The anticipated UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for negotiations to begin next year on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons has now been submitted by the lead sponsors: Mexico, Austria, Ireland, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa. It is anticipated that other states will co-sponsor the draft resolution (including New Zealand, we hope) in the weeks ahead, and – unfortunately – that the nuclear-armed states and their supporters will fiercely oppose it.
States will vote on the resolution in the UNGA First Committee some time between 24 October and 2 November 2016. The draft resolution, ‘Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations’, is available on the iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand website
It has nineteen preambular paragraphs which – among other things – outline the urgent need for a world without nuclear weapons, reference the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and various nuclear disarmament initiatives, and welcome the outcome of this year’s Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations.
The draft resolution then has fifteen operative paragraphs which include:
“8. Decides to convene a United Nations conference in 2017, to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination;
9. Encourages all Member States to participate in the conference;
10. Decides that the conference shall convene in New York, under General Assembly rules of procedure unless otherwise agreed, for 20 working days in 2017, two sessions, with the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives.
11. Decides also that the conference will hold a one-day organizational session in New York as soon as possible;
12. Calls upon States participating in the conference to make their best endeavours to conclude as soon as possible a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination” …