WFSW declaration of support for the creation of a Nuclear Weapon-free Europe

The WFSW welcomes and adheres to the initiative taken by a group of peace-loving activists and NGOs that understand the necessity of making our fellow citizens aware of the impending threat of a nuclear armed conflict that puts at risk the survival of life on the planet. Present trends in the development of geopolitical equilibria are not a good omen of a better future. The hands of the Doomsday Clock, a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe, have never been in the past as close to “midnight” as they are today. In fact since the assumed end of the so called “cold war” in the year 1991, when the clock was set at 17 minutes to 12 pm, only once have the hands been set back and then by a mere 60 seconds. That was in 2010 following the signature by the USA and the Russian Federation of the New Start Treaty. Since then the hands of the symbolic Clock have constantly advanced towards midnight and are now a mere 100 seconds away.

Although in the present day nuclear war and climate change are generally accepted as major threats to the survival of our species on Earth, the emergence of new destabilizing technologies in a number of critical fields such as artificial intelligence, space, hypersonics, and biology, contribute to a dangerous and multifaceted global instability. Indeed we face an increased threat of information warfare and other disruptive technologies.

As far as nuclear arms are concerned the situation has been steadily worsening following the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 and from the INF Treaty effective from August 2, 2019. The only nuclear arms control and reduction treaty that remains in force as of today is the New Start Treaty due to expire on February 2021 unless the signatories — US and Russia — agree on the option for an up to five years extension foreseen in the Treaty. An agreement appears today as highly doubtful.

It is thus of decisive importance to call upon all women and men whose future is at stake to mobilize against warmongering forces that under whatever disguise are in control of established powers, independently of where they siege or who they represent.

The WFSW has a long standing tradition of supporting the engagement of scientific workers and their associations in favour of Peace independently of their affiliation to the Federation. In the years following the second world war  a significant number of prominent scientists including the WFSW first president, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, were instrumental in unveiling the destructive power and the consequences of the use of atomic weapons as a means of war. 

The role of scientific workers was then and remains today one of particular importance in promoting a clear conscience of the dangers associated with the accumulation and sophistication of nuclear arsenals through a diligent and intelligent interaction with the general public

As underlined in a recent editorial of the journal Nature asking researchers “to free the world of nuclear weapons” one should recognize as an urgent task that of establishing a global network of researchers specializing in different aspects of nuclear science and technology. Such a network could play an advisory role to signatory governments of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

As far Europe is concerned the stationing of nuclear arms and delivery vehicles should be banned. They do not ensure the security of European citizens but instead increase risks they are not prepared to take by lowering the so-called nuclear threshold. In the nuclear field one aspect of the ongoing arms race is the modernization of explosives and associated means of delivery. Design and test of smaller and stealthier devices are under way as well as of hypersonic means of delivery.

The WFSW supports the call to end the modernization of all nuclear weapons and their vectors; urges European non-signatory governments of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to reconsider their position and adopt the Treaty as soon as possible. The World Federation of Scientific Workers appeals to all European affiliated organizations to campaign for a nuclear free Europe and worldwide for the abolition of nuclear arms.

The International Secretariat of the WFSW