CONFERENCE The Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Way Forward - Civil Society Input

Members of international civil society, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks and networks working for peace, justice and disarmament: SIGN THE APPEAL to the UN Secretary General and the convening countriess here!

Civil society actors and NGOs want to support the Middle East governments in the task is to create a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

The official governmental Conference on the establishment of the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction was not convened 2012. But the convenors of the confrence The United Nations Secretary-General, the Russian
Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to convene the conference and Finland as the host Government remains prepared to organise it once convened.

There have been series of preparing consultations and conferences on this issue by NGOs and civil society actors and academic scholars during the year 2012 in different parts of the world. There is a need to collect the results and suggestions of these and also to look at the way forward. For this there was one more conference in December 2012, in Helsinki.

 Helsinki Civil Society Conference Declaration:

»  English, Dec 2012
» German, Dec 2012 

Photos from the conference 

Programme was:

FRIDAY 14.12.


Opening session: The way towards the Middle East region without Weapons of Mass Destruction

Welcome by the organisers and a message from International Pugwash

  • Main elements of the WMD Free Zone in the Middle East, Ambassador Mohamed I. Shaker, Chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA)
  • The role of Nuclear Weapons Free Regions in building security, Alyn Ware, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Pandel discussion : The local/regional developments; possibilities and threats (Dr. Mohssen Massarrat, Issam Makhoul)

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

17.15-18.45 Three parallel working groups:
I The Way Forward: the regional devlopments and the case of Iran (Facilitator: Pugwash)
II The Way Forward: NGOs advocacy work 2013 - (Facilitator: IPPNW & I Can)
III The Way Forward: Reports from the previous consultations and working with the civil society message / recommendations to the governmental process (Facilitator PUF)

19.00-21.00 Social programme


09.00-12.00 Plenary session:

  • The process towards the Middle East WMD-free zone, Susi Snyder, IKV PAX Christi
  • Dialogue, difference and disarmament: First might come regional dialogical exchange, Nicholas AJ Taylor, Doctoral Researcher, University of Queensland, Australia

Panel dicussion: How to build a popular opinion to support the process? NGOs support for the process? From civil society actors / campaigns: Xante Hall, IPPNW, Yayoi Tsuchida, IPB, Alfred Marder,
Association of Peace Messenger Cities, Nasser Burdestani, I Can  (Chair: Dr Kati Juva, IPPNW council speaker)

12.00-13.30 Lunch

13.30-16.30 Three parallel working groups continue

16.30- Some cultural programme in Helsinki

SUNDAY 16.12.

10.00-12.00 Thematic working groups continue

12.00-12.30 Coffee break

12.30-14.00/15.00 Plenary session: The message of civil society to the governments of Middle East, Tarja Cronberg, chair of Peace Union of Finland  and the response from the Finnish Facilitators: Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The conference was arranged by Finnish peace organisations ( Peace Union of Fonöand , Committee of 100, Peace Committee , Physicians for Social Responsibilitu and PAND, artist for Peace, in cooperation with International Peace Bureau (IPB) and IPPNW.

Earlier Civil Society seminars / expert meeting reports:   

EU Non-Proliferation Consortium: Statement of the Pugwash Executive Committee on the Postponement of the Helsinki Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ), 25 November 2012
To Promote Confidence Building and in Support of a Process Aimed at
Establishing a Zone Free of MDWs and Means of
Delivery in the Middle East
-5-6.11.2012 Brussels (this is the second seminar, a follow-up seminar to earlier Middle East Seminar held in 6-7.7.2011)

Statement of the Pugwash Executive Committee on the Postponement of the Helsinki Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ), 25 November 2012

Main Points of a possible agreed framework between the I.R. of iran , the peoples republic of China, France, Germany. Russia, The United Kingdom and the United States

Peace Boat:
Sailing in the Same Boat Toward a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East, March 23- April 7, 2012, Greece, Turkey, Egypt

British American Security Information Council (BASIC)
Supporting 2012 Conference on a WMD-free Zone in Middle East, Istanbul,
October 24-25, 2012

Building towards a nuclear weapons-free Middle East: civil society input for a new Helsinki process, 13.10.2012 London 

Pir Center 
Conference on the Middle East Zone Free of WMD´s - Searching Solutions. Moscow, October 4, 2012

UN Association Edinburgh
A Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Challenges,
28 May 2012

La Trobe University's Centre for Dialogue and the European Public Law Organization, report, 14-16 November 2012, Athens, Greece,