By Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Last week, the new government in Norway became the first NATO state to announce that it will participate in the Meeting of the States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Vienna next year (March 22-24).

This is the first nuclear weapons-complicit country that has confirmed its participation and it simply would not have happened without the hard work of ICAN partner organisations in Norway, organisations like the Norwegian Red Cross, churches, the many Norwegian cities and local authorities that have joined the ICAN cities appeal, supportive politicians and of course the strong public support for the TPNW and disarmament from the Norwegian public.

This is a great sign that all the work ICAN supporters are doing around the world is having an impact. We’re optimistic that this decision will make it easier for other NATO states to join as observers and start engaging with the Treaty as well.

Right now, coalition negotiations are taking place in Germany and we know from many supportive politicians that we have a chance to get Germany to follow Norway’s lead. This would be very important since despite strong German public support for the TPNW, the government still allows US nuclear weapons to be hosted by Germany and still prepares for the use of those weapons.

Notes: PeaceWorks-KC, which joined ICAN in early 2021, welcomed this news from ICAN on Oct. 21. This hopeful explanation is from https://www.icanw.org/norway_msp_observer: “Norway last week became the first NATO state—and first nuclear weapon-complicit state—to commit to participating (observing) at the First Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW. The commitment was included in the government’s coalition agreement, released on 13 October. The move by Norway breaks the hard line against the TPNW that NATO had sought to exert on its member states, and opens the doors for others in the alliance to follow suit.”

Copyright 2021, Jane Stoever, ICAN, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.