Engaging City Mayors

How Local Government Officials Can Play a Part in Divestment Campaigning

Thousands of cities have joined Mayors for Peace to build momentum for a nuclear abolition. Aaron Tovish, coordinator of the network’s 2020 Vision Campaign, outlines how mayors can get involved in divestment.


ICAN: What motivates mayors to join the Mayors for Peace network?

Aaron Tovish (AT): Nuclear weapons are “good” for only one thing: annihilating cities. For mayors who strive to provide security and promote prosperity of cities, being against nuclear weapons is a no-brainer. They have heard the deterrence arguments, but they simply cannot support a “security” policy that consists of holding cities hostage.

ICAN: Are mayors concerned that money is being spent on nuclear weapons?

AT: Absolutely. The US Conference of Mayors adopted a very strong resolution on this in 2011. Why is so much “loving care” lavished on nuclear weapons, when cities are in depression? In the non-nuclear world, there is an awareness that aid crucial to meeting the Millennium Development Goals also goes lacking because of these skewed priorities.

ICAN: Are any of your members involved in nuclear divestment?

AT: Yes, I would venture to say that wherever there’s a city involved in divestment, it’s a member of Mayors for Peace. But a lot of our members are not yet involved. The 2020 Vision Campaign will be encouraging cities to hold poster exhibitions in 2012 and 2013 which, among other things, will increase awareness of this area.

ICAN: What links might cities have to nuclear weapons companies?

AT: I would guess that most cities are completely unaware of the links. After all, these links are rarely advertised. The first challenge is to raise awareness about these hidden links. I am hoping that ICAN can help us with this.

For more information, visit www.mayorsforpeace.org.

written by

Australian director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
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