Disarmament Treaties Timeline

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First Session of the UN General Assembly
First Session of the UN General Assembly

When:
24 January 1946

Who:
The UN General Assembly

What:
The General Assembly adopted its first resolution, which sought ways to eliminate atomic weapons from national armaments through the establishment of a commission to deal with the potential problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy.

The First GA Resolution

IAEA Logo
IAEA Logo

When:
29 July 1957

Who:
81 Member States

What:
The Statute governing the activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) entered into force. The Agency was given a broad mandate aimed at ensuring safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

View of Antarctica from Space
View of Antarctica from Space

When:
1 December 1959

Who:
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the former USSR, the UK, the USA

What:
The Antarctic Treaty was opened for signature. It demilitarizes the continent and determines that Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. Among other provisions, it bans the testing of any kind of weapons and prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste material. The Treaty provides each party with the right to full on-site and aerial inspection of all Antarctic installations in order to verify these provisions.

Antarctic Treaty

Antarctic Treaty Secretariat

Nuclear Test at Bikini Island
Nuclear Test at Bikini Island

When:
5 August 1963

Who:
125 States Parties

What:
The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (Partial Test Ban Treaty) was opened for signature. Eventually ratified by 125 states, the Treaty was significant in curbing the dangerous effects of atmospheric testing on human health, animals and the environment.

Partial Test Ban Treaty

View of the Moon from Space
View of the Moon from Space

When:
27 January 1967

Who:
105 States Parties

What:
The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty), was opened for signature and signed by the former USSR, the United States and the United Kingdom. Forming the basis of all law with regards to space, the Treaty is notable for banning the weaponization of space, in particular the placement of weapons in orbit or on the moon. Since originally entering into force more than 100 States have ratified the Treaty.

Outer Space Treaty

United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space

States that have Adopted the Treaty
States that have Adopted the Treaty

When:
14 February 1967

Who:
All of Latin America and the Caribbean

What:
The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) was opened for signature, covering Latin America and the Caribbean. It was the first nuclear-weapon-free zone and bans the manufacture, storage, or testing of nuclear weapons and the devices for launching them.

Treaty of Tlatelolco

Participation on the Treaty
Participation on the Treaty

When:
5 March 1970

Who:
All UN Member States except India, Israel, and Pakistan. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced its withdrawal from the Treaty in 2003 and its legal status under the Treaty is uncertain.

What:
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) enters into force and commits nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States to nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. They are bound to cooperate and share in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

The Seabed
The Seabed

When:
11 February 1971

Who:
87 States Parties

What:
The Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof (Sea-Bed Treaty) was opened for signature. It bans the emplacement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on the ocean floor and its subsoil. Amid fears over a potential arms race on the seabed, it seeks to ensure nuclear weapons do not encroach on a hereto unaffected environment and to secure the ocean floor's vast natural resources.

Sea-Bed Treaty

The E120 Biological Bomblet
The E120 Biological Bomblet

When:
10 April 1972

Who:
163 States Parties

What:
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) was opened for signature. It bans the production, possession and use of biological weapons. It includes all microbial and other biological agents or toxins and their means of delivery.

Biological Weapons Convention

A Ballistic Missile Engine
A Ballistic Missile Engine

When:
26 May 1972

Who:
The USA and the former USSR

What:
The United States and the former USSR signed the first treaty to emerge from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). At the same time the agreed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Both aimed to stabilize the status quo between the two parties through the limitation of strategic offensive arms and anti-ballistic missile systems.

SALT I Treaty

ABM Treaty

Parties to the Talks
Parties to the Talks

When:
18 June 1979

Who:
The USA and the former USSR

What:
The second round of bilateral Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resulted in a second signed treaty, SALT II, which set further limits of strategic offensive arms between the former USSR and the United States.

SALT II

A Soldier Holding a Booby-Trap
A Soldier Holding a Booby-Trap

When:
10 April 1981

Who:
114 States Parties

What:
The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was opened for signature. It is an umbrella agreement with subsequent protocols that puts prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain defined conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. It includes weapons that explode into fragments undetectable by X-ray within the human body, limits the use of certain types of mines and booby-traps, and bans incendiary weapons designed to set fire to targets.

