Amplify @ the Nuclear Ban Negotiations: What you need to know…

Photo: Amplify

My name is Leah, I’m 23, and I’m from a town called Drogheda, just north of Dublin (Ireland). I have a diverse background, having studied midwifery from 2011–2015, and then international relations from 2015–2016. During university I can’t really say I was involved in any youth or disarmament societies, and whilst I have always felt that we need to ban nuclear weapons, my true passion didn’t start to emerge until the second semester of my Master’s degree. During the course the semester I had the opportunity to learn more about disarmament in general, and little by little, my interest grew.

In August 2016 I saw a post on Facebook about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ (ICAN) Youth Summit. I applied, not really thinking I’d get the opportunity to attend, but then found myself, at the end of October, on a flight to Paris. I found “Amplify: Generation of Change” in a similar way, although when I applied for the Amplify Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition, I had a bit more background and knowledge. Being with Amplify at the UN Negotiations was an honour and a truly memorable experience.

Amplify is an international network of younger leaders in the field of nuclear abolition. There were 16 Amplify Youth Delegates, representing 13 countries, present at the Youth Summit and nuclear ban negotiations, which ran from the 17th-21st June in New York.

Photo: Amplify

We know that these negotiations can benefit greatly from meaningful youth participation. It’s our future, so we’ve got to have a say.

During the 17th and the 18th of June, Amplify had a chance to strategize and delegate roles to individuals for our time in the UN. Prior to the Summit we had developed a working paper (WP43), which we submitted to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Our working paper details what we, a collective and diverse group of youth from across the world, would like to see in the final Treaty text.

As a youth network, we want to see more youth involved in the negotiations, with more youthful bums at those important negotiation tables!

Photo: Thea Mjelstad

We had the opportunity to make a statement during the plenary session on ‘Positive Obligations’ and we place a high importance on disarmament education. We would like to see all States Parties supporting disarmament education, on a global scale. We also really want to see victims of nuclear weapons receiving victim’s assistance that they need, and deserve, and strongly support rights-based, age- and gender-sensitive victim assistance.

Amplify hosted a little shindig on the evening of the 20th of June, which was attended not only by youth, but by some of the biggest names in nuclear abolition showbiz. This event offered a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to discuss the negotiations, while eating various type of foods with dips (I didn’t know bacon cheddar ranch dip was a thing, so I learned a lot that night…)

Photo: Thea Mjelstad

I’m tapping this out as I sit in Dublin Airport at 06:30am, reflecting on what I’ve learned over the past few days:

1. Marching for nuclear abolition is more fun in the rain
2. You can’t find anything to eat in the UN after 6
3. Young women and men are the future, and trust me… we’ve got this ;)

/Leah

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