On October 6, 2017, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
According to the Nobel Committee, ICAN is receiving the award "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."
The United Nations' adoption of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, and ICAN's extraordinary work leading to it, was a stunning achievement with profound impact on global efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. Against the odds and great skepticism, the members of ICAN thought they could succeed. With grit and imagination this alliance of small non-government groups convinced over one hundred nations to sign the humanitarian pledge against nuclear weapons. Then, more importantly, they convinced 122 nations to negotiate and sign a treaty banning nuclear weapons, filling in a glaring gap in international laws prohibiting weapons of mass destruction.
The Nobel Committee — like the people of the world — fears the rising danger of nuclear weapons. All nine nuclear-armed states are building more and newer nuclear weapons. The risk of nuclear war is at its highest level since the early 1980’s with impulsive, unpredictable leaders elevating the role of nuclear weapons and playing nuclear chicken in Northeast Asia.
It is our hope that the Nobel Committee's powerful support of a leading peace and security group will heighten public awareness of the risk — and propel public support for legal, collective, peaceful solutions. If the great nations won’t eliminate the one weapon that can destroy humanity, then the people themselves must force them to do so.
ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on July 7, 2017, at the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.
We are proud that three — now four — Ploughshares Fund grantees have won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Jody Williams (supporting her efforts to establish what would become the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICBL), and most recently, ICAN.
We warmly congratulate ICAN on the well-deserved recognition of their exceptional work.