“We must have our own step by step attack on the financial edifice that supports the nuclear weapons industry.”– Jayantha Dhanapala
This was the thrust of the discussion during the Don’t Bank on the Bomb NPT side event on Friday 1 May. Speakers included Jayantha Dhanapala, Chair of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension conference and current President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Ray Acheson, Director of the Reaching Critical Will programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Wilbert van der Zeijden, Senior Researcher at PAX and co-author of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report.
During the session three key elements were discussed related to the financing of nuclear weapons. The demand side, covered eloquently by Ray as she discussed the updated Assuring Destruction Forever report on nuclear weapons modernisation. All states are modernising their nuclear arsenals. The supply side, elaborated by Wilbert in discussing the findings of the report. And, Jayantha spoke forcefully on the need for concerted action and campaign efforts to withdraw investments from this evil enterprise.
The ensuing discussion among participants brought up several interesting approaches to strengthen efforts to stop the modernisation of nuclear arsenals by eliminating the financing that facilitates them. One suggestion worth further discussion is to include language at this NPT Review Conference to prevent the financing of nuclear weapons. Hopefully, delegates will take up the challenge and raise divestment as a tool to stigmatise, outlaw and eliminate nuclear weapons.