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Nuclear Waste Casks
Nuclear Waste Casks

When:
6 August 1985

Who:
The 13 Nations of the South Pacific: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

What:
The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga) was signed, prohibiting the testing, manufacture, and stationing of nuclear explosive devices, and the dumping of nuclear waste within the zone.

Treaty of Rarotonga

Nuclear Bombs
Nuclear Bombs

When:
8 December 1987

Who:
The USA and the former USSR

What:
The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed, eliminating the entire category of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear weapons of the former USSR and the US.

Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Conventional Weapon
Conventional Weapon

When:
19 November 1990

Who:
NATO Members and Warsaw Treaty States

What:
The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was opened for signature. It curtails conventional weapons systems in Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. In order to implement the Treaty, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was established in Vienna, Austria in December 1994.

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Nuclear Weapon
Nuclear Weapon

When:
31 July 1991

Who:
The USA and the former USSR

What:
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) was signed, reducing strategic nuclear weapons to 6,000 for the former USSR and the US.

START I

Conventional Arms Participation Graph
Conventional Arms Participation Graph

When:
6 December 1991

Who:
Requested of All Member States

What:
The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 46/36, establishing the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. This registry reinforces the concept of arms transparency as a confidence-building measure by including public data on international arms transfers in seven categories of major conventional arms: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile-launchers. It also includes information on military holdings, procurement through national production and relevant policies.

United Nations Register of Conventional Arms

States of the Former USSR
States of the Former USSR

When:
23 May 1992

Who:
The Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ukraine

What:
The Lisbon Protocol to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) was signed, by which the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, as successor States to the USSR, assumed the obligations of the former USSR under START I. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine adhered to the NPT as non-nuclear weapon States parties.

Lisbon Protocol to START I

START I

Image of A Mushroom Cloud
Image of A Mushroom Cloud

When:
3 January 1993

Who:
The Russian Federation and the USA

What:
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) was signed, limiting strategic nuclear weapons to 3,500 for the Russian Federation and the United States.

START II

OPCW Logo
OPCW Logo

When:
13 January 1993

Who:
188 States Parties

What:
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) was opened for signature. It prohibits chemical warfare and provides for destruction of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was established in The Hague, the Netherlands in 1997.

Chemical Weapons Convention

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Tank with Laser and Laser Warning Receiver
Tank with Laser and Laser Warning Receiver

When:
13 October 1995

Who:
100 States Parties

What:
Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was adopted, banning the development and use of blinding laser weapons. It reflects progress in the field of high technology and prevention of potential misuse in the battlefield.

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons

Bangkok
Bangkok

When:
15 December 1995

Who:
Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam

What:
The Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) was opened for signature. It stresses that the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is essential in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. By terms of the Treaty, each State Party commits not to: develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons; station or transport nuclear weapons by any means; or test or use nuclear weapons. Each State Party also undertakes not to dump at sea or discharge into the atmosphere anywhere within the Zone any radioactive material or wastes.

Bangkok Treaty

Parties to the Treaty
Parties to the Treaty

When:
11 April 1996

Who:
All Member States of the African Continent

What:
By terms of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), the entire African continent agreed not to manufacture or acquire control of nuclear weapons and seek or receive any assistance in the research on, development, manufacture, stockpiling or acquisition, or possession of any nuclear explosive device throughout the region. There are 30 independent states that are also members of this nuclear-weapon-free zone. It entered into force on 15 July 2009.

Treaty of Pelindaba

CTBTO Logo
CTBTO Logo

When:
24 September 1996

Who:
182 States Parties

What:
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature. It bans all nuclear test explosions in all environments for all time. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization is building a comprehensive verification regime which will have 337 monitoring facilities in 89 countries when complete, complemented with on-site inspections. Despite having been ratified by 153 countries, the Treaty has yet to enter into force as nine more States specified in the Treaty have yet to join.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Ammunition
Ammunition

When:
14 November 1997

Who:
29 Member States in the Americas

What:
The Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Convention on Firearms) was opened for signature. It recognizes the links of such activities with drug trafficking, terrorism, transnational organized crime, and mercenary and other criminal activities in the region.

