Background Information

The NPT, which entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995, requires that review conferences be held every five years.

The purpose of the Preparatory Committee is to prepare for the Review Conference in terms of assessing the implementation of each article of the NPT and facilitating discussion among States with a view to making recommendations to the Review Conference. The 2012 meeting is the first of three sessions that will be held prior to the 2015 Review Conference.

The NPT is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. It was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to further the goal of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Under the Treaty, each nuclear-weapon-State party undertakes not to transfer nuclear weapons to any recipient or assist or encourage any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. Similarly, each non-nuclear-weapon-State party undertakes not to receive the transfer of nuclear weapons or manufacture or otherwise acquire them.

To further the goal of non-proliferation, the Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the NPT through inspections conducted by the IAEA. The Treaty promotes cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear technology and equal access to this technology for all States parties, while safeguards prevent the diversion of fissile material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives.

The Treaty also provides an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, namely by further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.

The 2010 NPT Review Conference agreed to a final document that included conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions in the areas of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the Middle East, particularly implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.

Further information may be found at the following web page: