APLN Policy Brief 59
The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.
The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 changed the paradigm of the NPT and its review process. The two preparatory meetings preceding the 2020 NPT Review Conference will show in stark relief the differences and the convergence between the nuclear allies and the Ban Treaty supporters.
The paper looks at the emergence of the frustrations of the non-nuclear weapon states that led to the Ban Treaty and its adoption by almost two-thirds of the United Nations member states. It outlines the arguments against the Ban Treaty put forward by the nuclear allies and the hardening of positions in light of their cavalier dismissal of the Ban Treaty. The paper addresses these criticisms, discusses the positions put forward by the Ban Treaty supporters, and examines the possible repercussions for the debate on nuclear issues and security.
The paper argues that the nuclear possessors should accept the Ban Treaty as a reality and focus on the way forward: renewed dialogue and cooperation with the non-nuclear-weapon states. Suggestions for constructive engagement are addressed to both nuclear allies and Ban Treaty supporters, arguing that vision and leadership is needed from both sides in order to avoid a further disintegration of the nuclear architecture.
Angela Kane is Visiting Professor at the School of International Affairs/Sciences Po in Paris. She is the Vice President of the International Institute for Peace and a Senior Fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, in addition to serving on several non-profit boards in Europe and the United States. She had a 35 year career at the United Nations, including in political affairs, peacekeeping, and management. Her last post was Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.