treaty, with the MFAT disarmament team working tirelessly over the past five years as the humanitarian disarmament initiative to ban nuclear weapons gathered momentum to achieve this long awaited and crucial goal - its potential to end the threat of nuclear destruction is a gift for future generations.

The Treaty bans the development, testing, production, manufacture, possession, transfer, use or threat of use, deployment, installation or stationing of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, as well as assistance, encouragement or inducement of any of these prohibited activities. It provides a pathway for nuclear-armed states to join the Treaty and destroy their nuclear weapons in a time-bound, verifiable and irreversible manner.

The Treaty recognizes the ethical imperatives for nuclear disarmament, the urgency of achieving a nuclear weapon-free world, and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. It acknowledges the unacceptable suffering of the atomic bomb and nuclear test survivors, and the disproportionate impact that nuclear weapons and related activities have on indigenous peoples, women and girls.

The Treaty contains provisions for assistance to those affected by nuclear weapons testing and use, as well as for environmental remediation of areas affected by nuclear weapons testing or use - a welcome development for the Pacific, a region that has been irreparably harmed by more than 350 full scale nuclear weapon detonations conducted by Britain, France and the USA since 1 July 1946.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will open for signature on 20 September 2017, and we anticipate that New Zealand will be one the first states to sign and ratify it. The Treaty will enter into force 90 days after the 50th ratification.


Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (A/CONF.229/2017/L.3/Rev.1) -

‘Nuclear ban treaty adopted: New Zealand plays a leading role’, iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand, 8 July 2017 - online at - the formatted edition for printing will be available on at later today

‘UN conference adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons’, UN News, 7 July 2017 -

‘“Historic" treaty on banning nuclear weapons adopted at UN’, United Nations Radio, 7 July 2017 -

Press briefing by Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez (Costa Rica), President of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading towards Their Total Elimination, 6 July 2017 -

New Zealand and the new United Nations treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons 

On July 7, 2017, the United Nations adopted a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (nuclear ban treaty) following 5 weeks of negotiations.

122 countries voted in favour of the treaty, demonstrating the clear and unequivocal acceptance of the majority of UN members never to use, threaten to use, produce, possess, acquire, transfer, test or deploy nuclear weapons. The treaty will be open for signature on September 20 and will enter-into-force once 50 States ratify.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that ‘The treaty represents an important  step and contribution towards the common aspiration of a world without nuclear weapons.’

The New Zealand government and civil society experts from New Zealand played key roles in the process leading up to the negotiations and in the negotiations themselves.

30th anniversary of New Zealand’s prohibition on nuclear weapons

The negotiations in New York took place as New Zealand was commemorating the 30th anniversary of its historical legislation prohibiting nuclear weapons. The legislation was controversial back in 1987, splitting New Zealand off from its allies including the United States and Australia, but gaining respect for New Zealand from the majority of the world’s countries that even then were nuclear-free. Now 30 years later these non-nuclear States are ready to take the next step to prohibit the weapons.

Commemorations around the country highlighted the ban treaty as a new opportunity to ‘export’ New Zealand’s nuclear weapons ban to the world.

‘New Zealand has led the way, but now wants the rest of the world to follow” said Hon Phil Goff, the Mayor of Auckland and former Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaking at a 30th anniversary commemoration organised by the NZ Peace Foundation.

‘New Zealand has followed up its legislation by taking leadership in global nuclear disarmament initiatives, such as cases against nuclear weapons in the International Court of Justice, and now these nuclear weapons prohibition negotiations,’ said Dr Kate Dewes, Co-Chair of the Disarmament and Security Centre, and Leader of the New Zealand civil society delegation to the ban treaty negotiations.

‘The New Zealand Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Act of 1987 provides an exemplary model of prohibition measures to be adopted in the ban treaty,’ said Alyn Ware, New Zealand disarmament expert in New York for the negotiations. ‘The Act not only prohibits the manufacture, possession, transit or control over any nuclear weapons in New Zealand. It also prohibits anyone from assisting others in such activitiesThe New Zealand experience demonstrates that it is possible for countries to implement such prohibitions.’

Impact on the nuclear-armed States

The nuclear-armed and allied States opposed the treaty, and are unlikely to join. As such, they will not be bound by its provisions. Regardless, adoption of the treaty strengthens the global norm against nuclear weapons, and could impact on the policies and practices of the nuclear-armed States.

According to the Disarmament and Security Centre: ‘The Treaty strongly stigmatises nuclear weapons, bringing them closer to other indiscriminate, inhumane weapons that are banned under international law, such as chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Prohibiting nuclear weapons will help to build political will for disarmament, and is a vital next step towards a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention that would provide for their complete elimination, like the enforceable conventions that exist to eliminate other weapons of mass destruction.’

The United Nations will hold a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in 2018 with the principal goal of advancing negotiations on such a nuclear weapons convention. The nuclear-armed and allied States are expected to participate in the 2018 High-Level Conference (HLC) despite boycotting the negotiations on the nuclear ban treaty.

