International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: Action Plan

Along with global warming, nuclear war is the greatest preventable danger facing humankind. There are still more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and no comprehensive process is under way to abolish them. Opinion polls show that a majority of the world’s peoples want their governments to start negotiations to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Our challenge now is to transform this strong desire for security into fruitful negotiations and real action by governments.

ICAN—the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—was launched by IPPNW in 2007 and now has more than 420 partner NGOs in 95 countries. IPPNW is the lead medical NGO in this civil society campaign for a treaty to ban and delegitimize nuclear weapons, leading to their global elimination.

ICAN has developed a strong set of campaign materials and a vibrant website []; has built and strengthened grassroots partnerships in a number of countries; and has forged links with diverse civil society actors and organizations, with parliamentarians, mayors, and other civic leaders, and with prominent cultural figures. ICAN “ambassadors” include the Dalai Lama, anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-landmines advocate Jody Williams, jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and many others.

IPPNW focuses, in particular, on the medical and humanitarian reasons for a global abolition treaty, such as the long term medical consequences of nuclear weapons use, the climate effects of regional nuclear war ("nuclear famine"), and the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and production and of an expanding uranium mining industry.

The ICAN action plan has three strategic components:

  1. there is a humanitarian imperative to stigmatize nuclear weapons as fundamentally inhumane; banning them outright requires a comprehensive treaty-based approach rather than arms control;
  2. the time is right to build stronger links and common cause with local, national, and international humanitarian, peace, human rights, environmental, and disarmament NGOs, and to develop a network of civil society campaigners all over the world committed to push for nuclear abolition;
  3. non-nuclear-weapon states can and should take the lead to prepare for and negotiate a global treaty banning nuclear weapons, which will create an indisputable obligation for the nuclear-weapon states to eliminate their arsenals.

Detailed information about ICAN, facts and arguments supporting the Ban Treaty, campaign news and updates, and campaign materials can be found at Sign the ICAN petition. And learn how to get involved.

For more information about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), contact John Loretz, Program Director.