PNND Update

Dear friends,

Deliberations of the United Nations Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG) in Geneva from May 2-13 indicate that a group of non-nuclear countries appears ready to negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, regardless of whether or not the nuclear-armed and nuclear umbrella countries join.

Ban treaty

Nine countries from nuclear-weapon-free zones submitted a proposal to the OEWG to ‘Convene a Conference in 2017, open to all States, international organizations and civil society, to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.’

The proposal received support from a number of other non-nuclear States and civil society organizations during the OEWG sessions. However, none of the nuclear umbrella countries (NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia) agreed with the proposal. The nuclear-armed States, who did not participate in the OEWG, are also opposed.

Promoters of the 'ban treaty' believe that, even if it would not be universally applicable, it could stigmatize nuclear weapons and put pressure on nuclear armed states to take effective disarmament measures.

'Progressive' approach

A group of 23 nuclear umbrella countries submitted an alternative "progressive approach" that doesn't envisage an early prohibition on nuclear weapons, but instead calls for negotiations on nuclear stockpile reductions among nuclear-armed States, as well as on a number of other disarmament measures that have been pending in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The promoters of this approach highlight the importance of developing confidence-building measures to engage with nuclear armed states and create political will for actual disarmament.

Framework agreement

A third approach was proposed - a Framework Agreement - which might be a way to bridge the gap by combining the 'ban' approach with the 'progressive' approach. Such an agreement could affirm the political commitment of all states to nuclear disarmament and provide a framework for simultaneous negotiations of various measures. Within such an open framework, states who are ready to do so could negotiate an agreement to outlaw nuclear weapons, while nuclear-reliant states could pursue confidence-building measures such as a no-(first)-use agreement or elements that have been deadlocked in the CD.
General Bernard Norlain (ret), former Air Combat Commander of the French Air Force, speaking at the OEWG. Next to him is Jean-Marie Collin, PNND France Coordinator.

Nuclear disarmament summits

PNND joined with many other non-governmental organisations at the OEWG in calling for governments to elevate the importance of nuclear disarmament to Head of Government level in order to ensure success for what-ever nuclear disarmament negotiations might start in 2017. An effective way of doing this is to hold a series of Nuclear Disarmament Summits.

The UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to be held in 2018 could be elevated to summit level, or there could be a series of summits hosted by like-minded states similar to the successful Nuclear Security Summits

PNND also called on nuclear-reliant States to announce their plans to eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines as they are legally required to do. PNND reminded these governments that the parliaments of virtually all the nuclear-reliant States have agreed to work with them to implement this obligation. See PNND intervention to the OEWG.

For more details please see OEWG - Nuclear prohibition negotiations may start in 2017.

Yours sincerely

Alyn Ware
Alyn Ware
PNND Global Coordinator
On behalf of the PNND Coordinating Team

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) is a global network of legislators working on a range of initiatives to prevent nuclear proliferation and to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.

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