On June 22, 2015, at the close of its 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 10th consecutive year, unanimously adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, noting that August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Recalling that at the conclusion of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the US and the other nuclear-weapon states reaffirmed their “unequivocal undertaking … to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals” pursuant to Article VI of the Treaty, and agreed to “convene a conference in 2012 … on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction,” the USCM “reaffirms its call on the US government to support commencement of a process to negotiate the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”
In its resolution, titled “Calling for Effective Implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Disarmament Obligation and Redirection of Nuclear Weapons Spending to Meet the Needs of Cities,” the USCM also “expresses its support for the successful conclusion of negotiations with Iran on a comprehensive nuclear deal and urges the US government to support the convening of a conference on establishing a Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction at the earliest possible date.”
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Citing the fact that over the next decade, the US plans to spend $348 billion to maintain and modernize its nuclear forces, the USCM declares that “the needs of America’s cities can only be met by adopting new priorities to create a just and sustainable economy, infrastructure and environment,” and “calls on the President and Congress to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement, and to redirect those funds to address the pressing needs of cities.”
In conclusion, the USCM “reaffirms its support for Mayors for Peace and its ‘2020 Vision’ and joins Mayors for Peace in urging the policymakers of the world, especially from nuclear-armed states, to visit the atomic bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as soon as possible to see the reality of the atomic bombings for themselves and listen to the survivors’ appeal for peace and disarmament.”
Mayors for Peace, an international organization founded in 1982 and led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, aims through its 2020 Vision Campaign to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Mayors for Peace membership has grown by more than tenfold since 2003; as of June 1, 2015, counting 6,706 cities in 160 countries and regions, including 204 US members, representing some 1 billion people, one-seventh of the world’s population.
The USCM is the nonpartisan association of US cities with populations over 30,000. As explained by its outgoing president, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, who chaired the final plenary, resolutions adopted “will become the official policy of the US Conference of Mayors.”
In 2004, the USCM adopted a resolution declaring that “weapons of mass destruction have no place in a civilized world,” and called on the US President to support a decision of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to “commence negotiations on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons,” and since 2006, has adopted annual resolutions in support of Mayors for Peace, its “Cities Are Not Targets” project and its 2020 Vision Campaign, and calling for US leadership in global elimination of nuclear weapons and redirection of nuclear weapons spending to meet the urgent needs of cities.
The 2015 resolution comes at a time of heightened nuclear tensions between the US and Russia, and as the deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran approaches. On May 22, the month-long five-year NPT Review Conference ended without agreement on a final outcome document, due to objections by the United States, backed by the United Kingdom and Canada, to rescheduling the Middle East Conference. The agreement would have provided that, even if states in the region could not agree on an agenda, the conference would be convened by May 1, 2016, with or without Israel’s consent or participation. Israel, the only nuclear-armed state in the region, is not a member of the NPT.
The 2015 Mayors for Peace USCM resolution was sponsored by: Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa; Mayor Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach, Florida; Mayor John Dickert, Racine, Wisconsin; Mayor Denny Doyle, Beaverton, Oregon; Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Mayor Frank Ortis, Pembroke Pines, Florida; Mayor Geraldine Muoio, West Palm Beach, Florida; Mayor Stodola, Little Rock, Arkansas; Mayor Roy Buol, Dubuque, Iowa; Mayor Chris Koos, Normal, Illinois; Mayor Luigi Boria, Doral, Florida; Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin; and Mayor Michael Brennan, Portland, Maine.