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.

Nuclear disarmament open-ended working group (1)

This blog and the following one contain comments made by UNIDIR (Tim Caughley) on introducing UNIDIR paper OEWG Brief No. 2 during the Open-ended Working Group meeting in Geneva on 22 February 2016.


I am not going to try to outline the features of OEWG Brief No. 2. Instead, and consistent with the Chair’s wish that the OEWG be as interactive as possible I will a try to identify [see next blog] what seem to me to be some pressure points deserving discussion in this forum. Before doing so, I have four general comments.

Talking to the hand

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.

An ever clearer message from civil society

This weekend (6-7 December), more than 600 civil society actors from all corners of the world met in Vienna, Austria, to discuss what to do about nuclear weapons. The overall message was unequivocal: It is time for states that are committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons to come together and negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.