War afflicts the world and the threat of global war looms. Yet there is no practical global strategy for weapons controls. SCRAP (The Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation) offers two precision tools for global weapons controls: a portal to assist in tracking the world’s weapons (the Global Weapons Tracking Service) and a model international agreement for the elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction, control and reduction of all other weaponry, based upon proven best practice. These help answer two objections to such controls: “We’d love to but the bad guys cheat”, and “We’d love to, but it just is not realistic.”
SCRAP offers the weapons equivalent of the UN Framework on Climate Change: a framework that sets out essential objectives to achieve the legal obligation of all nations to negotiate General and Complete Disarmament (FN). This objective has long been set by the Non Aligned Movement (link), in US-Soviet proposals (link) and initiatives such as President Kennedy’s plan for General and Complete Disarmament.(Link) It combines the humanitarian principle of the WILPF foundational proposals during the First World War and the needs of states to ensure their security.
The SCRAP Project comprehends that deterrence is an unrealistic basis for state and human security, as well as being immoral. Deterrence always fails, and in reality the powerful interests of nationalism and corporations are fuelling the continuation of weapons production, with $2,000,000,000 each year, under the guise that uncontrolled and endless weapons production will never end in catastrophe.
GCD has long been a goal of the developing world to prevent humanitarian disasters and to boost sustainable development through disarmament and development.
SCRAP’s focus on a rapid and holistic approach is designed to demonstrate its practicality and to help change the paradigm from a fragmentary and step-by-step approach to one that offers a highly challenging and yet demonstrably practical message to vested interests. Rather than focusing on the trade of weapons, SCRAP emphasizes the humanitarian concerns of deployment, possession and production.
SCRAP offers a draft negotiating text of ‘basic elements’ for GCD that can be implemented incrementally to supplement existing initiatives. It presents a rapid countdown to global zero nuclear weapons and can build on humanitarian disarmament initiatives to encompass conventional weapons stocks.
The basic elements of the proposal extend from those proposed by a number of states in November 2007 in an attempt to globalise the 1987 US-Soviet Intermediate Forces Treaty (INF) – which scrapped an entire class of missile. It includes globalising European treaties that govern armoured vehicles, artillery, helicopters and war planes, as well as the technical aspects of the United Nations (UN)-mandated inspection process for Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and the US-Russian strategic nuclear agreements (START).
SCRAP is empowered by the volunteer energy of students at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS University of London, as well as academic, administrative staff and alumni. It forms part of the Disarmament and Globalisation Project. It has been funded by the Marmot Trust, Polden Puckham and Joseph Rowntree. SCRAP has working relationships with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Peace Bureau amongst others. Advisors include former officials Paul Meyer (Canada), Angela Kane (UN) as well as longstanding members of the NGO community. SCRAP regularly hosts events at the United Nations Office at Geneva and has been presented as evidence to the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
The main challenge is the proposal is perceived as unrealistic. Yet the threat of large-scale warfare emerging from the proliferation of arms exacerbated by economic crisis and the pressures of population increases, resource scarcity and climate change, continues to loom. We seek to overcome this perception by showing the proposal is possible and is based on existing, tried and successful frameworks and agreements.
How can you become involved in SCRAP?
SCRAP proposes timetables and a draft treaty for consideration at the United Nations General Assembly, which takes place in September every year. Support our efforts to have SCRAP introduced at the UN General Assembly by sending a letter of support to your government.
If you are a SOAS student interested in working for SCRAP, please fill in this form here