26 governments, 15 leading parliamentarians and a number of representatives from the United Nations, research institutions and civil society met in Berlin from February 20-22 in the first or a series of Framework Forum meetings. The Framework Forum is an initiative to assist governments to implement the agreement made at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that “All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons."
The Berlin meeting was co-sponsored by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation (PNND) and the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), and supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was held in the German Foreign Ministry conference centre. The topic of Framework Forum meeting was Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World . It was guided by a Briefing Paper prepared by John Burroughs from the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, and covered key topics including strategic security, cooperative security, pre-conditions versus conditions for zero, and building the nuclear disarmament framework.
Key themes emerging from the Framework Forum were that:
- Strategic security (nuclear deterrence and balance of military power) frameworks that were instrumental during the Cold War no longer meet the security threats and political environments of the 21st Century. In a world increasingly connected through finance, trade, communcations, environment and migration, cooperative security arrangements become much more useful and important than military defence of nation States.
- The increasing use and further development of cooperative security mechanisms reduces (or even eliminates) the role and rationale for nuclear weapons, and enhances the capacity to construct enforceable and verifiable nuclear disarmament measures.
- Implementation of the 2010 commitment to build the framework for a nuclear-weapons-free world will require collaboration of governments, legislators and civil society.
The Framework Forum conference was followed by meetings of PNND and MPI.
PNND members discussed a range of parliamentary initiatives to advance a nuclear-weapons-free world including the establishment of regional nuclear-weapon-free zones, support for the diplomatic process for nuclear disarmament established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 (the Open-Ended-Working-Group), and a proposal from Czech member Senator Alena Gadjuskova for a letter to be sent from NATO parliamentarians to President Obama on the anniversary of his Prague speech on ‘Implementing the Prague Vision.” The letter will be distributed for signatures soon.
MPI discussed future Framework Forum meetings and how they could feed into a diplomatic process to establish a nuclear-weapons-free world, in particular the Open-Ended-Working-Group established by UN General Assembly resolution 67/56.