“We have succeeded in reframing the issue of nuclear weapons,” the Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told representatives from 127 states, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and a range of UN agencies and civil society actors on March 5, 2013. Mexico had just announced its intention to host a follow-up to the Oslo conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and everyone working for a treaty banning nuclear weapons knew that the game was irrevocably on.
The Oslo conference provided ICAN with an opportunity to change the nuclear weapons discourse. It was a unique chance to side with the people who have experienced the all too real humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons, and show, to the media and to governments, that we are a coordinated, focused and energised movement, and that we will not stop untill we have a global ban treaty in place.
To seize this opportunity, ICAN organised a series of events in and around this conference. In the run up to March, campaigners from more than 60 countries reached out to their governments, contributing to a remarkably high turnout. In the days immediately preceding the conference, around 500 campaigners, 33 speakers, and 30 marketplace organisers from more than 60 countries and more than 130 different organisations attended a global civil society forum at Chateau Neuf in Oslo. More than 700 people attended the concert Will this moment ever let go? by Magnar Åm in Oslo City Hall, and more than 900 people and several media outlets turned up to a public interview with the self-proclaimed acting president of the United States, the actor Martin Sheen.
After Oslo, the question is no longer whether a treaty banning nuclear weapons will be achieved. From now on, the questions are when and how. The train has left the station, and we know that we have a very exciting journey ahead of us.
This online report provides an overview of ICAN’s activities in the run up and during the meetings in Oslo. We aimed to produce a range of arenas where campaigners from different backgrounds could come together and experience how exciting it is to be an international campaigner. So if you participated at any of these events, we really hope you enjoyed yourself. To prepare for the next series of ICAN events, we would be very happy to receive your feedback (click here) .