Overview of MAPW

The Medical Association for Prevention of War is a politically independent, national Australian organisation of health professionals who wish to provide information to politicians and the general public, and to promote discussion, about the health consequences of war, both for our own people and abroad. This is with a view to reducing the likelihood of war and preventing these health consequences through increased political and public awareness. MAPW also attempts to bring a thoughtful ‘medical’ perspective to any discussion of the use of military intervention as an aspect of Australian foreign policy, encouraging peaceful conflict resolution, the avoidance of unnecessary suffering, and the wise use of the world’s resources to make a healthy and peaceful world.

The general position of MAPW includes:

  • armed conflict is a major global health issue of concern to health professionals everywhere
  • war is an expensive way to settle conflict; it costs thousands of civilian and combatant lives and permanently damages many more, including those of  many Australians; internationally it costs trillions of dollars annually, when roughly a tenth of this would eradicate extreme hunger and poverty and send all children to school; it pollutes and damages the natural environment to a degree that has never been estimated and is a significant contributor to global warming,
  • hundreds of thousands of people would be killed or harmed by even a ‘small’ nuclear conflict; many would die agonising and prolonged deaths with no medical help available; even a ‘limited’ nuclear war would be likely to provoke a worldwide ‘nuclear winter’ and famine threatening the lives of up to two billion people.
  • opposition to all components of the nuclear fuel chain.

MAPW provides information to the general public, and to parliamentarians, on the health consequences of armed conflict and armed coercion, as well as their social, environmental and financial impacts. MAPW advocates full acknowledgement of these in any proposal to use weapons, sell weapons, or participate in wars, and due consideration of peaceful alternatives. MAPW has branches in every state of Australia.

MAPW is affiliated with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its role in curbing the international nuclear arms race, and which now addresses armed conflicts of all kinds.

A separately funded international campaign originating out of MAPW Australia, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN), aims to establish a international ban on these, the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction.