Austria

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 8 May 2018

 

Summary

Austria has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

Austria’s minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, announced in October 2020 that Austria will host the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW in Vienna in 2022.

 

Signature and ratification

Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.

Addressing the United Nations ahead of the signing ceremony, Kurz said: “Today, we often hear that nuclear weapons are necessary for security. This narrative is not only wrong, it is dangerous. The new treaty provides a real alternative: a world without nuclear weapons, where everyone is safer.”


Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, signs the TPNW in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Jan Kickert, the then-permanent representative of Austria to the United Nations, deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 8 May 2018. The Austrian national council had approved ratification on 21 March 2018 and the federal council had approved it on 5 April 2018.

Austria was the ninth state to ratify or accede to the TPNW.

Representatives of Austria, ICAN and the UN Office of Legal Affairs celebrate Austria’s ratification of the TPNW in New York on 8 May 2018.

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Austria submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 9 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

Per Article 12, Austria has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a statement to the United Nations in 2019, Schallenberg said: “With every additional signature and ratification, states send a very powerful signal that having a say on nuclear weapons is not exclusive to states who possess them. The security of all our citizens is equally important and equally at risk.”

Austria welcomed the TPNW’s entry into force in January 2021, describing it as “the result of impressive international cooperation” and an expression of the “clear will by the overwhelming majority of the world”.

ICAN representatives meet with Schallenberg in Geneva in June 2019. Photo: BMEIA

 

TPNW negotiations

Austria participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, Austria argued, in response to critics of the process, that there is no “wrong time” for negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. “If you look at the risks, what is the alternative? Is doing nothing a better strategy?”

In its closing statement, Austria called on “those countries that still rely on nuclear weapons in their security policy to join us [in supporting the treaty] for their own security and for the security of all humanity”.

Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa comprised a “core group” of states that played a leading role in bringing the negotiations about and ensuring their ultimate success.

In 2016, Austria co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

ICAN campaigners and Austrian diplomats celebrate the Nobel peace prize awarded to ICAN in Oslo in December 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

In 2014, Austria hosted the third in a series of inter-governmental conferences on the “humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons”, at which it launched a pledge, subsequently endorsed by 127 states, to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”.

The “humanitarian pledge”, as it became known, was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

ICAN campaigners meet with Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, in New York in April 2015. Photo: ICAN

Officials representing 146 states participate in the Vienna conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in 2014. Photo: ICAN

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 8 May 2018

 

Summary

Austria has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

Austria’s minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, announced in October 2020 that Austria will host the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW in Vienna in 2022.

 

Signature and ratification

Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.

Addressing the United Nations ahead of the signing ceremony, Kurz said: “Today, we often hear that nuclear weapons are necessary for security. This narrative is not only wrong, it is dangerous. The new treaty provides a real alternative: a world without nuclear weapons, where everyone is safer.”


Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, signs the TPNW in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Jan Kickert, the then-permanent representative of Austria to the United Nations, deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 8 May 2018. The Austrian national council had approved ratification on 21 March 2018 and the federal council had approved it on 5 April 2018.

Austria was the ninth state to ratify or accede to the TPNW.

Representatives of Austria, ICAN and the UN Office of Legal Affairs celebrate Austria’s ratification of the TPNW in New York on 8 May 2018.

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Austria submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 9 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

Per Article 12, Austria has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a statement to the United Nations in 2019, Schallenberg said: “With every additional signature and ratification, states send a very powerful signal that having a say on nuclear weapons is not exclusive to states who possess them. The security of all our citizens is equally important and equally at risk.”

Austria welcomed the TPNW’s entry into force in January 2021, describing it as “the result of impressive international cooperation” and an expression of the “clear will by the overwhelming majority of the world”.

ICAN representatives meet with Schallenberg in Geneva in June 2019. Photo: BMEIA

 

TPNW negotiations

Austria participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, Austria argued, in response to critics of the process, that there is no “wrong time” for negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. “If you look at the risks, what is the alternative? Is doing nothing a better strategy?”

In its closing statement, Austria called on “those countries that still rely on nuclear weapons in their security policy to join us [in supporting the treaty] for their own security and for the security of all humanity”.

Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa comprised a “core group” of states that played a leading role in bringing the negotiations about and ensuring their ultimate success.

In 2016, Austria co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

ICAN campaigners and Austrian diplomats celebrate the Nobel peace prize awarded to ICAN in Oslo in December 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

In 2014, Austria hosted the third in a series of inter-governmental conferences on the “humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons”, at which it launched a pledge, subsequently endorsed by 127 states, to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”.

The “humanitarian pledge”, as it became known, was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

ICAN campaigners meet with Sebastian Kurz, the then-minister for foreign affairs of Austria, in New York in April 2015. Photo: ICAN

Officials representing 146 states participate in the Vienna conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in 2014. Photo: ICAN

[PARTNERS]

IFOR Austria

ICAN Austria

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International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

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