Author’s Note: All views in this piece are the author’s own and do not reflect her employer’s views or anyone else’s. In 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for […]
With geopolitics and deterrence doctrines back in the ascendant, the prospects for multilateral nuclear disarmament look worse than for a generation; many options are on the table but whether states will engage constructively and pursue any of these proposals remains an open question.
Despite not yet entering into force, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has succeeded in almost eliminating nuclear weapons testing and in establishing a robust international monitoring and verification system. A breakthrough in its ratification by the few hold-out states could have important positive repercussions for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or nuclear disarmament in the Middle East.
The ‘humanitarian dimension’ initiative highlighting the consequences of nuclear weapons has evolved and consolidated itself in the non-proliferation regime since 2010. The five nuclear weapons states (NWS or P5) under the NPT – China, France, Russia, UK and US – boycotted the first two international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. A third conference will be held in Vienna on 8-9 December 2014. This article gives five reasons why the P5 should consider participating.
The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, highlighted by a wide-ranging, cross-grouping, multi-aim initiative which continues to consolidate itself in the non-proliferation regime, has come to the fore in the 3rd Prepatory Committe for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. Frustrated with the lack of progress towards NPT Article VI commitments to complete nuclear disarmament, the initiative has invigorated attention to the urgency of nuclear disarmament and a need for a change in the status quo. NPT member states and civil society continue to engage actively in publicizing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons as an impetus to progress towards nuclear disarmament.
Shortly after the lunar New Year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon challenged the Conference on Disarmament to run with the ‘spirit of the blue horse’ towards substantive engagement on multilateral nuclear disarmament in 2014. While the regime may not achieve this speed, there are initiatives underway this year that may well help nuclear disarmament dialogues pick up speed ahead of the 2015 NPT review conference.