Progress Report on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

WAAS Program on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Project leaders: Jasjit Singh & Garry Jacobs


The devastating consequences of nuclear war and the potential destructive applications of science and technology were paramount concerns among Einstein, Russell, Oppenheimer, Rotblat and others who supported the founding of the World Academy. Over the past seven years, the Academy has revived the focus on this original concern of our founders.

In November 2004, the WAAS jointly organized a one-day workshop in New Delhi in collaboration with the International Commission on Peace & Food (ICPF) and the Mother’s Service Society (MSS) to examine issues related to nuclear weapons and international security, employment and economic development. Participants included senior Indian military experts, Fellows and other international participants, including a senior NATO expert from the Netherlands. After the meeting, Fellows Harlan Cleveland, Walt Anderson, Ivo Šlaus, Garry Jacobs and Jasjit Singh, proposed to initiate a new Academy program on the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Progress to Date

In September 2005 a workshop was conducted in Washington DC with Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara focusing on the urgent need to outlaw and abolish nuclear weapons.

In October 2005 Ivo Šlaus organized a NATO-sponsored two-day workshop on nuclear abolition, terrorism and international security issues at Zagreb prior to the WAAS General Assembly.

Following the Zagreb GA, the Board of Trustees established the Standing Committee on Peace & Development (SCPD) to continue work on these issues and explore the linkages between peace and development. Garry Jacobs was appointed chair.

A resolution was passed by the Board in July 2006 to the effect that the World Academy formally supports and will take steps to bring about the total eradication of nuclear weapons. In addition, a decision was taken to channel a special contribution of $200,000 to the Global Security Institute (GSI), led by Fellow Jonathan Granoff, to support a special high level initiative for total nuclear disarmament.

Immediately following the Board meeting, the Academy organized a session on nuclear disarmament at the World Futures Society annual conference in Toronto. Walter Truett Anderson, Jasjit Singh, Garry Jacobs and Ashok Natarajan participated on behalf of the Academy. Discussions were also held with Jonathan Granoff concerning the possibility that India could take a leadership role in calling for nuclear disarmament.

Several members of the SCPD also represented the Academy at meetings of the Nobel Peace laureates in Rome in 2005 and at a high level meeting organized by the Middle Powers Initiative and hosted by the Government of Canada with representatives from 25 nations and many leading international NGOs held in Ottawa in September 2006. Shortly after the Ottawa meeting, North Korea detonated a nuclear weapons test, openly declaring itself a nuclear weapons power for the first time. This was followed by reports that Iran was also developing nuclear weapons.

In October 2006 a “Workshop on Nuclear Disarmament” was organized at the UN in New York by the SCPD in collaboration with GSI and MSS.  Walter Anderson, Robert McNamara, Lincoln Bloomfield, Harlan Cleveland, Jonathan Granoff, Robert van Harten, Garry Jacobs, and Ashok Natarajan participated.

WAAS also participated in another meeting of the Middle Powers Initiative in Vienna in March 2007 addressed by Hans Blix, the former head of IAEA and Chairman of the International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, and other leading disarmament experts.

A meeting on nuclear abolition was also organized by SEED-WAAS in Zagreb in April 2007.

In May 2007 Futures Journal published an article by Jasjit Singh, Manpreet Sethi and Garry Jacobs on “Abolishing Nuclear Weapons”, which was based on their presentation at WFS annual conference in Toronto.

In February 2008, another meeting was organized in collaboration with GSI in New York on “Weaponization of Outer Space”.

In Spring 2008, WAAS collaborated with the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) on a global student essay contest to promote the goal of nuclear abolition. WAAS/WFUNA organized a week-long event in Geneva, initiated and sponsored by WAAS and co-chaired by Hans Blix. WAAS was represented by Robert van Harten and John Cox.

In June 2008, Jasjit Singh organized a major international conference “Towards a Nuclear Weapons Free World” in New Delhi sponsored by the Government of India on the issue of nuclear weapons. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the conference pledging India’s full support for complete eradication of nuclear weapons, the first of the declared nuclear weapons powers to make such a pledge. India’s Foreign Minister, Vice President and other senior diplomatic and military personnel participated together with a cross section of distinguished international security experts. Jonathan Granoff, Garry Jacobs and Ivo Šlaus made presentations and interventions on behalf of the Academy.

A full day session on nuclear weapons and space weaponization was organized at the Hyderabad GA in October 2008.

Throughout this period, Ivo Šlaus has been actively representing WAAS on this issue in numerous meetings of Pugwash and the European Leadership Forum, a high level group of former European diplomats working for abolition of nuclear weapons.

In February 2011, Jasjit Singh’s Centre for Air Power Strategy (CAPS) sponsored a two day meeting of the Academy on nuclear weapons in New Delhi, in which Bob Berg, Pushpa Bhargava, Jonathan Granoff, Garry Jacobs, Winston Nagan, Ashok Natarajan and Ivo Šlaus interacted with Jasjit Singh and a range of senior Indian military personnel and diplomats on strategies to enhance international security, including the dangers of nuclear proliferation and nuclear accidents.

An article entitled “Universal Nuclear Disarmament” by Manpreet Sethi was published in Cadmus Issue 2 in April 2011.

A paper on “Law, Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy” was presented at the Delhi GA in November 2011.

An international conference on “Nuclear threats and Security” was organized by the World Academy of Art and Science in association with the European Leadership Network and the Dag Hammarskjöld University College of International Relations and Diplomacy and sponsored by NATO at the Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik on September 14-16, 2012. The conference examined important issues related to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the legality of nuclear weapons and their use, illicit trade in nuclear materials, the dangers of nuclear terrorism, nuclear and cyber-security.

On May 3-4, 2013, WAAS, together with the European Leadership Network (ELN) and Dag Hammarskjöld University College for International Relations and Diplomacy, convened a conference on “Actions to Enhance Global Security” in Zagreb.

On May 6-7, 2013, WAAS participated in the “IX Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation” in Split, Croatia.