IPPNW World Congress 2023 Unveils Nexus between Disarmament, Climate Crisis, and Health May 25, 2023

The IPPNW World Congress, held in Mombasa, Kenya last month, served as a significant platform for global experts, activists, and students to convene and deliberate on the critical issues of nuclear disarmament, climate crisis, and health. From April 26th to April 30th, 2023, the event explored the profound impact of nuclear weapons on non-nuclear states and the Global South, while also examining the intersection between climate change and nuclear disarmament. The delegation from the United States included Tova Fuller, MD, PhD and David Drake, DO, MTS from the PSR Board of Directors, members Bob Gould, MD, Ira Helfand, MD, Andy Kanter MD, PSR staffers Isabella Javidan and Jasmine Owens and Oregon PSR Executive Director Kamil Khan. Bob Dodge, MD and Ellen Ferranti, MD tuned into the Congress virtually. PSR’s Jasmine Owens and Bella Javidan made substantial contributions through their workshops and engagements during the congress.

Isabella Javidan’s workshop, Traditional Media Messaging and Nuclear Orientalism, focused on dissecting the influence of traditional media narratives and encouraged participants to critically analyze how these narratives shape public perceptions of nuclear weapons. By highlighting the concept of “Nuclear Orientalism,” the workshop aimed to challenge prevailing stereotypes and biases associated with nuclear issues. This critical examination of media messaging opens avenues for a more nuanced understanding of the implications of nuclear weapons, particularly in non-nuclear states and the Global South.

The Youth Forum, a significant component of the IPPNW World Congress, featured Jasmine Owens, Associate Director of the Nuclear Weapons Abolition program at PSR as a panelist. The panel revolved around the interconnectedness of climate chaos, nuclear war, economic and social justice, and health. Through the insightful discussions, the forum underlined the urgency of understanding the complex relationship between climate change, nuclear disarmament, and their implications on social and economic equity and public health. Jasmine also presented a workshop, Building Bridges between Nuclear-Armed and Non-Nuclear-Armed States. By fostering dialogue and understanding, Owens sought to create a common ground for discussing disarmament, climate crisis, and health. 

The IPPNW World Congress provided a platform for experts to delve into various critical themes, unveiling the intricate connections between disarmament, climate crisis, and health. Some key topics addressed included:

  1. US Military: The Leading Carbon Emitter: The congress shed light on the fact that the US military stands as the largest producer of carbon emissions globally. Recognizing this crucial aspect of the climate crisis helps emphasize the need for comprehensive actions and policy changes.
  2. Climate Crisis and Conflict: Discussions underscored the heightened likelihood of conflicts arising from the climate crisis. The increasing scarcity of resources and the environmental consequences of climate change contribute to tensions and potential conflicts on a global scale.
  3. Uranium Mining’s Impact on the Global South: The Congress emphasized the significant impact of uranium mining on the Global South, predominantly sub-Saharan Africa. The extraction process and its associated environmental hazards disproportionately affect communities in these regions, underscoring the urgency for environmentally just practices.

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