2. All states, including those in NATO, shall sign, ratify, and within 10 years comply with the TPNW.

Rapporteur: Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan

Attainment of this Platform plank will require expanded and sustained civil society activism, as well as significant support from activist governments. An early goal supportive of this Platform plank is multiple ratifications of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by non-nuclear weapon and non-NATO states. Once the Treaty comes into legal force, non-nuclear NATO states will be under additional pressure to reject the alliance’s nuclear umbrella.

Current Status

Fifty to 100 nuclear weapons, which would be less than one percent of the nuclear weapons in the world’s currently known arsenal, if used in a regional armed conflict, would cause an environmental catastrophe, massive immediate and long term death, and radically change existence, such as through global famine, for the survivors and civilization.1

The threat of use of nuclear weapons is assessed by, among many others, a core group of nuclear scientists who publish the annually updated Doomsday Clock, which, as its creators note, “has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons.”2 As of 2018, the clock stood at two minutes to midnight, the most dangerous measure since 1953.

The understanding that nuclear weapons are a threat to human survival is not new. The first declaration of the United Nations upon its formation called for abolition of nuclear weapons.3 Through extensive negotiations, the nations of the world, including its nuclear powers, have comprehensively banned nuclear weapons from Antarctica, Outer Space and the Sea Floor.4 However, about 14,000 warheads remain.

Due to widespread fear of nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons states made a bargain with the rest of the world: If other states renounced obtaining nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons states would divest themselves of theirs; and the peaceful use of nuclear energy would be shared. This three-part bargain was enshrined in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). However, 48 years on, the nuclear weapons states have not lived up to their commitment to completely destroy their nuclear arsenals.

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  1. For climatic and environmental effects, see, Ira Helfand, “The Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear WarArms Control Today, November 2018, Vol. 43, No. 9, pp. 22-26. For total number of known nuclear weapons, see Fact Sheet, “Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance”, Arms Control Association, June 2018.  (back)
  2. “It is now two minutes to midnight: 2018 Doomsday Clock Statement,” Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 25 January 2018.  (back)
  3. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1(1), 24 January 1946, “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”  (back)
  4. Antarctic Treaty (1959), Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (1967), Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil thereof (1972).  (back)
  5. The humanitarian disarmament conventions or treaties include the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017); the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008), and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty 1997). Each of these conventions has an associated civil society movement linked with middle powers and like-minded governments, respectively the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The coordination of civil society organizations with governments has sometimes been identified as the “Ottawa Process”, or the “Oslo Process”. The Arms Trade Treaty does not ban any weapons. However, it also employs humanitarian and human rights principles to curb the trade in arms, and its key civil society campaigning group is Control Arms. Several other campaigns have not yet achieved any binding law or other document, including the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the International Network on Explosive Weapons, the Toxic Remnants of War.  (back)
  6. https://cnanw.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CALL2017EN.docx  (back)
  7. https://www.cnanw.ca/2018/03/21/call-to-sign-prohibition-treaty/  (back)
  8. See “The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty at Fifty: a midlife crisis”, NATO Review, 29 June 2018.  (back)
  9. See “Nuclear Umbrella Arrangements and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, International Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, June 2018.  (back)
  10. See North Atlantic Treaty (1949), especially Art. 3. NATO members can both footnote statements and refuse to offer consent within the alliance for policies they disagree with. For discussion of this, see for instance: https://pugwashgroup.ca/nato-canada-in-or-out/  (back)

Author: Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan

1 thought on “2. All states, including those in NATO, shall sign, ratify, and within 10 years comply with the TPNW.

  1. Here’s Beatrice Fihn about to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN. She and Setsuko Thurlow gave the acceptance speech together.

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