Reaching Critical Will
A Project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom


Reaching Critical Will strives for the abolition of nuclear weapons. As a project of the oldest womenís peace organisation in the world, RCW recognises that nuclear weapons play an integral role in the militarism, ecological destruction, and social injustice plauging our world today. Therefore, RCW works not just for nuclear abolition but also for total and universal disarmament, the reduction of global military spending, and demilitarisation of politics and society.

Disarmament cannot be for the sake of disarmament itself. It must be for the promotion of true human security and all life on the planet. To advocate successfully for nuclear disarmament and human security, civil society needs to establish a discourse that helps us to understand the relationship between nuclear weapons and the structures that maintain them and to identify those who benefit from the maintenance of nuclear weapons. Reaching Critical Will seeks to help this discourse.


WILPF created Reaching Critical Will because it believes:

Nuclear disarmament is inevitable. The majority of governments and people want disarmament and will eventually succeed in eliminating these suicidal, genocidal and ecocidal weapons. The movement for a world free of nuclear weapons has been expressed from the moment the government of the United States of America invented the atomic bomb, and it will continue until it succeeds in ending the nuclear age. This brutal era of belief in war and violence will be remembered by future generations as an embarrassing lapse in human evolution.

Nuclear disarmament is democracy.
The peoples of the world have shown through polls and various demonstrations of the public conscience, that they oppose nuclear weapons and support their quick abolition. The vast majority of governments also express support for nuclear abolition, but those expressions have not been strong, loud, or coordinated enough to force those governments with nuclear weapons to get rid of them.

Nuclear disarmament will require coordinated and sustained effort on the part of governments, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. For non-governmental organizations, and concerned individual to act, they need information, primary documents and analysis. Reaching Critical Will collects, packages and often translates disarmament related information into terms ordinary people can understand.


Reaching Critical Will advocatesóat the United Nations and through WILPF members and others at the grassroots levelóto affect perceptions and policies on issues related to nuclear weapons. It engages with governments at the UN, promoting transparency, accountability, and debate, and with the general public, helping people understand how nuclear weapons are discussed by governments at the UN. Reaching Critical Will works to foster greater understanding of the issues through critical analysis and by engaging citizens in strategic organising and advocacy that builds momentum in movements working to abolish nuclear weapons.

Reaching Critical Will was designed to increase the quality and quantity of NGO preparation and participation in UN disarmament processes and of NGO interaction with governments and the United Nations; to provide logistical support in facilitating activities during relevant conferences tailored for policy-makers and the public; and to provide accurate and timely reporting on all relevant conferences and initiatives so that those unable to attend can stay informed.

By both inspiring and informing, Reaching Critical Willís tools encourage individuals to get involved. Those who use Reaching Critical Willís resources contribute actively to the goal of disarmament by engaging with their local grassroots organizations, working at the level of their national governments, and collaborating with one another through a variety of international channels.


The Womenís International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) created the Reaching Critical Will project in 1999 in order to promote and facilitate engagement of non-governmental actors in UN processes related to disarmament. Its first project was the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2000. This four week meeting is one of the most important multinational fora on nuclear disarmament. If real steps forward are to take place toward nuclear abolition, the NPT Review Conference is a crucial crossroads. WILPF believes that with proper, firm, and educated pressure placed on the world's governments by civil society and non-governmental organizations around the world leading up to this extended meeting of the world's governments, nuclear weapons can be abolished.

The 2000 NPT Review Conference was a surprising success. A 13 point action plan for disarmament was agreed at the 2000 meeting. The 2005 Review Conference, unfortunately, was a failure. Reaching Critical Will is now actively engaged in the Preparatory Committees leading up to the 2010 Review Conference.

Reaching Critical Will also provides NGO logistical support and monitoring and reporting on other UN disarmament processes, including: