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Dear campaigners,

The Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) is right around the corner! In less than two weeks' time, on 22 February, the OEWG will officially kick off with its first (of three) sessions, marking the start of efforts by governments to identify the legal measures needed to fill the legal gap. For us it means the possibility of building agreement among States on key elements for a new legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, and set the stage for the negotiating process to begin.

As we noted in last week's Campaign Update, the February session will take place at the Palais des Nations (UN) in Geneva from 22 February to 26 February. The session will be split into introductory sessions which remind the participants how the humanitarian initiative has developed since 2013, a panel session on “effective legal measures, provisions and norms”,  a panel session on “other measures” (transparency, reduction/elimination of risk, additional measures to increase awareness) and an open discussion among States and civil society, which will likely focus on the hopes and aspirations for the OEWG.

The measure of our success will obviously not be simply how many states attend, but the impact that they make there and how strong the discussion about the need for a ban treaty is. Every participant that delivers a statement or a working paper at the OEWG will have an equal opportunity to influence the proceedings. But first we have to make sure as many governments as possible are in the room!

Since the February session will set the tone for the year. It will be particularly important that as many supportive States, especially States that have signed the Humanitarian Pledge, attend the February session, which is where we hope that the expert panel discussions will make a strong case for the need for a new treaty which fills the legal gap.
Will your government participate at the OEWG?
What can you do? Here's a checklist:

Has your government planned to attend the February session of Open-Ended Working Group in Geneva? Will a member of parliament in your country encourage your government to call for a ban treaty at the OEWG? Engage other stakeholders to call on your government to participate and call for a ban a the OEWG.
  • National Red Cross / Red Crescent societies, faith-based organizations, trade unions, environmental, medical associations, are all examples of stakeholders who can have an influential voice on your government. It's time to reach out to them and call on their support for the OEWG and a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Questions about how your government can be productive at the OEWG? Get in touch and we can try to figure out the best strategy for your government!

Let us know if you'll be in Geneva for the February OEWG session. ICAN will be undertaking lobby activities throughout the OEWG, so let us know if you want to join the advocacy team at the UN.

We'll be in touch with more updates as we get them. In the meantime, let's make some noise for the OEWG and make sure it kicks off with a ban in February.

Good luck out there,


(p.s. if you're planning on coming to the ICAN Campaigners Meeting on April 30 - 1 May, don't forget to register here!)
Copyright © 2016 International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, All rights reserved.

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