Towards Banning Nuclear Weapons in 2017: Changing the game in nuclear disarmament?

After decades of standstill in nuclear disarmament diplomacy, at the last United Nations General Assembly a majority of states has voted to start negotiations in 2017 for a ban on nuclear weapons. Based on the work of the “Open-ended Working Group” in Geneva in 2016, these negotiations will elaborate concrete elements for a nuclear ban treaty in March, June, and July in 2017 in New York.

Austria has been a significant driver in this process as part of the Humanitarian Initiative for nuclear disarmament, which over the years – with three international conferences, and lately the UNGA Resolution – has yielded the support of a majority of states. Two-thirds of member states have now voted in favour of starting negotiations on a ban. The most fervent opponents to the negotiations continue to be the western nuclear weapon states as well as the states under the nuclear umbrella.

Given the beginning of the negotiations in New York as well as the meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Cycle in Vienna next year – nuclear weapons will be one of the major topics in international politics in 2017.

all pictures CC-BY-SA ICAN Austria

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