Every five years, leaders gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to review implementation of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In the lead-up to each NPT Review Conference (RevCon), three preparatory meetings are held to help set the stage. The first of these Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings for the 2020 RevCon will be held 2-12 May in Vienna.
NTI’s Isabelle Williams, senior advisor to the Global Nuclear Policy Program, traveled to Dakar, Senegal to observe a meeting hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organized in support of their role as Chair of the 2017 NPT PrepCom. Here is her report:
The meeting in Africa, organized in coordination with the Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Embassy in Senegal, was the first of three regional conferences organized by the Dutch government in advance of the May PrepCom meeting. The next two will be held in Jakarta and Santiago.
These meetings give the organizers an important opportunity to consult with regional leaders and hear diverse perspectives and priorities on nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Drawing on their expertise and their understanding of the debates, positions, and priorities of countries in their regions, NTI’s partners--AFRICSIS, the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network and the Latin American Leadership Network--provided input to the Dutch MFA as they developed their plans.
The Dakar conference was well attended with participants representing a number of African countries (all countries were invited to send a representative). Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Secretary General of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) spoke to the group, as did other experts from regional NGO’s. Many participants remarked how important it was to have the meeting in a region that approaches nuclear security and nonproliferation issues from a unique perspective.