Youth participation elevated at the conference to ban nuclear weapons

The METO team arrived at the United Nations House in Vienna for the first day of the First Meeting of State Parties (MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). As the conference got underway, many members of the University Network began the day at the parallel Youth MSP.

The first intervention at the Youth MSP came from Miyata Takashi, the keynote speaker and a Nagasaki survivor, who powerfully discussed the value of youth voices in creating a new global era without nuclear weapons.

Then, the morning workshops for the Youth MSP took place. Sharon and Emad began with a mini introduction to the theme of WMD in the region and then turned it over to METO programme associates and university network representatives. Each of the programme associates presented the goals of the programmes that they have developed, demonstrating the true importance of the work that they are doing. All of these testimonies by young members of the METO team are vital in the mission of the Youth MSP because they demonstrate the work that young people can do to work towards nuclear disarmament if they have the motivation and the opportunity.

After the Youth MSP, METO accompanied 56 State Parties, 42 observers, and a host of NGOs at the MSP, listening to side panels and the general debate.

After opening remarks were made, the general debate began, and countries took turns discussing their respective stances on the TPNW. The general debate was accompanied by a series of side events that took place throughout the day, including panels on Articles 6 & 7. These two articles of the TPNW focus on victim assistance that oblige State Parties to provide assistance to those affected by nuclear development as well as well as on international cooperation based upon the idea of a shared responsibility, respectively. The team also continued to engage with civil society organisations and state delegations, both those who had been present the previous day and those who hadn’t.

Tomorrow will see METO’s Alice Filiberto present a youth statement to delegates, drafted by a number of civil society organisations.

*Photo courtesy of Youth for TPNW on instagram

Published by Britt Gronemeyer

Britt Gronemeyer is a third year student at the University of St Andrews. She is working towards a joint degree in Modern History and Middle Eastern Studies. She also writes for her school’s Law Review, focusing on International Law and Freedom of the Press.