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.
The P5 Process brings together the five nuclear weapon states (NWS)—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—recognised by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in a dedicated forum to discuss their unique responsibilities under the Treaty. In partnership with the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London, the ELN led an innovative project funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to identify potential opportunities and challenges for the P5 Process in advance of the 2020 NPT Review Conference (RevCon). By bringing together leading nuclear experts from civil society and government in Track 2 and Track 1.5 dialogues, the project has developed a parallel process to official P5 proceedings. This culminated in the Civil Society Events at the London P5 Process meeting in February 2020.
This project fosters transparent and constructive dialogue around nuclear responsibilities, strategic risk reduction, nuclear doctrines, and the RevCon, among other topics. The project has identified specific opportunities and practical recommendations for P5 cooperation and progress in the NPT process, which will be discussed in the forthcoming final project report and in a dedicated side event at the 2020 RevCon.
The key aims of the project are:
- To anticipate opportunities and challenges for the P5 Process through Track 1.5 and Track 2 workshops prior to the February 2020 P5 meeting in London and 2020 NPT RevCon;
- To promote transparency on nuclear policy between the P5 states and civil society actors;
- To develop an inclusive, civil society process parallel to official P5 meetings;
- To identify specific opportunities for P5 cooperation in key policy areas; and
- To promote NPT objectives and positive atmospherics amongst the P5 and wider international community leading to the 2020 RevCon.
The project has three primary impacts:
- Policy – The project has produced a series of specific, practical recommendations for the P5 states. These recommendations identify opportunities for P5 cooperation in advance of the 2020 NPT RevCon and outline additional opportunities for the future of the P5 Process. Along with additional findings from the project workshops, the recommendations helped to inform the official P5 Process meeting agenda. These outcomes will be featured in a side event at the 2020 RevCon.
- Transparency – The project promotes greater transparency in the P5 Process. In developing a parallel process to official P5 meetings, the project has brought together leading government and non-governmental experts to discuss key issues facing the P5 and NPT. The Civil Society Events in February 2020 represented the largest Track 1.5 gathering of the P5 Process to date.
- Diversity and Inclusion – Engagement with and promotion of diverse views proves a particularly impactful project outcome. The project has featured the forward-looking perspectives of next-generation leaders on the greatest challenges facing the P5; engaged with regionally diverse civil society actors, including representatives from 16 non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS); included participants with diverse backgrounds from academia, government, and industry; and promoted gender balance, with 54% participation by female experts and a dedicated reception in partnership with Women in International Security (WIIS) UK as part of the February Civil Society Events.
Policy briefs and interventions
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.
In October and November 2019, the European leadership Network (ELN) and King’s College London (KCL) hosted two workshops with experts and government officials from each of the P5 countries to explore cooperation ahead of the London conference and the NPT Review Conference in 2020. This policy memo captures many of the recommendations deliberated at the workshops.
Moscow views a lack of tangible deliverables as a serious impediment to the effectiveness of the P5.
US engagement in the process looks distinct from that of other members as it’s inextricably linked to its perception of the global security environment.
Beijing has re-started the P5 process after a break in formal conferences in 2017-2018 and has led on the glossary and Bangkok Treaty workstreams.
During the UK’s tenure as coordinator, London has advanced the doctrines discussion and transparency-building efforts in spite of stark disagreements.
In February, the ELN and King’s College London coordinated the civil society events at the London P5 Process meeting.