The Non-Proliferation Treaty: A Cornerstone and Essential Foundation

First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the State Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty

New York, 8-19 April 2002

States parties reaffirmed that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of global nuclear non-proliferation and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament”, underlined the Chairman of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty, Henrik Salander, Ambassador of Sweden. The parties also stressed, he continued in his summary at the end of the meeting, that “preserving and strengthening the NPT were vital to peace and security”.    

Since 1998, almost the full complement (187) of the membership of the United Nations (189) is party to the NPT. It is the most important multilateral treaty dealing with nuclear weapons. By the terms of the Treaty, five States (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) are recognized as nuclear-weapon States and have made a commitment to pursue nuclear disarmament negotiations in good faith (article VI). All other States have foresworn the nuclear-weapons option. 

This session of the Preparatory Committee was the first gathering of the States parties since the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The purpose of the meeting was to prepare for the 5-yearly review of 2005 in terms of assessing the implementation of the Treaty, facilitating discussion between States prior to the start of the Conference, and addressing procedural issues related to the organization of the 2005 Conference and the remaining sessions of the Preparatory Committee. 

Following a general exchange of views on all aspects of the Treaty, the majority of the meetings of this session of the Preparatory Committee were dedicated to substantive discussion of the following issues: nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, nuclear-weapon-free zones, safeguards, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Time was also allocated for consideration of specific issues, such as nuclear disarmament, regional issues, including the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review Conference and reaffirmed in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference, as well as the safety and security of peaceful nuclear programmes. 

Nearly 200 representatives from 62 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also attended the first session of the Committee. Several hundred others attended parallel events that took place during the two week period. (See article on page 3). Also, for the first time, a formal meeting of the session was devoted to presentations by NGOs. Fourteen NGOs from around the world presented statements on nuclear issues from a variety of perspectives. 

The second session of the Preparatory Committee will be held in Geneva, 25 April–9 May 2003, under the Chairmanship of László Molnár, Ambassador of Hungary. 

For the report of the Preparatory Committee, see http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPT.shtml

For texts of NGO presentations, see www.reachingcriticalwill.org/npt/ngo.