April 12-13 – Basel, International Conference Move the Nuclear Weapons Money

This conference brought together legislators (mayors, city councilors and parliamentarians), financial managers, and experts in disarmament and climate change to examine successful divestment policies and support their expansion and replication. The conference also addressed impact investment and built cooperation to advance related nuclear disarmament policies. The organiser, Basel Peace Office, has joined with other partners in launching Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, a global initiative to cut nuclear weapons budgets and investments, and reinvest these in climate protection, peace and key areas of a sustainable economy, such as education, renewable energy, health, job creation and sustainable development.

The conference was hosted by the Basel City Kanton/government and brought together speakers from very different fields in order to tackle the corporate and financial interests which are maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy and a nuclear arms race. It advanced two key tools:

1.   Divestment from nuclear weapons and fossil fuel industries:
2.  Investment in peace and sustainability, with a focus on investments by governments, pension funds, cities, universities, religious organizations and banks.

Conference participants gave numerous examples of fossil fuel and nuclear weapons divestment. Although the amount of money divested globally so far is moderate, the range of examples indicate the potential to move considerably more money from fossil fuels and nuclear weapons to better things, and so make a real contribution to climate protection and disarmament. Quique Sánchez, a representative of IPB’s Global Campaign On Military Spending (GCOMS), participated in the conference introducing the campaign as an example of activists’ networking and cooperative work. His presentation took place on the second day of the conference, which was coincidentally the kick-off of the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), during the panel Building the campaign – shifting economics towards peace.