Eliminating Nuclear Threats

A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers



GARETH EVANS and YORIKO KAWAGUCHI CO-CHAIRS                    Commission Members

Annex c: HOW the commission worked

Origins and Mandate

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation was established in 2008 as a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments. Its creation was proposed by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a speech in Kyoto on 9 June 2008 in which he described how moved he had been by his visit a day earlier to Hiroshima, whose peace memorial, he said, “reminds all humanity that each generation must commit itself afresh to the cause of peace because the cost of war is beyond any new generation’s imagining.” Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda warmly embraced the idea (as have his successors Taro Aso and Yukio Hatoyama), and he and his Australian counterpart announced the appointment of the Commission’s Co-chairs on 9 July 2008. The new Commission was formally launched in New York on 25 September 2008 by Prime Ministers Rudd and Aso.

The stated aim of the Commission was to reinvigorate, at a high political level, global debate on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, in the context both of the forthcoming 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, and beyond. The NPT remains the most significant and successful arms control instrument of the nuclear age, but has been under strain from a number of directions, not least North Korea and Iran, and is manifestly in need of revitalisation. The Commission was tasked to advise how that might best be done (focusing on disarmament as much as non-proliferation), but also to closely address related issues like how best to bring the nuclear-armed states outside the NPT into the global system, and how to meet growing concerns about the proliferation implications of a dramatic increase in civil nuclear energy. It was asked to complete its main report well in time for its efforts to shape a new global consensus to feed into the May 2010 NPT Review Conference, but its mandate – including international advocacy, and possibly further reporting – will continue at least until mid 2010.

The Commission was intended to build upon, and take further, the work of distinguished earlier commissions and panels, notably the 1996 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the 1999 Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, the 2004 UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the 2006 Blix Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and the 2008 Zedillo Commission of Eminent Persons on the future of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was hoped that its analysis and recommendations would be seen by policymakers as comprehensive, sharp-edged and practically useful; the Commission recognised from the outset that its report would not be likely to make much impact if they were not.

Although initiated by two Asia-Pacific countries, the Commission’s work was conceived as being necessarily global rather than regional in scope, and its composition and methodology, as described below, clearly reflect that. And although initiated by two governments, and primarily funded by the government of Australia, its work from the outset has been understood to be completely independent of government positions, with its members appointed in their personal capacity rather than as representatives of their respective countries.


The Australian and Japanese prime ministers in July 2008 jointly invited to head the Commission as its Co-chairs former Foreign Ministers Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi. On their advice, following widespread consultations, the appointment of thirteen other Commissioners was announced in September 2008 – all of them eminent and outstanding individuals from around the world, including former heads of government and ministers, military strategists and disarmament experts, and all uniquely placed to bring fresh and imaginative vision to the undertaking. The Commission was deeply saddened by the death in December 2008 of former Indonesian Foreign Minister and global statesman Ali Alatas, who participated in its first meeting and would certainly have made an outstanding contribution to its work, as has his Indonesian successor. A full list of Commissioners, with biographical summaries, is in Annex B.

Advisory Board Members

The Commission has been greatly assisted in its work by an Advisory Board, comprising a further 27 distinguished experts from around the globe, who accepted the invitation of the Co-chairs to play this role. They brought further high-level expertise in a full range of disciplines relevant to the broad mandate of the Commission, and added an even wider range of perspectives to the Commission’s thinking. A number of Advisory Board members (identified by * in the list below) played a dual role as Research Consultants, most participated in at least one Commission meeting (and many in most meetings), and all were consulted at various stages of the Commission’s deliberations by the Co-chairs or other commissioners.

