On the eve of the tenth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, the P5 should establish a regular, open-ended and sustained dialogue process on strategic risk reduction to improve the international security environment.
The debate and ambition
In the framework of the “Go Big” initiative, ELN has assembled an action group to work on the P5 process in the run-up to the tenth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. It consists of over 30 ELN members from our senior, mid-career and young professional networks and selected non-members with expertise in strategic risk reduction. The group is co-chaired by former Secretary general of the Regional Cooperation Council Goran Svilanović and former Permanent Representative of Turkey to NATO and former Director-General of the OPCW, Ahmet Üzümcü.
Given the need for greater international cooperation in the wake of increased international tensions, the modernisation of nuclear arsenals and the near-total erosion of arms control, the ELN action group aims to foster dialogue on reducing the risk of nuclear war. The action group hopes to convince the five nuclear-weapon states recognised by the NPT (the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom) to adopt tangible risk reduction measures and to establish a regular, sustained and open-ended P5 dialogue on strategic risk reduction.
While the P5 prefer to address the “strategic” risks—that is, unintended ambiguity in deterrence arising from miscommunication, misperception, and misinterpretation–to lower the risk of a nuclear exchange, many non-nuclear-weapon states seek a more comprehensive approach that would address strategic and nuclear risks (i.e. those that stem intrinsically from the possession of nuclear weapons).
Following several rounds of private consultations with P5 and non-P5 officials, the action group advocates a nuanced approach to be as representative of the NPT community as possible while recognising the difficult geopolitical environment.
Getting P5 strategic risk reduction right: What NATO non-nuclear-weapon states seek from nuclear-weapon states
To get strategic risk reduction right, the P5 will need to respond to NATO non-nuclear-weapon states interest in a structured and transparent conversation on concrete measures to lower the risk of nuclear use.
“I’m not dead yet!”: What the COVID-19 prompted postponement could mean for the 10th NPT Review Conference
The delay of the Review Conference and disruption of the usual preparatory processes could offer an opportunity and space for a new vision for the conference and review process to emerge.
Nuclear risk reduction could be a feasible area to show progress during the next NPT Review Conference.
The ELN and King’s College London publish policy recommendations for the P5 process in the run-up to the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
The product of a ten-month-long effort by the ELN to explore common ground among the five nuclear-weapon states (NWS) parties to the NPT, this new report from Dr Maximilian Hoell and Andreas Persbo offers practical recommendations for the P5 to reduce nuclear risks.