Global Wave Campaign

Nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert must end!
May 2015

As world leaders descended on the United Nations in New York for the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the Global Zero Commission on Nuclear Risk Reduction — led by former U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James E. Cartwright — issued a bold call for ending the Cold War era practice of keeping nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.

At an event in the UN Trusteeship Council on April 30 – co-hosted by the governments of Switzerland, New Zealand and Sweden - General Cartwright explained that the risks of a nuclear war by accident, miscalculation or intent have increased markedly due to regional conflicts, increased tensions between the nuclear-armed States, and the growing possibility of cyber-attack on nuclear command and control systems.

According to the Global Zero report released at the event, 1800 nuclear weapons are primed and ready to be launched within minutes on launch-on-warning policies, otherwise known as ‘hair-trigger alert’. It’s like two gunmen facing each other with the guns loaded, ready to fire and their fingers on the trigger – only with nuclear weapons. If there is a mistake it won’t be two gun-fighters dropping to the ground, but the annihilation of the world.

Global Zero used the occasion to launch a new global campaign for nuclear de-alerting. The campaign, backed by more than 75 former senior political officials, national security experts and top military commanders, makes the case that a multinational de-alerting agreement could greatly mitigate the many risks of nuclear weapons use, including from computer error, cyber launch, accidental detonations, unauthorized "insider" launch, false warning of enemy attack, and rushed nuclear decision-making.

The campaign is supported by action at the NPT by New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries. They have submitted adetailed proposal to the NPT Review Conference on de-alerting of nuclear forces in order to reduce the risks of a nuclear weapons catastrophe, and to pave the way for nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Meanwhile, Basel Peace Office Director Alyn Ware ran the Prague Castle steps nine times on April 6, the anniversary of President Obama’s historic Prague Speech (at the Prague Castle). The total of 1800 steps equals the number of nuclear weapons on alert status. The run was part of the International Day of Sport for Peace and Development and Global Wave 2015.

New Zealand joins Global Wave Campaign

New Zealanders celebrated the 'Global Wave' campaign with a call for nuclear disarmament and wave goodbye to nuclear weapons.

The month of April saw a wave going around the globe – people from all around the world joined in the Global Wave 2015 campaign preceding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference which started in New York on April 27, 2015.

Despite the overlap with the 100th ANZAC celebrations, New Zealand contributed 10 Global Wave events. As the national-coordinator, the Peace Foundation would like to thank everyone who waved goodbye to nuclear weapons.

We were delighted to have Mayor Celia Wade-Brown calling upon all Mayors for Peace to join Global Wave 2015 and Mayor Lianne Dalziel leading a Global Wave event at the Christchurch Council Chamber.

People were waving goodbye to nukes at the Peace and Pacifism Concert in Dunedin, from Tauranga, Whanganui, Wellington, and Ranui.

In Auckland, we had three events taking place at Manukau Beach, SGI NZ, and the Global Wave 2015 video from the Peace Foundation.