A Statement on COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Project Ploughshares friends, partners, and supporters:

At Project Ploughshares, we take the global social, economic, and health crisis triggered by the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 very seriously. We are committed to doing our part to minimize its impact on ourselves, our associates, and the broader community.

We are closely monitoring the situation as it relates to both personal safety and public health, adapting to changing circumstances as quickly and effectively as we can. We are abiding by the recommendations of different levels of government and public health authorities, and encourage all Canadians and friends from other affected countries to do the same.

The wellbeing of staff members—and their families and associates—remains my most immediate priority. We have arranged to work from home and practise social distancing. All domestic and international staff travel has been suspended, as have in-person gatherings involving Project Ploughshares staff.

But Project Ploughshares is not closed and staff are easily reached—by email and on social media. While key conferences have been postponed and policymaking venues closed, there is much useful work related to disarmament education and public engagement that we can do virtually, electronically, and in print.

We are continuing to produce evidence-based research, engage with partners in Canada and abroad, and advocate for policies and actions that decrease armed conflict, reduce human suffering, and build sustainable peace. The Spring 2020 issue of The Ploughshares Monitor is now available on this site. While it deals with serious issues, it also offers messages of hope.

We are “ploughing ahead” in each of our program areas, optimistic that considerable progress can be made domestically and internationally, while cognizant of the impact that COVID-19 has made and will make. Priorities include, among others, the universalization and entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as well as interim measures to decrease nuclear risks; the adoption of a political declaration to address the human suffering resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; the effective implementation of the international Arms Trade Treaty; the strengthening of the global normative framework for outer space security, and the negotiation of a preemptive multilateral ban on fully autonomous weapons systems.

We recognize and accept that, for the moment, a top priority for the international community must be COVID-19. We at Project Ploughshares will continue to do our part to bring about the quick resolution of this global medical crisis and to support our families, friends, and communities.

At the same time, we acknowledge that we are not frontline workers in this fight. To those who are—all the people who continue to do vital work in hospitals and clinics, public health and government, in grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as to those who get goods to market and maintain our critical communications infrastructure—we simply say, Thank you. Thank you so much.

But let us also remember that other battles are being fought every day by people who seek peace, justice, and the right to live a full and free life. On behalf of all these people, as well as those struggling with the privations imposed by COVID-19, we call for solidarity, empathy, and compassion. For all of them—for all of us—we ask for strength and courage to respond to whatever trials lie ahead.

Cesar Jaramillo
Executive Director

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