European Parliament briefing on 2015 NPT and the Austrian Pledge
April 8, 2015
The 2015 NPT Review Conference & the Austrian Pledge
15 April 2015 at 17:00 – 18:30
Room A1E1 – European Parliament – Brussels
Only one week before the 5-yearly review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), this briefing will make the connection with recent revolutions in the nuclear disarmament discourse.
– Brando Benifei (S&D – hosting MEP)
– Amb. Alexander Kmentt (2014 Arms Control Person of the Year, Organiser of the Vienna Conference and Director of Disarmament and Non-proliferation, Austrian Foreign Ministry):
– Julie Ward (S&D MEP)
– Bodil Ceballos (Greens MEP)
– Krista van Velzen (PAX)
– Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm (ICAN, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons)
The humanitarian initiative now counts 155 nations, and culminated in the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, held in Vienna in December 2014. Evidence gathered at these humanitarian initiative conferences has greatly increased the urgency with which nuclear weapon-free states seek to protect their populations from the increasing risk of nuclear detonations.
The NPT remains the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. Yet its credibility has been undermined by the extremely weak implementation of its 2010 Action Plan, though adopted by consensus. Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament has given way to massive modernisation plans.
The Vienna Conference identified a legal gap in international law, whereby nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet explicitly banned. The prohibition of weapons normally precedes their elimination, and in cases such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, landmine and cluster munitions treaties, the international community did not wait until all states are ready to give up their weapons. Instead, emerging international law was codified by a like-minded majority, by states negotiating new treaties in a forum open to all and blockable by none.
To improve the implementation of the NPT, the Austrian Government pledged to engage all interest stakeholders in efforts to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”. More than 60 states have so far joined this call to action.
Parliamentarians have a vital role in promoting the humanitarian approach to nuclear weapons, challenging decades-old discourses on mutually assured destruction and billions of euros wasted. ICAN and its partner organisations warmly encourage MEPs to sign the Parliamentary Appeal to ban Nuclear Weapons.