On 2-3 March 2020, before the promulgation of guidelines restricting in-person meetings at UN Headquarters due to COVID-19, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs hosted a thematic seminar on pillar II (non-proliferation) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at United Nations Headquarters in New York. NPT States Parties took part in discussions on some of the most important issues related to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Topics included IAEA safeguards, safeguards-related challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies, nuclear security, nuclear supply arrangements, regional issues and nuclear-weapon-free zones.
Looking out on the Economic and Social Council Chamber as Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, addresses participants at the opening of the thematic seminar.
This thematic seminar is part of a project generously funded by the European Union in line with its Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/615 of 15 April 2019 on Union support for activities leading up to the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT. It includes thematic seminars on all three pillars of the NPT (disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy), as well as regional meetings for States Parties from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.
In her opening remarks, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs noted that “non-proliferation makes the world a safer and more secure place for everyone. Moreover, non-proliferation and disarmament are inextricably linked … compliance with non-proliferation lays the ground for further disarmament measures.” The President-designate of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, His Excellency Gustavo Zlauvinen (Argentina), referred to current non-proliferation challenges and called for a strong safeguards system that was technologically current.
His Excellency Cristian Istrate (Romania) moderates a panel discussion on the safeguards-related challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies
Discussions at the two-day thematic seminar were informed by panels of State Party representatives and experts, including representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. During interactive discussions, representatives of States Parties informed of their positions on the topics under discussions, and explored areas of convergence.
The 2020 Review Conference was scheduled to be held in New York from 27 April to 22 May 2020. In light of the situation related to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, States Parties have decided to postpone the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to a later date, as soon as the circumstances permit, but no later than April 2021. Further information will be made available on the website of the Review Conference in due course. Taking place every five years, review conferences serve to take stock of the implementation of the Treaty and to adopt recommendations for follow-on action.
Having entered into force in 1970, the NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.