Nuclear weapons Ban Monitor: TPNW is gaining global traction


Today’s publication of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor 2022 from ICAN's partner Norwegian People’s Aid shows the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) made significant progress in 2022. The report found that, in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, overt nuclear threats and the highest risk of nuclear weapon use since at least the early 1980s, the number of new TPNW signatories and parties accelerated. On a less positive note, the report shows the report also shows that the number of nuclear weapons available for use globally increased in 2022, as did their destructive power. 

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In 2022 the TPNW’s supporters grew significantly, with 9 new ratifications and 5 additional signatories. As of now, the treaty has 68 states parties, and a further 27 countries have signed but not yet ratified. This means that two years after coming into force, just four more need to sign or accede to the TPNW to exceed 50% of the world’s states committing to the treaty. The report also notes that the treaty passed an important milestone in 2022 when its First Meeting of States Parties produced a scathing declaration against nuclear threats and an ambitious, time-bound action plan to advance treaty goals.

The report also has a wealth of data on the state of nuclear weapons and compliance with the different provisions of the treaty, including the destructive power of each nuclear-armed country’s arsenal. The Monitor found that the number of nuclear weapons available for use globally increased from 9,440 warheads in 2021 to 9,576 at the start of 2023 as a result of Russia, China, India, North Korea and Pakistan all increasing the size of their arsenals. This combined global stockpile has the destructive power of 135,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs.

ICAN’s interim Executive Director, Daniel Högsta, welcomed the report: “This year’s Ban Monitor demonstrates clearly how the TPNW is gaining traction globally as the route to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. At the same time it shows just how urgent it is for nuclear-armed countries and their allies to start taking credible, concrete steps towards disarmament. Just in the past few days, we have seen Russia justifying its plans to place nuclear weapons in Belarus on the basis that the US does the same, so it is high time all these states took a lead from the rest of the world and joined the treaty.”

Europe has the highest number of countries whose actions run counter to the TPNW, as they are nuclear-armed state, or complicit states that rely on nuclear weapons as part of their security policy. With the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2021, hosting nuclear weapons from another country on one’s territory is now also explicitly forbidden.  As the report’s main author, Grethe Østern of Norwegian People’s Aid, points out: “these states perpetuate the idea that nuclear weapons are legitimate and necessary and are a major obstacle to nuclear disarmament”.