‘The ban treaty could help build the political momentum to push the nuclear-armed States to adopt significant measures at the 2018 UN High Level Conference,’ says Alyn Ware, speaking at a side event on the 2018 HLC held during the ban treaty negotiations.  ‘Already parliaments in the nuclear-armed States are starting to ask their governments what they will deliver in terms of nuclear disarmament measures at the 2018 UNHLC.’

The ban treaty could also impact directly on the policies and practices of the nuclear armed States if the States parties to the treaty include in their national implementation measures a prohibition on financing of nuclear weapons and on transit of nuclear weapons through their territories, airspace and territorial waters.

Many of the countries supporting the nuclear prohibition treaty have public funds (such as national pension funds), and banks operating in their countries, that invest in corporations manufacturing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. So far, a handful of countries including New Zealand have divested public funds from these corporations. If they are joined by a sizeable percentage of the countries ratifying the ban treaty, this will have significant impact on the nuclear weapons corporations and their lobbying power.

The experience of New Zealand in prohibiting port visits and transit of nuclear weapons, and in divesting from nuclear weapons corporations, was presented to the UN negotiations on the ban treaty by civil society representatives, and could be very helpful to other countries as they undertake their ratification process. (See UN nuclear ban treaty negotiations: transit, threat and nuclear weapons financing).

Background to the ban treaty process

The ban treaty process has been driven by a growing recognition of the risks and catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons use, and by frustration amongst non-nuclear States at the failure of the nuclear-armed States to deliver on their obligations to negotiate and achieve comprehensive nuclear disarmament.

Earlier this year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to move the hands of their ‘Doomsday Clock’ to 2½ minutes to midnight, highlighting the growing risks of a nuclear catastrophe due increasingly unstable leadership of nuclear-armed States and increased conflicts and tensions between Russia and the West, North Korea and its neighbours, India and Pakistan and between China and others in the South China sea.

In 2010, the States Parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) concluded that any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences, and agreed that ‘All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.’

This opened the door to non-nuclear States taking the lead in a series of UN Open Ended Working Groups (OEWGs) on taking forward nuclear disarmament negotiations, without having to wait for agreement from the nuclear-armed States. These OEWGs resulted in a decision to negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons (ban treaty) under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.

The decision differed from previous calls by the United Nations to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention (a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons) in two key ways:

  1. a nuclear weapons convention would require the participation of some, if not all, of the nuclear-armed States, where-as the ban treaty could be negotiated without them;
  2. the ban treaty would prohibit nuclear weapons, but would not include provisions for their elimination, as such provisions would require the agreement of the nuclear-armed States.

The negotiations would also differ from those that take place in the traditional disarmament forums, the Conference on Disarmament and the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences, which generally operate by consensus. The ban treaty negotiations would be undertaken under UN General Assembly rules of procedure which allow for a vote on the final outcome, and so cannot be blocked by those who oppose.

New Zealand and the ban treaty

The New Zealand government contributed strongly to this process by being one of the leaders in the OEWGs and the ban treaty negotiations. New Zealand was also among the leaders of the humanitarian initiative which helped build political will to pursue this new disarmament initiative, and served as a vice-president of the negotiating conference for the nuclear weapon prohibition.

The New Zealand government can continue to play a lead role in implementation and follow-up by:

  1. signing the Treaty as soon as it opens for signature on 20 September 2017;
  2. amending the 1987 NZ Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act to incorporate our ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
  3. providing assistance to other States in their ratification process by offering the experience of New Zealand in prohibiting nuclear weapons, including port visits and transit, and in divesting from nuclear weapons corporations;
  4. announcing that New Zealand will participate in the 2018 UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament at the highest level, calling on other States to also participate at the highest level and to use the occasion to either sign or ratify the ban treaty, or to adopt other significant measures at the UNHLC.

New Zealand non-governmental experts and advocates also played key roles, including in leadership positions of international non-governmental organisations (Abolition 2000, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear ArmsParliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and DisarmamentUNFOLD ZEROUNIDIRWorld Future Council and others) which promoted and participated in the OEWG and ban treaty negotiations.

New Zealand non-governmental experts participating in the ban treaty negotiations in New York, submitted working papers, made interventions to the plenary sessions of the negotiations, helped present international petitions/letters and organised side-events. These included:

Working papers:


International petitions/letters:

Side events:

New Zealanders are also very active in follow-up and implementation of the ban treaty. See Disarmament and Security Centre press release on the adoption of the ban treaty,  Making use of the nuclear ban treaty and Ban treaty opens the door to global nuclear divestment campaign.

22-24 September 2017 - #NoWar2017 Conference in Washington, D.C.

World Beyond War

Following the International Day of Peace, and in the tradition of No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism, and the best speech any U.S. president ever gave, this year’s conference will focus on activism, including activist planning workshops, addressing how the antiwar and environmental movements can work together. Read more ...

Learn More

To learn more about the international movement to abolish nuclear weapons and warfare: 

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