Also see the Peacemaking page on the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) website. It includes a briefing on the 2017 Nuclear Ban Treaty.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is an international treaty, established with the objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology; of promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and furthering the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.

Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance.

Nuclear Ban Treaty (2017)

On 7 July 2017, over 70 years after the world witnessed the devastating power and potential of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a further treaty was endorsed by 22 countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Its intention is to “ban the bomb” and lead to the eventual elimination of all nuclear arms.

The Guardian newspaper reported that “all of the countries that bear nuclear arms and many others that either come under their protection or host weapons on their soil boycotted the negotiations. The most vocal critic of the discussions, the US, pointed to the escalation of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme as one reason to retain its nuclear capability. The UK did not attend the talks despite government claims to support multilateral disarmament.”

The treaty will be open for signatures from any UN member state on 20 September during the UN’s annual general assembly.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is explained on the UN’s website. Further information about the 2017 treaty can also be found on the UN’s website.