The members of the Advisory Board are Nobuyasu Abe (Japan)*, UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs 2003–06, Director of the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Shlomo Ben-Ami (Israel), Minister of Foreign Affairs 2000–01, Vice-President of the Toledo International Centre for Peace; Hans Blix (Sweden), Director General of the IAEA 1981–97, Executive Chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission 2000–03, Chairman, Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission 2006; Lakhdar Brahimi (Algeria), Minister of Foreign Affairs 1991–93, UN Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative, Envoy and Adviser 1997–2006; John Carlson (Australia), Director General of Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office since 1989; Nabil Fahmy (Egypt), Ambassador of Egypt to the United States 1999–2008, to Japan, 1997–1999, Political Adviser to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, 1992–1997, Founding Dean of the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Cairo, 2009; Louise Fréchette (Canada), Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations 1998–2006, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation; Lawrence Freedman (United Kingdom), Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982; Roberto García Moritán (Argentina), Secretary of Foreign Affairs 2005–2008, President of the Conference on Disarmament 1992, 2009, Member of the Board of the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission; Han Sung-Joo (Republic of Korea), Minister of Foreign Affairs 1993–94, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Korea University, Chairman of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies; Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka), Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka 2008–09, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York 2005–08 and Geneva 2001–04; Henry Kissinger (United States), Secretary of State 1973–77, National Security Advisor 1969–75, Chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc.; Shunsuke Kondo (Japan), Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission since 2004; Anne Lauvergeon (France), Chief Executive Officer of AREVA since 1999; Martine Letts (Australia)*, former Australian Ambassador, Secretary General of the Australian Red Cross 2001–04, Deputy Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy; Patricia Lewis (Ireland)*, Deputy Director and Scientist-in-Residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey, Director of UNIDIR 1997–2008; Andrea Margelletti (Italy), Chairman of the Centre for International Studies, Rome; Sam Nunn (United States), Senator from Georgia 1972–97, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee 1987–1995, Co-Chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; Robert O’Neill (Australia), Chichele Professor for the History of War at Oxford University 1987–2000, Director of IISS 1982–87, then Council Member and Chairman 1996–2001, Member of the Canberra Commission 1995–96; George Perkovich (United States)*, Vice-President of Studies and Director of the Non-Proliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; V.R. Raghavan (India)*, Director General of Military Operations 1992–94, Adviser, Delhi Policy Group; George Robertson (United Kingdom), Secretary of Defence 1997–99, Secretary General of NATO 1999–2004; Michel Rocard (France), Prime Minister 1988–91; Adam Daniel Rotfeld (Poland), Foreign Minister of Poland 2005, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 1990–2002, Member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters since 2008; Yukio Satoh (Japan), Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations 1998–2002, President of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, 2003–09; George Shultz (United States), Secretary of State 1982–89, Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University; and Hans van den Broek (Netherlands), Minister of Foreign Affairs 1982–1993, European Commissioner for External Relations 1993–1999.

Research Support

Rather than seeking to build any substantial in-house research capability, the Commission decided from the outset to draw on existing resources worldwide, with a number of Associated Research Centres – in the event, nine of them – being appointed to lead the effort in their respective countries or regions; a number of members of the Advisory Board (and several Commissioners) contributing substantial papers or drafts on request; and a number of specific pieces of research being commissioned from experts around the world as the need arose (to elaborate particular issues not adequately covered in existing work, to provide alternative views and specific national and regional insights where thought needed, or to provide overviews of existing literature). In all, over 50 pieces of new research were commissioned and most of these papers have been placed on the Commission website, www.icnnd.org. In addition the Commission of course drew extensively on the great body of research already available in the open literature. Former Australian diplomat Ken Berry acted as Research Coordinator for the Commission, pulling all these threads together and himself writing a number of research papers.

The Commission’s Associated Research Centres are the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC (President: Jessica T. Mathews, Vice President for Studies: George Perkovich) and Moscow (Director, Research Council Chair: Dmitri Trenin); Centre for International Governance and Innovation, Waterloo, Canada (Executive Director: Dr John English, Distinguished Fellow in Nuclear Energy: Louise Fréchette); Delhi Policy Group, New Delhi (Chairman: Shankar Bajpai, Adviser: Lt.Gen. (Retd.) V.R. Raghavan); Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), San Jose, Costa Rica (Secretary General: Francisco Rojas); Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris (Directeur: Camille Grand, Conseiller Spécial du Président: François Heisbourg, Maître de recherche: Bruno Tertrais); Japan Institute of International Affairs, Tokyo (President: Yoshiji Nogami); King’s College, London (Vice-Principal (Research): Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, War Studies Group); Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney (Executive Director: Michael Wesley, Deputy Director: Martine Letts, Program Director, International Security: Rory Medcalf); and Tsinghua University, Beijing (Director of the Institute of International Studies: Yan Xuetong, Director of the Arms Control Program: Professor Li Bin).

