Monthly Archives: May 2015

Another Gap

The parties to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) were unable to reach any agreement at their month-long 2015 Review Conference ostensibly because of Middle-East politics. The parties were also far apart on how to deal with nuclear disarmament.  In the Humanitarian Pledge, a new dynamic has emerged.

By Tim Caughley

‘The whole plan to have the non-nuclear-weapons powers accept responsibility for preventing the destruction of mankind by renouncing nuclear arms is in disarray’. So said Alva Myrdal (Swedish minister for disarmament during the NPT negotiations and former Nobel Peace Prize winner) in 1976. The recent five-year review of that treaty has done little to dispel that conclusion.

Not for nothing

The legal gap should not only concern the nuclear-weapon-states. There is also need for additional legal measures on the part of the non-nuclear-weapon states.

By Torbjørn Graff Hugo

In Working Paper 9 to the NPT Review Conference, the six-nation New Agenda Coalition (NAC—see our glossary for more detail) makes an interesting assertion regarding the legal gap on nuclear weapons. In an otherwise well structured argument for the need for a new legal instrument (of sorts), the six-member group ‘acknowledges that for those States parties to the Treaty that are non-nuclear-weapon States, the key obligation in any new legal instrument would effectively be a reiteration of their existing obligation under article II of the Treaty.’

NPT prospects: is the world looking for what it can’t get?

The final week of the five-yearly review meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has commenced. Its eventual conclusion will shape how much of the world sees what the regime is really for—to ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons, or seek to preserve them for a few. Either prospect has major implications for the NPT’s health, and the chances of a safer and more just world free of the threat of nuclear devastation.

By John Borrie

In our last post, Tim Caughley described the nature of the nuclear disarmament discourse halfway through the four-week NPT Review Conference underway at United Nations headquarters in New York. Subsequently, after almost a fortnight of largely set-piece national and group statements, there were signs that delegations were getting down to more interactive engagement.

Once more unto the breach

States need to reflect carefully on the impacts on the health of the NPT if current levels of dissatisfaction over the implementation of article VI are left to fester.

By Tim Caughley

The NPT Review Conference has moved into its final fortnight after two weeks devoted to set-piece national and group statements uttered largely as expressions of their formal, public position on key issues of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. That phase has given way to one in which flexibility on those matters is being teased out in more intensive, interactive sessions mainly closed to the public. The objectives of the chairs of those meetings are to broker compromise and deliver consensus—i.e., unobjectionable—outcomes.

A battle of narratives

After eight days of diplomatic manoeuvring at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the expectation gap about the NPT’s ability to deliver nuclear disarmament shows no sign of decreasing.

By Magnus Løvold and John Borrie

In the months leading up to the 2015 Review Conference in New York, many observers believed that the chances for achieving a consensus outcome document were, on balance, slim. The last Review Conference in 2010 was widely seen as a success as States Parties, to the surprise of many, managed to overcome the crisis created by the failed Review Conference in 2005. In the NPT’s 2010 final outcome document, States Parties agreed upon a 64-point Action Plan containing a wide range of commitments across the NPT’s three pillars.