Natalie Chindipha, UNA Youth Intern at UNA-UK, recently had the opportunity to spend a week at the European Parliament with Global Zero. This followed lobbying the week previously by European students, including UNA Youth President Stephen Vanson. Here’s Natalie’s report:
Global Zero is a movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and a close partner of UNA-UK’s Towards Zero programme. Myself, three other student activists and two Global Zero organisers, were invited as guests of MEP Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa. Mr Wałęsa gave us the opportunity to speak to MEPs regarding Global Zero’s Action Plan for the phased and verified elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.
We spent the week speaking to MEPs from European countries and Parties from across the political spectrum, asking them to sign and support written declaration No. 26 which urges member states to recognise and consider the security risk of nuclear weapons in today’s post-cold war world. The declaration also encourages states to engage in multilateral negotiations.
As it stands nearly 200 MEPS have signed the declaration and it is hoped that there will be even more by the 13 December deadline. Once a significant number of MEPs have signed the declaration, Global Zero plans to present President Obama with Europe’s endorsement of moving towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Our trip was driven by a belief in the importance of European engagement with the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. It is hoped that once Europe’s leaders take the step to support this goal, it will move us one step closer to removing weapons from the European continent and subsequently one step closer towards removing nuclear weapons from the world altogether.