Welcome Remarks by Eun-ha Kwon, APLN Deputy Director
Pandemic-Nuclear-Nexus Project

Welcome Remarks by Eun-ha Kwon, APLN Deputy Director

Welcoming Remarks, Dr Eun-ha Kwon, Deputy Director, Asia Pacific Leadership Network

Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Project, Saturday 31 October 2020

Good morning everyone. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 75th Anniversary Nuclear Risk and Pandemic Scenarios Project. I am Dr Eun-ha Kwon, the Deputy Executive Director of Asia-Pacific Leadership Network, a network of nearly 100 political, military and diplomatic leaders across the Asia Pacific region who are working to realise a world in which nuclear weapons are contained, diminished, and eventually eliminated.

2020 has been an unprecedented year for the global community. The economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have been and continue to be profound. Along with many other things, the nuclear non-proliferation regime has suffered, disarmament has stalled, tensions are growing between nuclear powers and the NPT Review Conference postponed.

Looking ahead, policymakers must be able to better respond and increase our resilience to existential risks such as the pandemic. In particular our leaders and officials must figure out how to deal with linked challenges in the nexus of nuclear weapons, pandemics and climate change risks. Our current approach to these linked complex global problems is simply insufficient to this urgent task.

Recognising this imperative, the APLN, Nautilus Institute, and Nagasaki University’s RECNA decided earlier this year to convene a series of online workshops that utilize the methodology of scenario planning, a tool most often used in the security and corporate world. Scenario planning allows us to imagine and prepare for future conditions that are highly uncertain whilst generating robust strategies to deal with these conditions. So, in essence, hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. This approach will allow us to generate concrete policy recommendations for governments and policymakers as they grapple with these challenges in the future.

Our preparation committee has worked extremely hard to get this project off the ground and make these workshops possible. We have spent months recruiting a diverse group of participants, commissioning expert papers, and conducting test runs. Once the workshops have concluded, we will compile the ideas that have been generated into a final report that will also be translated into Korean and Japanese.
We are particularly proud of being able to convene such a wide array of informed and experts participants. This ranges from policy practitioners, to journalists, to academics, former military, activists, philosophers, hibakusha, and other creatives. Our participants come from different age groups, from over ten different countries and of course different sectors. I am also very pleased to say that not only have we achieved gender parity in our workshop sessions, but the men are actually outnumbered by women.
So, on behalf of the APLN, Nautilus Institute, and RECNA, I would like to thank you all for joining us, and look forward to the productive discussions and deliberations as we all work through this creative and much needed policy exercise in the days ahead.