Proposals for starting negotiations in 2017 put forward at the OEWG

May 4, 2016

At the beginning of the second session of the OEWG, several proposals for starting negotiations of a new international treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons were put forward.

Nine states from Nuclear Weapons Free Zones – Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and Zambia – submitted a proposal to convene a negotiating conference in 2017 for a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

“This is a very exciting development and shows that governments are getting ready to start a process banning nuclear weapons,” says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN.

Another proposal, from the 127 endorsers of the Humanitarian Pledge, also calls for the urgent pursuit of a new treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

This is the first time the Pledge group has come together to contribute substantively to a UN meeting to make recommendations on how to move the pledge forward.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have also submitted a proposal calling for the start of “a multilateral diplomatic process for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons”.

Additional proposals calling for a treaty banning nuclear weapons have come from individual delegations such as Mexico and Nicaragua, while others nations have endorsed the call for a ban through their interventions from the floor.

Five Pacific island states – Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and Tuvalu – submitted a working paper that sets out possible elements to be included in a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It calls for negotiations to begin in the latter part of this year.

As more proposals are expected to be made during the second week of the UN working group, it’s clear that the majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons.  “A minority of governments still opposes a treaty banning nuclear weapons, but the majority of the world are getting ready to take action on the last weapons of mass destruction not yet comprehensively prohibited by a treaty”, says Beatrice Fihn.

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