Recommended Websites

United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

unidir-logoUNIDIR is the United Nations institute for disarmament research, based in Geneva. The institute  deals with a wide range of issues related to disarmament and international security, and they have a separate section on their website dedicated to weapons of mass destruction. This includes i.a. a considerable amount of publications and background information on issues related to nuclear weapons.

ILPI recommends: UNIDIR is currently running a research projects focusing on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which notably follows and analyzes  ongoing efforts to shift the focus of the multilateral discourse on nuclear weapons. The publications produced as part of this project are very insightful and highly recommended. The blog Disarmament Insight is also worth taking a closer look at.

Reaching Critical Will (RCW)

Established by the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in 1999, as an initiative to ”promote and facilitate engagement of non-governmental actors in UN processes related to disarmament”. RCW maintains an extensive resource base of reports and background documents related to intergovernmental disarmament processes. This website is used as much by diplomats and policy-makers as by researchers and NGOs, and has become the leading source of information on the nuclear weapons disarmament discourse.

ILPI recommends: Use RCW if you are looking for official documents or reports from disarmament meetings. RCW also provides logistical support for NGOs that want to participate as observers during such meetings.

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

OPCWThe Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. As of today OPCW has 192 Member States, who are working together to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.

ILPI recommends: The OPCW website contains a wealth of information about protection from chemical weapons and the Chemical Weapons Convention and its history.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Aims to bring about multilateral negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons. ICAN was launched in Australia in 2007, and now has branches in a number of countries around the world, including a staff of three in Geneva and two in Oslo. ICAN is organized as a campaign and seeks to bring as many actors (NGOs, companies, governments) behind the demand for a universal prohibition of nuclear weapons. More than 200 organizations have already endorsed ICANs demand.

ILPI recommends: ICAN’s website contains large amounts of campaign-related material and ideas that can be used freely as long as the aim is to support ICANs demand for abolishing nuclear weapons. ICAN also provides live updates on the status and progress of the campaign through Facebook and Twitter. By hitting “like” on ICANs facebook page you can show your interest, receive as much information as you want and take part in facebook discussions on the subject.

Rethinking Nuclear Weapons

This blog is authored by Ward Wilson, an author dedicated to understand and unpack the many myths surrounding nuclear weapons and focus on the realities of nuclear weapons. Designed to avoid preconceptions and ingrained biases, it tries to focus on actual experiences and practical consequences. Wilson has spent more than twenty-five years studying and writing about nuclear weapons. His entries reflect conversations with key actors involved with these issues today.

ILPI recommends: Wilson’s blog bring new and surprising perspectives on some of the most commonly held perceptions about nuclear weapons. His blog contains annotated biographies, analysis and recommendations for further actions.

Global Zero

The international Global Zero movement was launched in December 2008 and includes more than 300 political, military, business, faith and civic leaders, as well as large numbers of citizens around the world. Global Zero works for a phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide, and has published a draft plan for the attainment of that goal. The plan can be found on the Global Zero website. In addition to lobbying and advocacy efforts, GZ produces reports and analyses that aim to strengthen the case for nuclear disarmament. The GZ website also contains interactive tools and basic information about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.

ILPI recommends: Global Zero has published a series of reports, including a study on the economic costs of retaining nuclear weapons. In 2010, GZ also produced a documentary on nuclear disarmament (Countdown to Zero) that received considerable media attention. Information about the movie and the reports can be found on the website.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)

Is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 2001 by the high profile Americans Ted Turner and Sam Nunn. NTI´s mandate is to strengthen global security by reducing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and also to reduce the risk that they will actually be used. NTI publishes regular reports and analyses on the current state of affairs of non-conventional disarmament issues.

ILPI recommmends: NTI publishes a daily news update on non-conventional disarmament issues, the Global Security Newswire. You can sign up for the daily GSN newsletter on the NTI website.

The Nuclear Security Project

Building on ideas set forward in two Wall Street Journal op-eds in January 2007 (external) and January 2008 (external), both co-authored by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, the Nuclear Security Project (NSP) links the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons with urgent steps that can be taken immediately to reduce nuclear dangers. In 2010 the project produced a documentary that included interviews with the four former political authorities. The film (Nuclear Tipping point) was released at about the same time as Countdown to Zero. The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) serves as the Secretariat for the NSP, in cooperation with the Hoover Institution.

ILPI recommends: The NSP provides easy access to all the op-eds written by Shultz, Perry, Kissinger and Nunn. The op-eds from 2007 and 2008 were instrumental in bringing about the current momentum of the nuclear disarmament agenda, as they provide a realist argument for nuclear disarmament that bridges the traditional gap between the “hawks and doves” in the US.

Federation of American Scientists (FAS)

Founded in 1945 by many of the scientists who developed the first atomic bombs. FAS’s founding mission was to prevent nuclear war. Over time the work has expanded into other areas, but the Nuclear Information Project (NIP) remains an important part of the FAS portfolio. NIP aims to provide “the general public and policy-makers with information and analysis on the status, number, and operation of nuclear weapons, the policies that guide their potential use and nuclear arms control”.

ILPI recommends: NIP includes useful knowledge on the scientific sides of nuclear weapons, including estimates of the effects of a nuclear detonations. It also provides some of the most reliable data on the status of nuclear forces in the world. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) (external) is another important source of such information, even if its scope extends far beyond issues of relevance to the international discourse on nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Darkness

An encyclopedic-style website that covers mainly technical aspects of nuclear weapons, including explanation of common terms such as “hydrogen bombs”. The site mainly aggregates information published elsewhere.
ILPI recommends: The site includes data on estimated environmental consequences of a nuclear war. The data has been calculated by using updated models for predicting climate change. It shows how even a small nuclear exchange would have catastrophic climatic consequences worldwide. The site also features a firestorm simulator that allows you to choose a city and a nuclear device and then estimate the destructive effect such a detonation would have.

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Funded by grants from private foundations and a large number of individual donors, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington DC based non-profit, non-partisan research organization. Dedicated to enhancing international peace and security, its scope goes beyond nuclear weapons. With regards to nuclear weapons, its goals are to reduce the stockpiles worldwide, maintain the moratorium on testing and stop the development of nuclear weapons, decrease the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, halt the deployment of untested missile defense systems, and strengthen treaty-based cooperative arms control efforts worldwide.

ILPI recommends: Its website provides a subpage (external) with links to relevant articles, organised by topic.

Nuclear Abolition Forum

This is the website of the Nuclear Abolition Forum, a dialogue initiative to achieve and sustain a nuclear weapons-free world. Rather than advocating any particular approach to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, this forum seeks to include a variety of perspectives. The forum has a number of key participating organizations, including Global Security Institute, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

ILPI recommends: Right from its autumn 2011 launch, this website offers a wide range of links to key articles, all arranged by topic and coering areas ranging from civil society to delivery vehicles.

Africa’s Development and the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction

This blog is authored by the Institute for Security Studies’ Africa’s Development and the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction Project. The Project aims to identify and strengthen Africa’s role in international efforts to strengthen disarmament and non-proliferation as they relate to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the context of Africa’s developmental imperatives. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) (external) is a pan-African applied policy research institute headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa with offices in Cape Town, South Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Dakar, Senegal.

ILPI recommends: This blog offers a range of publications as well as news updates on WMD and Africa. In particular, the blog provides thorough publications on the African nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and nuclear security, energy and technology in Africa.