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A New Online Youth Platform Promotes Nuclear Disarmament

By Jamshed Baruah

Image: 'Youth Fusion' imposed on Youth Disarmament image.

GENEVA (IDN) — Worldwide youth are standing up for peace and nuclear disarmament and taking a wide range of innovative actions. The Youth Working Group of Abolition 2000 global network to eliminate nuclear weapons builds cooperation amongst these youth actions, brings youth voices into key UN and other disarmament processes. The group has launched a new online platform and youth action plan for a nuclear-weapons-free world: Youth Fusion. [2021-09-05 | 13JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | NORWEGIAN | THAI

Set up in conjunction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 2020, the networking platform for young individuals and organizations focuses on youth action and intergenerational dialogue, building on the links between disarmament, peace, climate action, sustainable development and building back better from the pandemic. It informs, educates, connects and engages fellow students, activists and enthusiasts.

Against this backdrop, UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a message for International Youth Day, observed on August 12, said: "I urge everyone to guarantee young people a seat at the table as we build a world based on inclusive, fair, and sustainable development for all." In fact, 'Youth 2030' sums up the organisation's strategy. Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, appointed in June 2017 at the age of 26, has been working towards making the UN a home to the youth of the world.

Youth Fusion collaborated with the United Nations Office for Disarmament  Affairs' (UNODA) #Youth4Disarmament, to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests on August 29, 1991. The Day was unanimously proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. This historic decision sent a strong political message and contributed to international efforts that led to the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. 2021 marks 30 years of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

Youth Fusion availed of the occasion to call on young people to #StepUp4Disarmament, by walking or running 8.29 kilometers or the approximate equivalent of 10.9,000 steps.

This campaign sought to raise awareness of the devastating health consequences of nuclear testing through the emphasis on physical activity, while also promoting Sustainable Development Goal 3 on ensuring good health and well-being for all at all ages.

Youth Fusion partnered with Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio, in promotion of Nuclear Games, an innovative film and online platform addressing nuclear history and the risks and impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It was launched together with a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), anti-nuclear activists and youth leaders with the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. [https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/armaments/nuclear-weapons/4599-nuclear-games-for-the-young-coincides-with-tokyo-olympics]

As part of an ongoing project, Youth Fusion is highlighting the importance of inter-generational dialogue and of youth learning from the experience of those who have been long-time and effective leaders in the peace and disarmament fields. "In this regard, we recognise and affirm Youth Fusion Elders, those we hold in high esteem, and whose leadership, accomplishments, ideas and wisdom we highlight online and through our activities," says the group.

The Youth Fusion Elders include Bruce Kent, Uta Zapf, Mogens Lykketoft, Ana María Cetto, Tolegen Mukhamejanov, Andreas Nidecker and Scilla Elworthy.

Mr. Kent is a lifelong peace campaigner and changemaker, always working at the intersections of his Catholic faith and multifaceted social and political activism. Ms. Zapf has been a member of the German parliamentarian, (Bundestag) for 23 years. Mr. Lykketoft was the president of the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and is a leading figure of the Danish Social Democratic party. Prof. Ana María Cetto is a distinguished physicist, Pugwashite and long-time champion of women and Latin American voices in science and technology.

Mr. Mukhamejanov is a poet, author of symphonies, operas, chamber music, music for films, theatre productions, songs, romances, popular instrumental music. He actively participated in the “Nevada-Semipalatinsk” social movement. Author of the popular songs such as “Zaman-Ai”, a national anthem of the people’s anti-nuclear protest. He is also President of International Association “Peace Through Culture”, Co-Chair of the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, and a Member of World Academy of Art and Sciences.

Prof. (em.) Andreas Nidecker MD is a prominent Swiss physician, nuclear disarmer and President of the Basel Peace Office, as well as an early member of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Dr Elworthy has spent the last four decades building peace and preventing conflict by non-violent means. She is the founder of such flagship initiatives as Oxford Research Group, Peace Direct and Rising Women Rising World, and a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Youth Fusion website also offers blogs and articles, aimed at exploring facets of nuclear disarmament and provide the readers with expanded perspectives on the matter. These blogs and articles are the product of our volunteer teams and Youth Fusion’s staff, and they remain open to submissions from young writers and academic minds from around the world.

Among these is an interview with Dr Tong Zhao, senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, based in Beijing at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Dr. Zhao speaks about his personal experiences and China’s No-First-Use (NFU) and nuclear disarmament policy.

Dr Zhao points out that "China’s NFU was established by China's first-generation paramount leaders, such as Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. Because they supported NFU, the policy became a central element of China's traditional nuclear strategy. So, the unique authority of China’s first generation political leaders really helped ensure that China would stick to NFU policy for a long time despite the change of leadership in following decades."

Dr Zhao adds: "Because of China’s traditional adoption of NFU, it really affected how Chinese nuclear and military strategies make development and deployment plans for China’s nuclear weapons. They don’t plan for preemptive use of nuclear weapons. They mostly practice using nuclear weapons after being struck by an enemy nuclear attack." [IDN-InDepthNews – 05 September 2021]

Image: 'Youth Fusion' imposed on Youth Disarmament image.