Last Saturday, August 6, 2022 – 77 years after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima by the U.S. – Sean Conner, Deputy Executive Director of IPB, spoke at a Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration ceremony in Berlin. The ceremony was organized by the german association ‘Friedensglockengesellschaft’ and took place in Volkspark Friedrichshain at the world peace bell.
In remembrance of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he reminded the audience that the world has not become safer with nuclear weapons to date and the legal frameworks of disarmament, the NPT and the TPNW, are the only way to prevent further nuclear disasters. But it is not only the danger of a nuclear war which needs immediate action, but also the climate emergency which the world is facing. A faster push towards renewable energies and a significant cut in military spending are the necessary and long overdue actions the world has to take. In order to find long-term solutions to these challenges, security has to be rethought. The concept of Common Security, originally developed in the 1980s and revived this year, does that. It means that no state can achieve security at the expense of another state, which is what has led to the arms race in the first place.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows how the existence of nuclear weapons promotes wars instead of preventing them, as the ideologies linked to the so-called nuclear deterrence claim. On the other hand, the present situation and Russia’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons show how nuclear weapons allow the nuclear powers to disregard respect for international law and oppose the construction of a world of common security and peace.
In this framework, and in the context of its participation in the next World Conference against A and H bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki between August 4 and 10, 2022, the Peace Movement joins the appeal launched by the organizing committee of this conference, a committee animated in particular by the associations of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Hibakushas) and the victims of nuclear tests.
Le mouvement de la Paix is a non-governmental organization created in 1948 and approved as a “National Association for Youth and Popular Education”. A non-profit association under the 1901 law, the Mouvement de la Paix acts for disarmament, in particular nuclear, but also against the production and transfer of armaments, for the reduction of military budgets.
Even though the originally written in French, most of their last statements are available in English. You can find the the above excert in as a whole in the following link, together with other statements:
The Stockholm +50 Coalition invites all for the “Peoples Forum for Environment and Global Justice” happening from May 31st to June 01st.
The purpose of this event is to connect the issues and movements in different ways, covering some gaps in the overall system change that is necessary. Both looking at past experience and towards the future, the event aims for the connection between simultanous struggles from local to global levels including both resistance and building alternatives locally and at multilateral level.
Speakers are a mix of people from larger international democratic movements and those specialized on specific issues. Represented are the working class, indigenous, peace, environmental, climate and global justice movements as organizations with ITUC members – among their core members, Via Campesina, International Peace Bureau and WILPF, Friends of the Earth, COP26 Coalition, global justice movements as anti debt networks, social networks as Habitat International and cooperation among very many movements and NGOs as CoNGO as well as a broad range of more specialized organizations. There is also a generational, gender and geographic range.
This common program has six parts, the inauguration, four sessions parallell to other self organized actvities and the closing session. The four common sessions starts with discussions concerning what to learn from 50 years of struggle for system change, continues with the issue of disarmament for a just social and ecological transition against racism in the present concuncture, followed by the need for a just world order ending with the issue concerning what to do now towards the coming 50 years of struggle.
The more than 200 armed conflicts, 26 active wars and the threats of nuclear weapons clearly demonstrate the danger the world faces. While over 900 million people go to bed with empty stomachs, global military spending keeps expanding by the day.
Every year the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) publishes statistics on global arms spending. In 2022, SIPRI published the statistics for 2021 on April 25th and the IPB held a hybrid press conference in Berlin to adress the consequences of the increasement of global arms spending.
The following leaders in the field took part in the press conference:
Reiner Braun, Executive Director, International Peace Bureau
Michael Müller, Parliamentary Undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment a.D., Chair of Friends of Nature
Żaklin Nastić, Member of the German Bundestag, DIE LINKE
On February 9, 2022 the IPB and IPU celebrated their 130th anniversaries in a joint online event.
The event featured extinguished guests including Philip Jennings (IPB Co-President), Bruce Kent (IPB Former President), Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of IPU, Cecilia Widegren, Member of Sweden´s Parliament, Chair of the IPU financial sub-committee and Co-rapporteur to the 1st committee on peace and international security during the 144th IPU assembly March 2022, Hon. Gennaro Migliore, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean Member of Italian Parliament,Magnus Løvold (ICRC), Etienne De Jonghe (Pax Christie) and Pauline Auer (IPB Youth Network) and Ingeborg Breines (IPB Former President and Former director of the Women and a Culture of Peace Programme of UNESCO).
There were also video greetings from Guy Ryder (Director general of the ILO), Sharan Burrow (General Secretary of the ITUC), Liv Tørres (Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions), Marc Finaud (Head of Arms Proliferation at Geneva Centre for Security Policy), and Daniel Hogstra (ICAN). Moderation was provided by Lisa Clark, current IPB co-President with Philip Jennings.
The event included a presentation of historical and recent photographs of the organization’s histories.
