The following article was published on 23 June 2017 on the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe website: http://unric.org/en/latest-un-buzz/30605-youth-and-the-un-nuclear-ban-negotiations
23 June 2017 – The United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Eliminationtakes place in New York from 15 June to 7 July. We caught up with Leah Murphy, a young Irish woman who was in attendance at the negotiations with Amplify, to learn more about youth involvement in these negotiations.
Leah, what exactly is Amplify and how are you involved?
Amplify is an international network of younger leaders in the field of nuclear abolition. Our network is uniting youth from all over the world, representing different NGOs and individuals. Our common goal is to amplify and strengthen the call for complete nuclear abolition. From 16 June to 21 June, I was chosen as one of 16 youth delegates from 13 countries to be involved in the Amplify Youth Summit.
What did you get up to at the Summit?
So much! We had a busy schedule from start to finish.
On the 17 June we participated in the New York Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, with 4 members of our delegation taking to the podium.
We attended the plenary sessions and several side events within UNHQ. We submitted our working paper to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, which is available online [here]. We got to meet the president of the negotiations, H.E. Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez, and discuss key issues such as youth involvement in the negotiations and disarmament education.
Not only were we at UNHQ to observe the negotiations, but on our delegates had an opportunity to join in and present a statement on behalf of Amplify.
We also had amazing opportunities to meet delegates from Austria, Ireland and many other countries, as well as getting a chance to mingle with people from many different disarmament NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) at our Youth Reception for Nuclear Abolition on 21 June.
Overall, the Summit was an amazing experience, and it was great to be there with such a strong, diverse group of people. I feel that we really represented the youth voice in the negotiation room, and proved that we could hold our own!
Why is youth involvement in the negotiations so important?
Amplify firmly believes that these negotiations can benefit greatly from meaningful youth participation, and that the voices and ideas of our generation are required to be successful in this process. A treaty which concerns the security and humanity of all requires youth involvement, because it really is the youth building the future. It would be great to see more States having youth delegates at the negotiations.
If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we really need to address the lack of youth involvement in discussions, and also aim for gender equality, diversity and inclusivity.
How can people keep up to date with the Treaty negotiations?
You can keep up to date with Amplify at amplifyyouth.org. If you want to raise your voice to help abolish nuclear weapons you’ll also be able to sign our Youth Pledge on our website.
You can follow us on Twitter @AmplifyNetwork and on Instagram @Amplify.youthorg, and remember to join the conversation with #NuclearBan
The negotiations are being streamed live at webtv.un.org