The year ahead

As a new year gets underway, this ‘state of play’ report comments briefly on multilateral nuclear disarmament developments in 2015 and sets the scene for discussions in 2016.  It also reflects on possible trends and outcomes. 

By Tim Caughley

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT): The five-yearly Review Conference in May 2015 ended after four weeks without any agreed result. The rate of progress on nuclear disarmament remains a hot issue in the NPT. A new five-year review cycle has begun, but its first meeting will not place until 2017. For the NPT, 2016 is thus a ‘gap’ year, leaving space for other forums such as the Open-ended Working Group (discussed below). Incidentally, the 2020 NPT Review Conference will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Treaty’s entry into force.

Assured negative security

NNWS should stop begging NAS for negative security assurances and instead focus on measures that will actually have an effect on disarmament.

By Torbjørn Graff Hugo

Towards the end of the second week of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the issue of negative security assurances (NSAs) came up in Main Committee I—again. These curious ‘guarantees’ have been on the NPT agenda since before the text of the Treaty was even finalized. During the negotiations in the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) between 1965 and 1968, a number of the non-nuclear-weapon states demanded that NSAs be included in the treaty text. And India, for one, signaled early on that it would not sign a treaty that did not include adequate security guarantees.[1]