OEWG Observations

The Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) established late last year by the UNGA for ‘taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations’ recently concluded the second of its three 2016 sessions. Several aspects of its work warrant reflection as the dust settles.

By Tim Caughley

A feature of the most recent session of the OEWG was its refreshing inter-activity—at least, by comparison to the set-piece monologue of other forums in which nuclear disarmament is discussed such as the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC).

Concrete legal measures and norms to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons (2)

This blog contains comments made by Magnus Løvold during the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies workshop on implementation of the 2013 Council of Delegates Plan of Action, in Geneva, 30 April – 1 May, ahead of the May sessions of the open-ended working group on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations

By Magnus Løvold

The question of how to implement some or all of the elements identified in the UNIDIR–ILPI study, ‘A prohibition on nuclear weapons: A guide to the issues’, has been intensely debated over the last years. In fact, in diplomatic disarmament forums, there is a tendency to place more emphasis on questions of process than on questions of legal content, and this is something that we, with our study, have attempted to rectify.

Concrete legal measures and norms to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons (1)

This blog contains comments made by Tim Caughley during the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies workshop on implementation of the 2013 Council of Delegates Plan of Action, in Geneva, 30 April – 1 May, ahead of the May sessions of the open-ended working group on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations

By Tim Caughley

You might wonder why—in terms of this topic—it is even necessary to develop concrete legal measures and norms to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.

Open-ended fault lines

Many proposals have been brought to the table at the open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva. What are the main fault lines for discussions?

By Magnus Løvold

If success were to be measured by rate of document production, the open-ended working group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament could already be considered a great triumph. As the second substantial segment of the OEWG gets going in Geneva, states and civil society have set forth an impressive 35 working papers—more than three times the number of working papers written for the previous OEWG in 2013.

Challenges afoot for the NPT

With the next round of discussions of the open-ended working group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament imminent, it may seem premature to look ahead twelve months to the first preparatory meeting for the new review cycle of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). But a thoughtful article just published by Robert Einhorn, suggesting some improvements to NPT procedures, provides good cause to do so.

By Tim Caughley

Describing the current review process of the NPT as unsatisfactory, Einhorn writes that it ‘produces high drama and intense diplomatic activity, but rarely contributes to the strengthening of the NPT regime. All NPT parties are frustrated with it’. It is time, he believes, to try something new.

Impossible compounds

Synthesizing states’ views of how to address the nuclear threat requires an advanced degree in diplomatic alchemyChemical_reactions.svg

By Magnus Løvold

Several states and observers participating at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly last autumn noted that the international nuclear disarmament debate is becoming increasingly polarized. In the corridors of the UN Headquarters in New York, states and observers had different opinions about this changing political dynamic, and characterizations ranged from clarifying (and therefore good) to divisive (and therefore bad). But few seemed to dispute the initial claim that the states involved in discussions about how to bring nuclear disarmament forward are increasingly divided into two opposing camps.