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Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons 

Sections

General Provisions

Current Status

Documents

References and Links

General Provisions
The draft Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons calls for a ban on the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.  Since the late 1970s, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted an annual resolution urging the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to commence negotiations on a universal convention banning the threat of use or use of nuclear weapons.  However, the CD has been unable to undertake these negotiations.  Opposition from key international players—the United States, the United Kingdom, and France among others–has deterred progress on this issue.  The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons advances the International Court of Justice’s July 8, 1996 advisory opinion that all states should pursue nuclear disarmament negotiations under international oversight.

Concerns over enforcement have fueled criticism of an international nuclear weapons convention.  As George Perkovich and James M. Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ascertain, “global conventions historically have not succeeded in preventing the use or development of banned weapons.” Accordingly, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons lacks a viable enforcement mechanism.  Nevertheless, the Convention still has potential to affect global policy.  A prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons could engender no-first-strike commitments from states possessing these weapons.

Current Status
The First Committee and the UNGA adopted Resolution 64/59 regarding the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons on October 27, 2009 and December 2, 2009 respectively.  Each vote resulted in 116 for and 50 against, with 11 abstentions in the First Committee and 12 in the UNGA.

References and Links
Perkovich, G., & Acton, J. M. (2010, April 21). Outlaw Use of Nuclear Weapons? Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved from http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=40645