Inter-American Convention on Firearms

Parties to the Treaty
Parties to the Treaty

When:
1 March 1999

Who:
163 Member States

What:
The Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, entered into force. It bans the use, production, and transfer of all anti-personnel landmines and provides for their destruction. The Convetion had been opened for signature in Ottawa on 3 December 1997 after its adoption at the Oslo Diplomatic Conference earlier that year.

Ottawa Convention

States that have Signed the Convention
States that have Signed the Convention

When:
7 June 1999

Who:
20 Member States in the Americas

What:
The Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions adopted in Guatemala City was opened for signature. It stresses openness and transparency by exchanging information on weapon systems covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. It requires its States-parties to annually report on their weapons exports and imports, as well as make timely notifications of their weapons acquisitions, whether imported or produced domestically.

Inter-American Convention on Transparency

Parties to the Declaration
Parties to the Declaration

When:
1 December 2000

Who:
All Member States of the African Continent

What:
The Bamako Declaration was adopted by the Member States of the Organization of African Unity. It underlines the common African position on the proliferation, circulation and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and recognizes the numerous problems inherent in Africa as a result of the wide proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapon

Small Arms
Small Arms

When:
20 July 2001

Who:
All UN Member States

What:
The UN Conference on Small Arms resulted in a Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. The Programme of Action encourages the United Nations and other appropriate international and regional organizations to undertake initiatives to promote the implementation.

PoA-ISS Website

SADC Logo
SADC Logo

When:
14 August 2001

Who:
Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

What:
The Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in the Southern African Development Community Region (SADC Protocol) was adopted. It is a regional instrument that aims to curtail small arms ownership and illicit trafficking in Southern Africa along with the destruction of surplus state weapons. It is a far-reaching instrument, which goes beyond that of a politically binding declaration, providing the region with a legal basis upon which to deal with both the legal and the illicit trade in firearms.

SADC Protocol

Southern African Development Community

Machetes and Bullets Near the Border in Gisenyi (Rwanda)
Machetes and Bullets Near the Border in Gisenyi (Rwanda)

When:
28 November 2003

Who:
75 States Parties

What:
Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons tackles the threat of explosive remnants of war such as unexploded munitions or abandoned ordinance, which pose a continued threat to local populations and reconstruction efforts in the post-combat environment. The Protocol was adopted on 28 November 2003 by the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention. Since its adoption, 75 States are bound by Protocol V, which entered into force on 12 November 2006.

Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Collection of Small Arms
Collection of Small Arms

When:
21 April 2004

Who:
Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania

What:
The Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control, and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa was adopted. It established legislative norms within the legal systems of the signatory states of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania, in order to better address the problem of small arms and light weapons across the whole region. Additionally, it put in place a register of arms enabling more effective tracing of arms from State to State to support the legislative agenda and help control illegal cross-border trade.

Nairobi Protocol

UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly

When:
8 December 2005

Who:
The UN General Assembly

What:
The General Assembly adopted the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (International Tracing Instrument).

International Tracing Instrument

ECOWAS Logo
ECOWAS Logo

When:
14 June 2006

Who:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo

What:
The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other related materials was adopted. It aims to prevent the destabilizing accumulation of arms and ammunition within West Africa. It promotes the exchange of information and greater transparency within the region, prevent the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and provide effective control mechanisms.

ECOWAS Site

Parties to the Treaty
Parties to the Treaty

When:
8 September 2006

Who:
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

What:
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan agreed to establish a Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) in Central Asia. The treaty bans the stockpiling, acquisition, possession, manufacture, or control of nuclear weapons and or any explosive device. It entered into force on 21 March 2009.

CANWFZ

General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism
General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism

When:
7 July 2007

Who:
The UN General Assembly

What:
The Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, also known as the Convention on Terrorist Bombings, entered into force. The Convention arose from the international community in the post-cold war era's fear of nuclear weapons or material falling into terrorist hands.

Convention on Terrorist Bombings

Cluster Bomb
Cluster Bomb

When:
3 December 2008

Who:
56 States Parties

What:
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was opened for signature, forbidding States to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions. The Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010.

Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Kinshasa Convention
The Kinshasa Convention

When:
19 November 2010

Who:
Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe

What:
The Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and All Parts and Components That Can be Used for Their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly (Kinshasa Convention) was signed. It represents a major legal advance in the fight against illicit trade and trafficking of small arms and light weapons. The Convention was signed by Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.