The criticism launched against the idea of a ban treaty has so far been lacking both evidence and logic.
By Kjølv Egeland
The Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna showcased the increasing diplomatic attention to the call for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. An obvious metric of this apparent traction for a ban treaty was the large number of states that supported the commencement of negotiations on a treaty whether the nuclear-armed states like it or not. Another was the more vocal and organised opposition to a ban treaty. The potency of an idea is often best measured by the reactions it provokes.
Despite a tense political and strategic environment, the ‘P5’ remains committed to joint efforts to strengthen the NPT—by means of a glossary.
By John Borrie
In one of the great ironies of nuclear diplomacy, the nuclear weapons that five states developed in the opening stages of the Cold War—in some cases to brandish at each other—are the grounds for them to belong to a self-identified club despite their strategic rivalries. On 6 February 2015, the United Kingdom, as host of the sixth meeting of the five nuclear weapon-states (the others being China, France, Russian Federation and the United States), duly issued the group’s latest joint statement after what one can easily imagine was a rather gloomy and even surreal gathering.
Ambiguity and frustration on nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament (CD)
by Tim Caughley
Negotiations to bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons are not going to happen in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) anytime soon. Efforts of the current president of the CD (Mexico) to achieve agreement on a programme of work CD/WP.584 for 2015 have so far proved fruitless.
2015 looks to be a decisive year, not least for the humanitarian initiative. But what else is on the horizon?
By Magnus Løvold
In January 2014, the stage had already been set for the humanitarian initiative. Preparations for the Nayarit conference were in their final stages, and rumours about a follow-up conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna had been all but confirmed by the Austrian Government’s 2013 – 2018 Work Programme. States and organizations working to promote a humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament had a good idea of what 2014 would bring, and the remainder of the year was, according to one observer, “mere logistics and implementation”.