Commission Meetings

The Commission met four times from October 2008 to October 2009. The focus of the initial meeting in Sydney from 19 to 21 October 2008 was on the mandate of the Commission, its working methods and the structure and content of reports. The second and third meetings, in Washington DC from 13 to 15 February and Moscow from 19 to 21 June 2009, elaborated a detailed structure for the report and involved a wide-ranging examination of all the issues. In light of those discussions, drafts of different sections of the report were commissioned from a range of experts, including from among the Commissioners, Advisory Board and Secretariat members. A draft prepared by the Co-chairs themselves on the basis of those inputs was reviewed in detail, and a final text was agreed, by the fourth Commission meeting in Hiroshima from 17 to 20 October 2009.

Regional Meetings

Working in close association with the relevant Associated Research Centres, the Co-chairs convened Regional Meetings which brought together available Commissioners and Advisory Board members with participants from key regional countries from government, universities and research institutes, and where appropriate the nuclear energy sector. These meetings allowed the Commission to examine regional dimensions of the disarmament and non-proliferation challenge, as well as to gain regional perspectives on global security issues. The Commission also used these meetings to develop a broader base of understanding of and support for the goal of reinvigorating dialogue on the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. The meetings were conducted under the Chatham House confidentiality rule. Press releases issued before and after the meetings, and transcripts of related press conferences are available at the Commission website, icnnd, as are full lists of those attending.

Dialogue with Civil Society

In October 2008 the Co-chairs appointed as NGO advisers Akira Kawasaki of Peace Boat Japan and Tilman Ruff of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons of Australia, to ensure that the Commission was fully briefed on the views of civil society and disarmament activists not only in Australia and Japan but globally. A session of the Commission meeting in Moscow was dedicated to hearing and discussing civil society inputs, including a presentation from the Mayor of Hiroshima Tadatoshi Akiba. At its Washington DC meeting, the Commission heard from three atomic bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (hibakusha). And at its Hiroshima meeting, the Commission had the opportunity to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, participate in some moving welcoming events, hear further hibakusha testimony, and engage in a round table meeting with Japanese and international civil society activists and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dialogue with Nuclear Industry (Moscow, 22 June 2009)

Associated with the Commission meeting in Moscow, the Commissioners held a day-long round-table consultation with representatives of the world’s nuclear power industry ranging over six continents – in addition to host institutions in Russia, the experts came from firms based in South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, Australia and Japan, Canada and the U.S., and from France and the UK. The Commission explored industry views on measures adopted globally to reduce the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons – particularly international inspections and controls on trade in nuclear related equipment and materials. Discussions also covered ideas for enhanced proliferation resistance through the adoption of multilateral fuel cycle facilities and for closer collaboration between industry and government on nuclear issues including the development and promotion of standards. A full list of those participating may be found on the Commission’s website, www.icnnd.org/releases/090622_js_cochairs_icnnd_moscow.html.

Other Consultations

Co-chairs Evans and Kawaguchi and Commissioners have conducted an extensive program of consultations and briefings with a range of governments, international organisations, academics, think tanks and civil society and disarmament activists. In association with formal Commission and Regional Meetings, discussions have been held at head of government or senior ministerial level, or both, with the governments of Australia, the United States, Russia and Japan, and with Chile, China, Egypt and India, and many other bilateral meetings explaining and seeking input and support for the Commission’s work have been conducted by the Co-chairs in the course of their respective travels since mid-2008.

Key international institutions briefed by the Co-chairs on the work of the Commission included the Secretary-General of the United Nations and missions accredited to the United Nations in New York; the Conference on Disarmament and accredited missions in Geneva; the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and accredited missions to the United Nations in Vienna.

Administrative Support

The work of the Commission was supported by a small Secretariat operating from the International Security Division of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, and a parallel unit in the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.

The Secretary of the Commission, and head of the Australian team, has been Ian Biggs, supported by Melissa Hitchman, Louise Holgate, Leona Landers, John Page and John Tilemann, and a rotating group of graduate assistants, with Ken Berry acting as Research Coordinator. The Australian Secretariat assumed the primary responsibility for organizing Commission meetings (other than in Japan) and Regional Meetings, managing the research program, and arranging for the publication and distribution of this report.

The head of the Japanese team has been Toshio Sano, supported by Yasunari Morino and his successor Hideo Suzuki, Junichiro Otaka and his successor Tomosaburo Esaki, Shigeru Umetsu, Haruna Abe, Shoko Haruki, Koichi Nakamura and Masako Yamashita. Staff of Australian and Japanese Embassies around the world provided additional and much appreciated support to the Secretariats.


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