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Little Hope for Change in the World of Nuclear Weapons

05.06.2013 Käte Hamburger Lecture by Ramesh Thakur will echo findings of SIPRI Yearbook 2013
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has just unveiled the findings of the SIPRI Yearbook 2013, which assesses the current state of international security, armaments, and disarmament. According to the Institute, the picture that emerges on non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament gives little hope for change in the world of nuclear weapons. Some reductions were recorded in comparison with 2012, mainly as a result of the New START treaty between the USA and Russia, but China, India, and Pakistan are all expanding their nuclear arsenals. The build-up in the North Korean nuclear programme is another worrying factor, and modernization programmes are under way in all the states that possess nuclear weapons. (Source: SIPRI press release, 3 June 2013, The fifth Käte Hamburger Lecture “Global Governance and the State of Nuclear Weapons” to be delivered on 12 June by Professor Ramesh Thakur, will offer participants an opportunity to discuss these facts and figures with a leading expert in the field.

Professor Thakur is Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, which is part of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.  Professor Thakur has himself recently co-edited a study entitled Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play, which benefited from substantial consultant-input from SIPRI. Thakur and his co-editor, Gareth Evans – former Australian foreign minister, long-time president of the International Crisis Group, and current Chancellor of ANU – conclude that ‘[T]he unhappy reality is that while nuclear weapons continue to pose an existential threat to humanity, progress on their abolition, and on strengthening barriers to their proliferation, remains achingly slow.’

Professor Thakur will elucidate the findings of the study and discuss recent developments in global nuclear-weapons governance. He will address pressing questions such as: What impact have the changes in President Obama’s national security strategy had on international disarmament? What challenges do North Korea and Iran pose? How can multilateral conferences and treaties on non-proliferation and disarmament help bring about a nuclear-weapons-free world?

Enhancing the discussion with in-depth knowledge and experience from practical politics will be Ambassador Rolf Nikel, the German government’s Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament, and Uta Zapf, member of the Bundestag and chair of the German Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation.

For the first time, the lecture, organized jointly with the Development and Peace Foundation (SEF – Stiftung Entwicklung und Frieden), will take place in Berlin.

Time: 15.00-16.30
Venue: Haus der EKD, 53-4 Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin

Martin Wolf
Head of Public Relations
Tel: +49 (0)203 379 5238