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Information for Councils

about the CITIES APPEAL

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities Appeal is a global call from cities and towns in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Cities Appeal reads:

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.

Check out the list of Australian councils who have endorsed the Cities Appeal and pledged their support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Download this flyer here

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

DRAFT MOTION

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. Further, we endorse the unanimous resolution of the 2021 National General  Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association which calls upon the Federal Government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

6.  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.

 

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

How councils might respond to a nuclear attack

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
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

Why is an ALGA Motion importnant?

The support of the Australian Local Government Association has the potential to contribute directly to the success of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons through;

  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.

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?

 

Divestment options for councils

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 a divestment guide to share with your finance team here.

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.

 

 

Fly the ICAN Flag on your council building

The iconic emblem of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons –  a repentant nuclear missile locked in a peace symbol, was designed for ICAN by Australian artist Neil Campbell and inspired by the symbolic artwork of Peter Kennard and Gerald Holtom and the millions of people around the world who rallied behind the movements for peace and an end of nuclear weapons.

Councils who support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons are invited to fly the ICAN flag on significant days, to promote peace, and share thier commitment to action on nuclear disarmament.

Suggested days to fly the flag are:

  • January 22 – Anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons becoming permanent international law (2021)
  • August 6 – Anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (1945)
  • August 9 – Anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (1945)
  • September 21 – International Day of Peace
  • September 26 – International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Need a flag? Contact jemila@icanw.org

Image: Two ICAN Flags fly outside Hobart Town Hall on Hiroshima Day, 2021.

Australian Local Government Association Resolution at #NGA21

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is the national voice of local government, representing 537 councils across the country. In structure, its is a federation of state and territory local government associations.

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

In June 2021, after several years of local government leadership, a motion in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed unanimously ay this year’s National General Assembly in Canberra. 

Our full response to the resolution is here.

Background information on the Treaty provided by councils in the lead up to the NGA is listed in  the ALGA papers here (see agenda item 61 or page 86).

News of the NGA resolution was published in the July issue of the national Local Government Focus Newspaper, which is distributed to councils across Australia.