Disarmament Insight


Monday, 29 February 2016

Nuclear disarmament: New UNIDIR/ILPI Study

This study by UNIDIR and ILPI surveys the existing legal framework regulating nuclear weapons internationally, and assesses the scope and parameters of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) and international humanitarian law (IHL). 

It considers whether a nuclear weapons prohibition or ban treaty—the most recent approach to attract attention in the nuclear disarmament debate—could enhance the current nuclear weapons control regime.

In an effort to situate the notion of a prohibition within the existing multilateral debate on how best to eliminate nuclear weapons, the study identifies and discusses four distinct, but not mutually exclusive, approaches:
 - A ‘comprehensive’ approach,
 - A ‘framework’ approach,
 - A ‘step-by-step’ or ‘building blocks’ approach, and
 - A prohibition or ban treaty.
The study addresses ambiguities and overlaps among these means for advancing nuclear disarmament.

The study also analyses legal provisions that could be covered in a prohibition. These might include prohibitions on use, development and testing, manufacturing and production, transfer, transit, stationing and deployment, possession and stockpiling, assistance in the commission of prohibited acts and inducement or encouragement. Additional provisions could establish obligations related to stockpile destruction, safeguards, transparency and reporting, other compliance mechanisms, cooperation and assistance as well as national implementation measures.

The study attracted considerable attention during the recent meetings of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament. As well as being available on line, hard copies can be obtained from UNIDIR in the Palais des Nations, room A516.