Deep Cuts Working Paper #5 The NPT and the Humanitarian Initiative


The lack of serious engagement on behalf of the nuclear weapon states (NWS) to eliminate their nuclear weapons, as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), however, is more and more being criticized by the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). Their patience is running out of steam, and, crucially, they have found leverage in the form of the so-called humanitarian initiative, including the prospect of banning nuclear weapons. The upcoming five-yearly NPT Review Conference - from 27 April to 22 May 2015 in New York - will be a test of the strength of the humanitarian initiative as well as an indication whether the NWS have understood the message.

This paper by Tom Sauer wants to find out to what extent the NPT and the humanitarian initiative are complimentary, and aims to assess this new narrative in view of the upcoming 2015 NPT Review Conference.

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About the Author

Tom Sauer is Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium) and a member of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.