Open-ended stalling tactics

The nuclear-armed states stand to benefit the most from a second open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament. 

By Magnus Løvold

As disarmament diplomats are scratching their heads trying to figure out what to make of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October, the Genevois rumour mill reports that certain states are planning to table a resolution establishing an open-ended working group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament.

Back to the Future… again… on an OEWG?

Talk of an Open-Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament in 2016 in the Geneva disarmament community has the ring of a disappointing sequel about it.

By John Borrie

Last weekend the authorities of the village commune I live in erected a large movie screen at its lakeside beach for free nightly showings on consecutive evenings of each of the Back to the Future films. For those unacquainted with these classic 1980s movies, the protagonist—a young man named Marty McFly—finds himself (amazingly, and of course coincidentally) in three situations in which he must travel backwards or forwards in time to take charge of events in order to keep the present the way it is. He receives assistance from a time-travelling DeLorean automobile and his eccentric friend and inventor of the contraption, Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown. (The DeLorean was, in the movie, powered by plutonium ‘Doc’ Brown stole from Libyan terrorists. Not only did this say quite a lot about the preoccupations of the decade, it may have been a fine example of vigilante counter-proliferation.)

Where are we on effective measures, and where are we going?

One positive outcome of the NPT Review Conference was the strengthened support for the humanitarian pledge. But what will this now lead to in terms of effective nuclear disarmament measures?

By John Borrie, Tim Caughley, Magnus Løvold and Torbjørn Graff Hugo

A month after the NPT Review Conference’s collapse, and on the cusp of the summer break in the Northern hemisphere, we consider the state of efforts on achieving further effective measures on nuclear disarmament.

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.’

The great NPT pillar fight: Round 2

High Stakes for the 2015 NPT Review Conference: Pillar One v. Pillar Two

By Tim Caughley

This is the second part of a posting on tensions in the NPT review process between pillar one (nuclear disarmament) and pillar two (non-proliferation). The previous posting on this issue concluded by noting that a prominent element in the political mix in next month’s NPT Review Conference will be the growth in profile during the current review cycle of the humanitarian approach to nuclear weapons.

No forums

Only evidence-based discussions can fill the legal gap in the international framework regulating nuclear weapons.

By Magnus Løvold

The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva received another nail in its coffin when its long-standing civil society rapporteur, the Reaching Critical Will project of WILPF, on Tuesday 10 March announced that they would “cease engagement” with the Conference until its 65 member states agree on a program of work.