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IPPNW recommendations for the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW

May 17, 2021

[IPPNW’s co-presidents, on behalf of the Executive Committee, have made the following recommendations for high priority agenda items and outcomes for the First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will convene in Vienna in January 2022.]

We look forward to the first meeting of States parties of the TPNW in January 2022 as an important milestone and step in the increasingly urgent race against time to eradicate nuclear weapons, which pose the most acute existential threat to humankind.

We are pleased to offer these initial recommendations, based on our professional expertise and obligations to prevent and treat disease and suffering, work to fulfill the human right to the highest attainable standard of health for all the world’s people, and promote the conditions required to achieve it.

In addition to the formal requirements for MSP1 to adopt its rules of procedure and decide the time allowed for destruction of nuclear weapons under Article 4.2 for nuclear-armed states that join the TPNW, we make the following recommendations regarding the first Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW, to be held in Vienna on 12-14 Jan 2022:

  1. The productive collaboration between governments, international organisations, people affected by nuclear use and testing, civil society organisations and experts developed during the Humanitarian Initiative which gave rise to the TPNW should continue and be further developed.
    • People affected by nuclear weapons use and testing should be included in all TPNW meetings.
  2. TPNW meetings including MSP1 should be live-streamed and recorded to enhance global engagement with the TPNW, accountability and transparency.
  3. At each MSP and Review Conference, new evidence and developments on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use should be brought to the attention of participating States.
  4. It will be important, especially in the absence of a dedicated secretariat for the TPNW, that MSP1 sets up bodies and processes that can continue the work of treaty implementation and promotion between meetings, in synergy with the UN Secretary-General, and the UN Offices of Disarmament Affairs and Legal Affairs. These processes could
    usefully include:
    • Setting an intersessional work programme with clear goals and timelines, potentially with working groups taking the lead in different areas.
    • Preparatory and intersessional meetings. We are pleased that preparatory consultative meetings are already underway.
    • Establishing on-going or defined-term expert advisory bodies addressing key topics such as:
      • The competent international authority required under the treaty to negotiate and verify the irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons programmes;
      • Periodically updating states parties on new evidence and developments on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use;
      • Providing technical advice on the implementation of Article 6 obligations on victim assistance and environmental remediation;
      • Providing legal and technical support to states parties to assist the development of strong national implementation measures and promote and share good practice.
  5. In the face of the failure of nuclear-armed states to progress disarmament, but rather to modernise their nuclear arsenals, TPNW meetings including MSP1 should consider how the TPNW might be utilised to progress the implementation of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures which despite being widely-supported and key to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, are languishing.
    • At the least, MSP1 should strongly encourage all States Parties and signatories to ratify the CTBT, and for those which have not yet done so, to conclude and bring into force an Additional Protocol with the IAEA.
    • MSP1 should also at least strongly encourage all States Parties and signatories to advance the control and elimination of fissile materials by ceasing any production of highly-enriched uranium, ending any reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium, and eliminating or submitting to secure international custody any stockpiles of separated plutonium.
  6. We consider an area where the TPNW has a vital norm-setting role which States Parties and the UN could usefully reinforce and promote is in relation to incentivising or mandating divestment from companies building nuclear weapons, including in their domestic implementing legislation.
  7. We encourage all States parties and signatories to the TPNW to widely share and promote why they believe joining the TPNW enhances the security of their people and country, and any additional steps they have taken/are taking to implement their treaty commitments in national law, policy and practice.
  8. In fulfilling their Article 12 obligations, we urge all States parties to promote and explain the TPNW, its significance and utility, and correct misunderstandings and misinformation about the treaty, in every nuclear disarmament forum and at other relevant national, bilateral, regional and international occasions. In our assessment the NPT and TPNW are consistent, complementary and synergistic; indeed the TPNW helps to fulfill and deliver on the NPT’s Article 6 obligation to negotiate in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament.
    • We also urge all States parties to pro-actively use such opportunities to raise and engage non-member states on the evidence and concerns that motivated the TPNW, including:
      • Failure to make progress in nuclear disarmament and the absence of plans to do so;
      • The widespread catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons;
      • The impossibility of effectively addressing the humanitarian needs of the victims of even a single nuclear explosion in or over a city;
      • The real and growing risk of nuclear war, and the dangers of rapid escalation should the threshold of nuclear weapons use be crossed;
      • The insecurity engendered by nuclear weapons possession and threat of use, including under policies of nuclear deterrence, and the inevitability of nuclear war associated with retention of nuclear weapons.
  9. We urge all states that have not supported or joined the TPNW to date to participate in MSP1 and subsequent TPNW meetings as observers, and engage constructively with the treaty and the evidence and concerns that underpin it.
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