A Humanitarian Pledge for Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
By admin May 29, 2015



Nuclear disarmament and Non-Proliferation is at a fundamental crossroads. Moving beyond rhetoric is essential in making headway when it comes to nuclear disarmament, on a global scale. The shift in the global rhetoric on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferations reflects, at best, significant progress in the re-thinking of the disarmament and non-proliferation framework.


Rethinking nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation comes in light of insufficient progress made earlier this year, in New York at the Review Conference of the Treaty on Nuclear Disarmament (NPT), from 27 April to 22nd May 2015. These four weeks, were proven at best, unfruitful, as a lack of agreement was reached on the course of action for global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation until 2020, with the next five yearly review conference being scheduled only in 2020 thus leaving the NPT at a crossroads in an increasingly multipolar world.


The unfruitfulness of the recent Review Conference, stems from disagreement among the nuclear weapons states (NWS) including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, who refused to agree to a time bound commitment to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.


The Non-Proliferation Treaty is the achilles heel of the overall non-proliferation and disarmament regime, and is fundamentally centred on abating the spread and use of nuclear weapons and technology, enhancing, across the board nuclear disarmament, coupled by the promotion of cooperation in the area of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful means,. In light of these precedents, nuclear weapons continue to be modernised, thus making the question of a new nuclear framework even more pertinent than ever.


Egyptian Ambassador, Hisham Badr, remarked that the closing day of the conference was ‘a sad day’ for the NPT; moreover he lamented that “by blocking consensus we are depriving the world, but especially the Middle East, of even one chance of a better future, away from the horrors and the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.”


Notwithstanding the disappointment that generated from the review conference, an alternative and slightly promising document called the Humanitarian Pledge was produced. A total of 107 states parties, including 33 from Africa, endorsed the pledge. The Humanitarian Pledge pledges to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, States, international organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements, parliamentarians and civil society, in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks.


This not only reflects a glimmer of hope for the world, but it also mirrors a fundamental rethinking of the NPT framework, with multilateralism at the helm of nuclear rhetoric/discourse. Notwithstanding, In the grand scheme of things, this Pledge may do one of two things: produce a new roadmap for a legally binding nuclear weapons banning-instrument or it might leave much to be desired.




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