Nations without nuclear capacity could help the world rid itself of atomic armaments, a senior Norwegian researcher says.
“Africa and Latin America are providing the much-needed leadership to push these international efforts. In doing so, they will prevent putting public health at risk, potentially caused by using nuclear weapons,” Sverre Lodgaard, senior research fellow at Norway’s Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) tells The Foreigner.
His remarks come following the two-day ‘Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons’ conference held in Oslo this week, hosted by Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
Around 130 states and several UN agencies presented their findings on the environmental, developmental, and health consequences of nuclear detonations.
According to Mr Lodgaard, the conference was called at an hour when the world sits on a bed of nuclear weapons with its time ticking slowly but surely towards a catastrophic future.
“Very few understand the implications of the armaments race, especially picking up in Far-East countries,” he declares.
As the conference progressed, many states expressed a sense of shared responsibility, to act to prevent any accidental or intentional use of these weapons of mass destruction.
The event was also intended to be a starting-point for urgent action to ban nuclear weapons, as well as trying to win public opinion in favour of this.
But nuclear weapon states may argue that this veto could affect civil nuclear facilities, apart from putting their countries at risk from certain aggressor countries with nuclear weapons capability.
“I don’t agree that a ban on nuclear weapons means one on civil nuclear facilities. The nuclear-armed states did not attend the conference, but the talks were to look into the core of what vital interests involve with regards to the civil nuclear facilities.”
In response to how he thinks the event’s aim to ban nuclear weapons could be made effective, the researcher answered that “geopolitics is a major concern now. It’s important to monitor countries with nuclear power like China in the East for this reason.”
“Ambitions of the non-nuclear states is to approach an issue as complex as this from many different angles. I believe that countries like US and Russia can play a major part in bringing nuclear weapon states to the table and show them reason to cut down on their atomic armaments,” Mr Lodgaard says.
“President Obama, who is individually motivated but has not got a green signal from various government lobbies, wishes both the US and Russia to cut down on their armaments bringing them to below the 1,000 mark.”
Why was the conference convened now?
“I think it was called at a very good time, as everyone was making light of the situation at hand. It’s the first time that states have come together to consider the humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons,” declares NUPI’s Sverre Lodgaard.
“[Nonetheless,] the P5 (China, France, Russia, UK, US) have missed an opportunity for dialogue here by not showing up. Their absence didn’t prevent the conference from moving forward, though. On the contrary, Mexico will be hosting this conference’s follow-up session,” explains Mr Lodgaard.