‘I feel that the decision to award the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN is highly appropriate,’ says SIPRI Director Dan Smith. ‘Almost 50 years ago, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty committed the nuclear-weapon states to achieve nuclear disarmament. The effectiveness of the campaign by ICAN is a sign of widespread impatience with what many see as the failure to do that.’
People all around the world are acutely aware of increasing nuclear risk, exemplified by recent nuclear developments in North Korea and the growing vulnerability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran nuclear deal. For the first time since the cold war, there is a real danger of a nuclear conflict. When assessing risk, nuclear experts consider three situations in which nuclear conflict could occur: an unanticipated attack, an accident or as the result of an escalating crisis. The main risks today fall into the second and third categories. ‘The world has witnessed declining respect for the unique destructive capacity of nuclear weapons. At a time when the nuclear threat is increasing, ICAN reminds us that it is important to imagine a world in which they do not exist,’ Smith concludes.