ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn captured the spirit of the day during our debriefing meeting, when she said “Today it felt like we made the transition from arguing that we need a ban treaty to actually banning nuclear weapons.”
That transition was evident during the first series of statements about substantive elements of the treaty. The first topic of discussion was principles and objectives. Nearly 30 States spoke about the importance of the preambular language of the treaty, with a clear consensus that it must emphasize the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, with reference to the evidence and conclusions of the three HINW conferences in Oslo, Nayarit, and Vienna, and clearly condemn nuclear weapons as incompatible with international humanitarian law.
Austria has provided important leadership throughout the process leading to the negotiations.
Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi of Austria, for example, said the the preamble should focus on “the objective of achieving and maintaining a nuclear weapon free world. He added that “the need for a prohibition is firmly rooted in the globally recognized concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of, and risks related to the mere existence of nuclear weapons.”