Why cities?


Why should cities take the lead in nuclear disarmament? Check out some of the main arguments below for your advocacy efforts.


  • As cities are the main targets of nuclear weapons, cities have a special responsibility to their constituents to speak out against any role for nuclear weapons in national security doctrines. The pressure from the grassroots, catalyzed by city governments, can contribute directly significantly to the success of the TPNW.


  • Cities are champions in challenging the world’s most urgent existential issues. Just like with nuclear weapons, climate change is forecasted to impact cities the hardest. This has motivated cities to take action and we are seeing the establishment of new coalitions of cities across the world to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level.


  • This approach also underpins the ICAN Cities Appeal, which aims to promote initiatives that municipalities can take to stand up against nuclear weapons and explore measures which promote nuclear disarmament. ICAN’s suggested initiatives include taking steps to ensure that funds administered by a city are not invested in nuclear weapon producers, informing the national government of a city’s support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and awareness-raising steps aimed at local populations and the media.


  • It is vital that states committed to nuclear disarmament and a rules-based world order work to strengthen the nuclear taboo by joining the TPNW. Nuclear weapons serve no legitimate military or strategic purpose and this new instrument, through its stigmatising normative effect, offers the best hope of ending decades of deadlock in disarmament and moving the world towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.


  • Municipal governments form a close and active link with their constituents and local social movements. An international coalition of cities and civil society can therefore play a game-changing role in breaking the unacceptable status quo in nuclear weapons policy, taking a decisive step towards elimination.  


  • National awareness is needed to advance the norm embodied by the TPNW, especially in nuclear weapon states and those countries that are in military alliances which involve the threat of use of nuclear weapons. It is these States which can play the most influential role in pressuring nuclear weapon states to stop the new nuclear arms race and take steps to reject nuclear weapons once and for all.