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Mayors demand ban of all nuclear weapons by 2020

Mayors for Peace

At a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba announced that the 2020 Vision Campaign of Mayors for Peace is successful in preparing for the Decisive Decade for Nuclear Disarmament. Mayor Akiba, also President of Mayors for Peace, declared, "An ambitious membership drive which begun last January has come to fruition: we now have 2,028 Mayors in 127 countries rallying for the 2020 Vision!". Over 400 new members joined Mayors for Peace during 2007 (1).

The past month 46 new cities have joined Mayors for Peace, with a remarkable high number from the Czech Republic where Mayors are organizing against deployment of the proposed US NMD radar base. Also new Belgian membership is remarkable with now over 50% of all Belgian Mayors rallying for withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Belgian territory as a step to a global ban. (2)

Mayors for Peace has been campaigning for four years to rid the world of nuclear weapons by the year 2020, so it is of special significance that last month the 2020th mayor joined the organization. "As President of the Mayors for Peace I am proud to see how, inspired by the 2020 Vision Campaign, hundreds and hundreds of mayors join our ranks each year." Mayor Akiba added.

"The challenge we face is to turn this support from mayors into a leading factor in public awareness and governmental action," declared Mayor Luc Dehaene of Ypres, Belgium (3). The new Chairman of the 2020 Vision Campaign continued, "Last year we received the endorsement of the UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), the organization recognized as the voice for cities by the United Nations. Since half of humanity now resides in cities, when we declare 'Cities Are Not Target!' we must be heard."

During the next months and years Mayors for Peace will be preparing for a "Decisive Decade for Nuclear Disarmament" as the contribution of cities, and ultimately many others, to the UN Decade for Disarmament
(2010-2020) which aims the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2020.

In another important membership development, the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki decided last week to open the ranks of Mayors for Peace to Japanese mayors. In the past, membership in Japan was restricted to the
founding cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki out of concern that Japanese membership might overwhelm the initial international membership. But, as membership has nearly quadrupled since 2004, it is time to actively
involve Japanese cities in the campaign to ban all nuclear weapons by 2020. This decision has the support of the 250-cities strong Japanese National Council of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Local Authorities.

For the period of preparation for the Decisive Decade, the new international membership goal is to recruit "a member a day" bringing the total to almost 3000 members by August 2010, the 65th anniversaries
of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Executive Conference (4) of Mayors for Peace decided to continue recruitment as Mayors seem very willing to get involved. They also invite all members of Mayors for Peace to make a financial contribution to achieve this goal. The Executive Conference has 12 members, including the founding Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the Mayors of Akron (Ohio), Florence, Hannover, Manchester, Volgograd and Ypres.

The past 25 years it were solely the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who shared the financial burden of the campaign. Following a successful pilot-project with Belgian cities committing financial support to the
campaign, the network now feels confident that members in other countries understand the need for financial support towards the goal of a Nuclear Free World.

Notes:

(1) List of 2,028 members www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/membercity/map.html

(2) List of 46 new members www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/topic/list/46.htm

(3) The city of Ypres was completely destroyed during the First World War and witnessed the first chemical attacks in 1915. The City of Ypres is working closely with Hiroshima and hosts the international 2020 Vision Campaign secretariat. Today the City of Ypres actively promotes the need of elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Pictures Ypres World War I on www.2020visioncampaign.org/pages/266/

(4) Members Executive Conference and Campaign association www.2020visioncampaign.org/pages/106/About_us

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