The perfect storm

The 71st United Nations General Assembly will provide a test of leadership over the future of a new initiative for nuclear disarmament

By Tim Caughley

‘Sadly, many countries continue to include nuclear deterrence in their security doctrines. But recent developments have shown that nuclear weapons do not ensure peace and security. Rather, their development and possession has become a major source of international tension.’

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.

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.

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.

The not so open-ended working group?

When the UN General Assembly decided to establish another Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament last fall, it stressed the importance of inclusiveness and welcomed ‘the participation of all Member States’. But how inclusive is the OEWG really?

By Aasmund Skjetne & Torbjørn Graff Hugo

According to the Indian delegation to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the OEWG is not very inclusive at all. In their view, it ‘does not include all representative groups of states, in particular states whose interests are specially affected’. The fact that all the nuclear-armed states voluntarily decided to boycott the first session of the OEWG is apparently seen by New Delhi as a sign of exclusion. Moreover, India believes that ‘the OEWG, established outside the CD with an unclear mandate and with the GA Rules of Procedure, may not lead to an inclusive process or productive outcomes’.