<< view all News

Negotiating Accession Provisions

The third meeting in a series of public discussions was held on 22 March 2017 at the Palais des Nations under the sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of South Africa, co-organised by the Geneva Disarmament Platform (GDP) and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).

As the ban treaty is conceived solely as a prohibition instrument, and would not itself deal with elimination of nuclear weapons or verification, this session discussed by what means nuclear-armed states could be permitted to join it.

Initial remarks were given by Ms Ncumisa Notutela, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Geneva, and Mr Marc Finaud, GCSP Senior Programme Advisor. 

Ms Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Director of the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, outlined possible several options for provisions regulating accession for nuclear-armed states to the prohibition treaty. Ms Mukhatzhanova began her remarks by highlighting that accession language would depend on other provisions of the treaty - suggesting that the more comprehensive the treaty was, the more straightforward the accession provisions could be. However, negotiating detailed disarmament and verification provisions was outside the envisioned scope of the prohibition treaty, and would in her view not be worth pursuing without the participation of nuclear-armed states. She then outlined four possible approaches to accession to the treaty.

In the open discussion following Ms Mukhatzhanova's remarks, the various approaches to accession were examined in detail, as well as the interaction the treaty would have with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Participants pointed out that, since nuclear-armed states will not take part in the negotiations and are not likely to join the treaty in the near future, any discussion on accession remains theoretical. 

In the end, Mr Richard Lennane, Executive Director of the GDP, gave closing remarks thanking participants for coming to all three of the sessions.

The first event, on cooperation and relations with nuclear-armed states outside the treaty, was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Austria on 6 March. The second event, on withdrawal provisions, was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ireland on 10 March.