Information for Councils

ENDORSING THE CITIES APPEAL

The ICAN Cities Appeal is a global call from cities and towns in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Our city/town is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment.

Therefore, we warmly welcome the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 22 January 2021, and we call on our national government to sign and ratify it without delay.

 

Your council can pledge support for the Treaty and call on Australia to sign it, by passing a motion at an upcoming council meeting.

Your motion in support of the Treaty, and celebrating its entry into force could be based on the text below:

Council moves that

1. The 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the first treaty to comprehensively outlaw nuclear weapons and provide a pathway for their elimination.  This Treaty entered into force on 22 January 2021. All national governments are invited to sign and ratify the treaty.

2. Entry into force is an important milestone on the path to a nuclear weapon- free world. It makes concrete the standard that nuclear weapons are illegal and illegitimate for all states, and a permanent part of international law.

3. To commemorate this achievement of global diplomacy, our council endorses the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ‘Cities Appeal’, which reads:

4. Our city/town is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment.

5. Therefore, we warmly welcome the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 22 January 2021, and we call on our national government to sign and ratify it without delay.

    The time for action is now. Help us build support for the Treaty in cities and towns across Australia.

    After the Council or Mayor has decided to endorse the Cities Appeal via a decision or motion, please email jemila@icanw.org.

     

    other council actions

    There are many other ways that councils can continue to show support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and keep the conversation alive in local commnunities.

     

    Australian Local Government Association

    The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is the national voice of local government, representing 537 councils across the country. In structure, we are a federation of state and territory local government associations.  ALGA provides a range of services to our member associations and, through them, local councils throughout Australia. These include:

    1. Representing local government on national bodies and ministerial councils, including representation by our president on the National Federation Reform Council
    2. Policy development to provide a local government perspective on national affairs, as well as providing submissions to government and parliamentary inquiries
    3. Raising the profile and concerns of local government at the national level by lobbying the Australian Government and Parliament on specific issues and running campaigns to secure agreed policy objectives
    4. Providing information on national issues, policies and trends affecting local government, and
    5. Providing forums for local government to guide the development of national local government policies.

    Each year, ALGA convenes a National General Assembly in Canberra. In 2021 the National General Assembly will take place from June 20-23.

    You can read more, and submit a motion in support of Australia joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons here.

    Submissions close 26 March, 2021

     

    Divestment

    The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is already impacting the flow of funds to nuclear arms producing companies. Financial institutions often choose not to invest in “controversial weapons,” which are typically weapons prohibited by international law. The entry into force of the TPNW clearly puts nuclear weapons in this category and will likely trigger additional divestment, including by Australian banks and superannuation funds.

    Councils can take a number of actions to review their investment portfolios and policies to ensure the council funds are nuclear weapons free.

    You can download our 2-page divestment guide for councils here, and review it with your council finance team. 

    Fly the ICAN flag on your council building

    The ICAN Flag was produced to celebrate the Treaty’s adoption at the United Nations, and subsequent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the ICAN movement in 2017.

    Suggested days to fly the flag are:

    January 22 – Anniversary of of the Treaty’s entry into force
    August 6 & 9 – Hiroshima & Nagasaki Anniversaries
    Sepetember 26 – International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
    December 10 – International Human Rights Day

    Please contact jemila@icanw.org to place an order for a flag!

     

     

    FAQ

    Why should councils in both urban and rural areas be involved?

    Cities and towns are champions in challenging the world’s most urgent existential issues. As cities worldwide are nuclear targets, councils have a special responsibility to their constituents to speak out against these instruments of humanitarian harm. The support of cities and towns worldwide will contribute directly to the success of the TPNW. The effects of nuclear weapons do not stop at the city limits, and neither should positive efforts for change. With your participation, we can ensure that Australia gets on the right side of history by signing and ratifying the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

    In instance of a nuclear detonation, the local mayor will be amongst the first leaders expected to coordinate local responses and guide the community.

    The list below, compiled by Mayors for Peace Fremantle, outlines just some of the corrdination efforts that would fall within councils’ responsiblity following the immediate impacts of a nuclear detonation.

        1. Remediating unsafe buildings still standing
        2. Managing street and road debris
        3. Ongoing collection of vast amounts of waste
        4. Identifying safer places to meet and communicate with the community
        5. Licensing temporary food outlets
        6. Hygiene and local sewerage arrangements
        7. Arrangements for triage, temporary hospitals on local parks
        8. Local mass burials
        9. Evacuations
        10. Managing the loss of infrastructure such as traffic lights and telecommunications networks.
        11. Council mental health
        12. Enforcements of curfews
        13. Managing food shortages and redistribution
        14. Managing social unrest
        15. Waste, sewerage, disease
        16. Administering aspects of martial law

    How do we endorse the Cities Appeal?

    After the Council or Mayor has decided to endorse the Cities Appeal via a decision or motion, please email jemila@icanw.org. 

    What is the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

    The TPNW, also known as the nuclear weapon ban treaty, was negotiated and adopted at the United Nations with the support of 122 nations in 2017. It is the first instrument of international law to clearly outlaw the development, possession, hosting, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The ban treaty is a crucial element in efforts to stigmatise and eliminate nuclear weapons. It entered into force and became permanent international law on January 22, 2021.

    The TPNW follows the path that is proving effective for biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. A treaty prohibiting and providing for the elimination of these weapons has been crucial, indeed no other approach has worked. Please check the front page of our website for the up-to-date number of signatories and states parties to the TPNW. While nuclear-armed states are yet to join the treaty, their support was not expected straight away. Like the treaties prohibiting other abhorrent weapons, the TPNW will work over time to strengthen the stigma against nuclear weapons, de-legitimising nuclear deterrence and the very possession of these abhorrent weapons.

     

    Why should Australia sign and ratify it?

    Australia has joined the treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. Australia has already agreed to most of the provisions within the TPNW by joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and has long claimed to support nuclear disarmament. The Australian public supports action on nuclear disarmament. Recent polling indicates 79% of the public want Australia to join the TPNW, with only 8% opposed (Ipsos, November 2018). Current Australian defence policy supports the threat and potential use of nuclear weapons by the United States on Australia’s behalf. Australia can end this policy while maintaining a strong military alliance with the US, as other nations have done. The supposed benefits of nuclear deterrence are ultimately unproven, yet nuclear weapons work to undermine international security and diplomacy. The ban treaty provides the best pathway forward to strengthen the norm against nuclear weapons and pursue their total elimination.

     

    Why is Entry Into Force Significant?