TPNW Informal Working Group: Universalisation

At the First Meeting of States Parties, an informal working group was established to take forward intersessional work related to universalisation of the TPNW. Under Article 12 of the treaty, states parties must “encourage States not party to this Treaty to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Treaty, with the goal of universal adherence of all States to the Treaty”. Through the informal working group, states parties exchange information and develop recommendations to be considered at future meetings of states parties and review conferences, with the co-chairs reporting regularly to the coordinating committee. 

In Vienna, TPNW states parties resolved “to make universalisation efforts a priority”, vowing not to rest “until the last state has joined the Treaty”. They emphasised that universalisation should be “understood broadly” to include not only further signatures and ratifications, but also greater acceptance of “the underlying rationale of the total elimination of nuclear weapons owing to their inherent risks and catastrophic humanitarian consequences”. Moreover, it should “serve as a strategy to maximise the authority of the core norms and principles of the Treaty in international politics”.

The Vienna Action Plan lists 14 actions for universalisation, including making diplomatic démarches and outreach visits to the capitals of non-parties, providing technical support for states to complete their ratification processes, and highlighting the importance of the treaty in national and regional statements, and coordinating outreach efforts with partners such as the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and ICAN. The states parties agreed to nominate national focal points to facilitate this work.

At 2MSP, the co-chairs, Malaysia and South Africa, presented the report of the informal working group on universalisation. The first intersessional period saw progress towards universalisation of the TPNW with 7 signatures, 3 ratifications and 1 accession. The mandate of the working group was renewed (Decision 1) with South Africa and Uruguay appointed as co-chairs for the next intersessional period.


South Africa and Uruguay (2023-present)
Malaysia and South Africa (2022-2023)

Meetings and Events:

30-31 January 2023

26 January 2023

22 September 2022


For resources about the Informal Working Group on article 12, click here.