C7 Policy Recommendations: Peace, Common Security and Nuclear Disarmament

By: International Peace Bureau and Italian Network for Peace and Disarmament


On May 19, 2023, following G7 leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament proclaimed a “commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.” As anxieties over global crises continue to grow, the pursuit of undiminished common or collective security has never been so necessary.

The 2023 G7 Leaders’ and Foreign Ministers’ Hiroshima Communiqués consistently condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and pledge economic and military support to Ukraine. The Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué commits to “promoting peace and security” in a wide range of geopolitical regions1 and identifies broad “global challenges.”2 The G7 has also addressed the unprecedented situation in Israel-Palestine, declaring on December 6, 2023 that “Israelis and Palestinians have an equal right to live in safety, dignity, and peace.”

The Hiroshima Vision recalls the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear Weapon States from January 3, 2022, affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought and lauds the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the “cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament…” The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is condemned only in connection to Russia’s threats. Notably, the Hiroshima Vision states that “nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war and coercion.” The Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué voices support for strengthening the United Nations “to address the changing international environment and challenges to collective security,” including through implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The world is at a geopolitical crossroads, shifting away from the post-Cold War order into a new era of multipolarity and, potentially, fragmentation. The reaction of the G7 to these tectonic shifts will greatly impact prospects for a more peaceful, just, and secure future. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres (UNSG) expresses in UN Policy Brief 9: A New Agenda for Peace that “collective security is gravely undermined by the failure of [United Nations] Member States to effectively address the global and interlocking threats before them, to manage their rivalries and to respect and reinforce the normative frameworks that both govern their relations with each other and… the well-being of their societies.” Collective or common security refers to the recognition that states must pursue mutual security rather than at the expense of another state and is based on trust, solidarity, and universality.

Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has now entered its third year with no end in sight and no encouraging signs of progress towards a resolution. While the G7 has highlighted its support for Ukraine’s self-defence and Zelensky’s 10-Point Peace Plan, the human and environmental toll continues to grow. At the same time, the lack of action of the G7 and other States paves the way for a silent complicity that enables the continued devastation of Israel’s warfare against the population of Gaza without distinction, proportionality and precaution, which has so far killed nearly 34,000 Palestinian people, including over 13,000 children while the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas, in its horrific action of 7 October, have not been returned. There is justified concern that tensions could escalate to a larger regional or even wider war.

The war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces has killed 14,000 people, with over 8 million people displaced, many facing acute food insecurity. The number of countries experiencing armed conflicts has risen to 56, and many existing conflicts have gone on for decades without a true resolution. Security is increasingly viewed through a purely military lens while diplomacy continues to be weakened. Global military spending has risen every year since 2015. At the same time, the international arms control framework has eroded and bodies such as the UN Security Council (UNSC) have been paralyzed by competing interests. New and unregulated military technologies have emerged and many are already in use.4 The political will to seek compromise and understanding is nearly completely absent in leaders’ rhetoric and actions while at the same time militaries have become first responders to broad issues from migration to climate change, and even health crises. Despite increasing research linking gender equality to decreased military aggression and the participation of women in peace processes with meaningful peace agreements and reconstruction, global commitments to the women, peace and security agenda remain insufficient.

The nuclear arms control regime has all but disappeared as nuclear weapons possessing countries increase their rhetoric and threat of use. The New START agreement, the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the US and Russia is set to expire in 2026. Russia has positioned its nuclear weapons in Belarus while US nuclear weapons are stationed in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Turkey. Leading figures in countries including South Korea and Japan have considered hosting US nuclear weapons on their soil. The accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons or the weaponization of nuclear energy facilities seem more likely at this point than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis; two nuclear weapons possessing states are currently engaged in active wars while several others are in latent conflicts that could re-erupt at any time. At the same time, many countries across the Global South and beyond have supported the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), with 93 signatories and 70 states parties.

The fragility of global peace demands the utmost urgency and concrete, multilateral action. The G7, as representing a specific bloc of a much larger international community, must recognize that they cannot achieve peace and security on their own and must strengthen focus on global cooperation and resolve rivalries that prevent cooperation. The G7 must be ready to find compromise and preserve dialogue despite strategic differences.

To this end, we urge the G7 to take action in the following areas:


Common Security

  • Reaffirm support for an international order based on international law and build on the global and regional peace architecture. Recognize their vital role in the peaceful resolution of disputes and promotion of common security.
  • Express active support for the UNSG’s New Agenda for Peace including reforms to the UN Security Council, revitalization of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and elevating the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.
  • Focus resources and attention on addressing the root causes of violence and conflict, adapting a holistic systems approach that includes economic and social exploitation, repression, and injustice.
  • Actively include women and youth in peacebuilding activities as recommended in UNSC Resolution 1325, UNSC Resolution 2250 and subsequent resolutions accordingly – ensuring their meaningful and equal involvement in conflict prevention and resolution, protection, relief and recovery at the local, national, and international levels. Address the linkage between a high level of violence against children and wars.
  • Address the interlinked nature of war, militarism, climate change, and environmental degradation.
  • Actively involve and financially support civil society and grassroots peacebuilders in every aspect of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
  • Invest in peace education.

General Disarmament

  • Reduce military spending and arms production in favor of investments in diplomacy and human security, including the meeting of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. Prohibit the funding of political parties and election campaigns by the military sector.
  • Act swiftly to expand international, multilateral treaties on emerging military technologies including artificial intelligence, cyber warfare, space weaponry, and unmanned vehicles or drones.
  • Strengthen policies on preventing arms transfers into conflict-prone and active conflict zones in particular where international law has been violated.
  • Reaffirm support for and actively work for a fourth Special Session on Disarmament in the UNGA.

Nuclear Disarmament

  • Reaffirm the G7 position that the use or threat of nuclear weapons use by any actor is unacceptable. Acknowledge the risks that come with nuclear deterrence and the power imbalances that come from their possession. Commit to a no first use policy.
  • Resume with urgency nuclear arms reduction processes, with a view to achieving the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Reinvigorate strategic stability talks between the USA and Russia and dialogue with China for immediate and severe restrictions on nuclear weapons with a clearly outlined timeline and benchmarks toward the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Participate in good faith in Meetings of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as observers.

In recent decades, surges in military spending and militarisation have led to a world increasingly at war and incapable of tackling real global problems. The G7 should lead a now unavoidable change of course, putting disarmament choices at the forefront of renewed policies for a positive Peace.

Francesco Vignarca, C7 WG Coordinator, Italian Network for Peace and Disarmament

How much longer must we wait before it becomes evident that nuclear weapons also fail as a deterrent? The leaders of the G7 must lead the way towards the paradigm shift around security that we need: Common security has proven effective in the past and can once again lead to international disarmament, diplomacy, and sustainable peace.

Emily Molinari, C7 WG Coordinator, International Peace Bureau (IPB)