Eloisa Romani

Project Assistant, Scrap Weapons

SCRAP Weapons at SOAS University of London and the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development jointly organised the webinar ‘Advancing Integral Disarmament in Times of Pandemic’ on 23rd March 2021 at the Vatican.

The webinar, which saw the intervention and support of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, gathered prominent stakeholders in global peace-building efforts, marking an important moment for sharing reflections about the importance of channelling resources to fight global emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and economic and social inequalities, instead of investing in armaments that can only lead to further conflict escalation.

Representatives of fourteen different religions worldwide and researchers joined efforts to plan for military stand down by stopping weapons production and proliferation to support the United Nations Secretary-General and Pope Francis’ calls for a global ceasefire.

The event offered the international community concrete options to follow the path of integral disarmament, in response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Diplomatic Studies scholars at SOAS University of London presented a tool kit for eliminating weapons of mass destruction and global gun control based on proven treaties and the latest information technologies. Cheating on weapons controls is becoming impossible in the age of Global Weapons Tracking services such as Google Earth and What Three Words. Lack of verification technologies has been the main reason weapons control systems were hard to implement. Verification and Trust build each other, said Professor Dan Plesch.

SCRAP Weapons continues to work with the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to bring new life to the long-standing activity of weapons of mass destruction disarmament processes – breaking the logic of nuclear deterrence – especially in relation with the emerging methods and means of warfare.

To develop and maintain the conversation created by the event, SCRAP will release a publication, and will organize and facilitate a series of roundtables with representatives of different religions and policymakers in the following months.

Find here some media coverage of the event:

 VATICAN NEWS – Cardinal Parolin: ‘Disarmament needed for integral security after pandemic’

REUTERS – Divert military expenses to improve health and fight poverty, Vatican says

THE TABLET – Vatican can be ‘game changer’ in nuclear debate

EWTN – News Nightly – Vatican Hosts Online Event on How to Pursue Global Cease Fire

CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY – Vatican hosts webinar on disarmament and interreligious dialogue

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER – Rethink arms funding to protect vulnerable, say Vatican webinar speakers

Eloisa Romani

Project Assistant, Scrap Weapons