Article 4 Informal Working Group Meetings
6 September 2023
On 6 September 2023 states-parties to the TPNW, alongside scientists and civil society, advanced further on their discussion of the two verification pathways for a nuclear-armed state to join the TPNW - either by eliminating its arsenal and then joining the treaty or by joining the treaty first and then eliminating its arsenal. Topics considered included questions around verification of the removal of nuclear weapons from operational status as required by the TPNW Article 4(2), the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the potential interplay between the two verification pathways. The working group plans to prepare a report of its progress for the Second Meeting of States Parties.
19 April 2023
States parties met on 19 April to continue to discuss the process for a nuclear-armed state to join the TPNW and verifiably eliminate its nuclear arsenal, including outlining the steps that would be required and accompanying deadlines, as articulated by the TPNW. Moritz Kutt of the Scientific Advisory Group provided an expert presentation for states parties ahead of the discussion covering these topics and considerations for potential deadline extension requests.
2 March 2023
On 2 March 2023, states parties engaged in a serious discussion to further elaborate on the verification procedures outlined in Article 4 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). This detailed study of the key steps and considerations required to eliminate and verify the elimination of nuclear weapons under the TPNW, from making an initial declaration under Article 2, to cooperating with a designated international authority to verify disarmament and that authority reporting on irreversible elimination, to ongoing safeguards needed to monitor compliance, is a uniquely valuable contribution to the study and practice of nuclear disarmament verification. The group also discussed the different steps required to eliminate nuclear weapons and then join the TPNW, as one route toward elimination contemplated under Article 4 of the TPNW. A co-chair of the TPNW Scientific Advisory Group also engaged in the meeting to provide scientific expertise and support for diplomatic discussions.
1 February 2023
On 1 February, the Article 4 working group met for the second time to hear an expert presentation from Pavel Podvig, Senior Researcher, UNIDIR, providing an overview of existing research relevant to the TPNW’s nuclear disarmament verification provisions and to highlight useful next steps. Podvig stressed that verification under the TPNW in some ways would be different and easier because it would be cooperative - countries that disarm would have chosen to do so and would engage constructively in verification efforts. TPNW states parties and other participating scientists engaged in a fruitful discussion about the presentation. Following the expert remarks, states discussed the objectives and proposed plan of work presented by the co-chairs to meet regularly to discuss different technical aspects of disarmament verification, guided by expert presentations. The group also discussed key actors to engage with from outside the group throughout the intersessional work. The co-chairs presented an information graphic outlining the different steps involved when a nuclear-armed country joins the TPNW. The next scheduled meeting of the Article 4 working group will take place 21 February and will consider key questions to submit to the Scientific Advisory Group to study.
14 November 2022
The Article 4 informal working group on the elimination of nuclear weapons held their first meeting on 14 November to discuss the focus and plan of work for the group going forward. The group reviewed the relevant action items for the implementation of Article 4 for the Vienna Action Plan, namely Actions 15-18.
Action 15 commits states to discuss the competent international authority that would verify disarmament under Article 4; Action 16 commits states parties to designate national contact points on Article 4; in Action 17 states resolved to elaborate, in collaboration with the Scientific Advisory Group, on requirements for disarmament extension requests; and finally in Action 18, states commit to support progress on nuclear disarmament verification.
The group also discussed how to leverage existing research, work with other institutions and scientists and will present a plan of work for new work to states parties.