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On March 14, the IPB African working group hosted its first event of 2022, ‘Russia invades Ukraine. War in Europe and what this could mean for Africa’. Featuring three panel members of Joseph Gerson, Reiner Braun and Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo, the discussion took a deep dive into where the situation stands and what this will mean for African nations economies, trade relations, and food security situations in the coming weeks and months. Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo was able to expertly speak to these scenarios. Her full speech can be viewed below and the full event recording can also be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Contribution of Baroness Dayon Ako-Adounvo.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass region, which transformed into a war on February 24 2022. This has resulted in global economic and security concerns with severe consequences on the African continent. In this regard, there are economic opportunities for some oil-exporting countries in the region, especially in terms of natural gas and raw material exports with the sanctions implemented by the United States and European countries against Russia. On the other hand, countries whose industries and agriculture are heavily dependent on oil exports have the potential to enter an economic bottleneck because of the increase in oil and natural gas prices. The same is true for grain trade. The fact that Russia and Ukraine provide 25% of the world’s grain supply may indirectly lead the African continent, as one of its largest customers, into food insecurity.
Russia and Ukraine have major ties with Africa in:
▪ Defence & Security
Experts warned sternly as Russian missiles hit Ukraine that the impact of the war will reverberate across the continent of Africa. Over the past weeks, fuel prices in Ghana and other African countries have drastically increased. As of March 7th 2022, the price of gasoline in Ghana was 8.62 Ghanaian cedis (GHS) per liter, a 25 percent increase since January 3rd. Economists have cautioned that the war in Ukraine could further push oil prices up and increase inflation in Africa. Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Garba of the department of Economics – Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria said “the last time we had a windfall from oil prices related to war was in 1991, during the Gulf War. There is no doubt that this crisis will directly impact the price of crude oil. Africa, like most continents, will need to prepare for higher inflation as the increase in crude oil prices will increase inflation globally and lead to expensive imports. Most African countries have not recovered from the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the rise of commodity prices due to the disrupted global supply chain. It has been extremely difficult and unbearable for most people living in Africa and in the world at large.
With the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. and European countries imposed various sanctions against Russia, a country that supplies 40% of the European Union’s natural gas. Countries in the Middle East and Africa are emerging as strong alternatives for Europe as it attempts to diversify its natural gas supply and cut its dependency on Russia. At this point, among African countries, Algeria is a suitable alternative in terms of both its geopolitical position and its large reserves. Additionally, countries like Senegal (where 40 trillion cubic feet of Natural Gas was discovered between 2014 – 2017 with production expected to start later this year), Nigeria (an existing supplier Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to several European countries) and Tanzania seem to be at an advantage with their natural gas capacity. In this sense, Nigeria, Niger and Algeria, which are on the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline route, cooperated in order to increase their natural gas exports to European markets and signed an agreement on Feb. 16. The deal includes a cost of $13 billion to renew the pipelines. Apart from this line, a total of 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Algerian natural gas is transported to Europe via the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline and Trans-Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline.
However, the increase in natural gas and oil prices may result in additional cost for oil-importing African countries that depend on oil and natural gas in agricultural and industrial production.
The Russia-Ukraine War may negatively affect Africa in terms of agricultural production and food security, as both countries are important grain exporters to Africa. African countries imported about $4billion agricultural products from Russia, of which wheat accounted for 90% of these imports. Ukraine exported $2.9 billion worth of agricultural products to Africa in 2020, with wheat representing 48% of the products, and corn at 31%. Furthermore, these two countries have a total share of 26% (Russia 18%, Ukraine 8%) in world wheat exports. While Egypt ranks first in wheat imports, countries such as Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Kenya and South Africa also import wheat from Russia and Ukraine to a large extent. Currently, with the Russian intervention in Ukraine, corn prices have increased by 21%, wheat by 35% and soybeans by 20%, respectively. Nonetheless, in the Sahel region and West Africa alone, 26 million people do not have access to enough food. Therefore, the prolongation of the war and the disruption of agricultural trade can cause prices to rise significantly. The increase in bread prices, especially in Kenya and Sudan, has led to anti-government protests. Undoubtedly, this situation brings food security concerns to the forefront for Africa, which has experienced many food crises in the past.
Defense & Security
The Russian mercenary Wagner Group operates in the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique and Mali. Apart from this, Russia has strong trade relations with African economies such as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan. In this context, Russia’s military and economic connections have limited member countries of the African Union from acting in unison against the Russia-Ukraine war. The union’s own legislation emphasizes the inviolability of borders and territorial integrity.
Over 16000 African students studying in Ukraine and Russia were stranded as a result of the war. African countries have evacuated some of these students, many of them remain trapped with limited food, water, and no safe shelter. This has been heartbreaking for families.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which broke out after Russia’s one-sided intervention, is geographically far from the region but still closely concerns the African continent. Many different issues such as food security, agricultural production and the inclusion of countries with natural gas reserves into the geopolitical equation due to the sanctions on Russia, are directly related to Africa. In this context, prolonging the war and continuing to sanction Russia will increase the prices of agricultural products and raw materials, which could expose the African continent into a food security crisis.
In the view of war emanating from Russian soil and the explicit threat of nuclear weapons, we, Nobel laureates in science, economics, and literature, have decided to make this appeal to government leaders.
Are you ready to #ReImagineOurWorld again? Under the title “(Re)imagine the world. Action for peace and justice”, more than 2,500 people took part in the Second IPB #WorldPeaceCongress. Watch our highlight video with some of the best moments and get inspired to engage actively in #peace!