New Agenda Coalition

Established

June 9, 1998

Membership

6 Members (May 2015) - Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa

Background

Founded by Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and Slovenia (the latter two subsequently left the Coalition) in June 1998 with the Joint Declaration (sometimes called the Eight Nation Declaration), the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) is a group of geographically diverse, middle power countries which formed in response to the divide between nuclear weapon states (NWS) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) during negotiations regarding the indefinite extension of the NPT during 1995 Review Conference. NNWS believed the NWS were not upholding their Article VI commitments sufficiently enough to warrant the extension of the NPT. The NAC’s joint declaration and following United Nations resolution outlined their new agenda for nuclear disarmament.

Today, the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) is a ministerial-level group of states within the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) focused on building international consensus to make progress on nuclear disarmament, as legally called for in the Nonproliferation Treaty.

The first NAC Ministerial Meeting was held on 9 June 1998 in Dublin, Ireland.

Objectives

As outlined in their Joint Declaration and A/RES/53/77 Y, the NAC has called for the five nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-weapon possessor states to make an unequivocal commitment to nuclear disarmament and to begin multilateral negotiations that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons through a Nuclear Weapons Convention. The NAC's priorities include:

  • Universalization of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT);
  • Commencement of negotiations on fissile material cut-off treaty;
  • Redress of the procedural block within the Conference of Disarmament (CD);
  • Development of requisite verification regimes.

Principal Organs

The NAC does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat, and its administration is non-hierarchical. Decisions are made by consensus, which requires agreement, but not unanimity.

Developments

2017

On 2 May, Ambassador Patricia O’Brien of Ireland delivered a statement on behalf of NAC at the opening general debate of the 2017 NPT Preparatory Committee. The statement reaffirmed NAC’s commitment to the NPT and expressed its displeasure for the international community’s lack of progress on nuclear disarmament issues. Ambassador O’Brien also delivered the NAC statement on Cluster I issues on 4 May.

On 12 May, Ambassador Tom Hanney of Ireland delivered NAC’s statement at the closing general debate, which proposed amendments to the Chair’s factual summary.

NAC submitted two working papers, the first on taking forward nuclear disarmament (NPT/CONF.2020/PC.1/WP.9) and the second on strengthening accountability (NPT/CONF.2020/PC.1/WP.13).

2016

On 22 February, a statement delivered by the Brazilian delegation at the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Nuclear Disarmament, expressed NAC’s commitment to contribute substantively to nuclear disarmament efforts.

On 13 May, NAC delivered a statement at the second meeting of the OEWG on their concerns about the limited progress on nuclear disarmament.

On 3 October, H.E. Mr. Amr Aboulatta of Egypt delivered a statement on behalf of NAC during the general debate at the First Committee of the 71st Session of the UNGA. Though highlighting the nuclear arms reductions that have occurred since the Cold War, NAC’s statement explained that “bilateral reductions are no substitute for multilateral nuclear disarmament measures implemented with… irreversibility, verifiability, and transparency.” The statement also encouraged states to expedite the process of disarmament.

On 13 October, H.E. Mr. Amr Aboulatta of Egypt delivered a statement on behalf of NAC during the thematic debate on nuclear weapons at the First Committee of the 71st Session of the UNGA. The statement underlined the importance of nuclear disarmament by the NWS, and called upon them to accelerate this process and cease modernization programs for nuclear weapons. Further, it called for all States to support and pursue nuclear disarmament capabilities with the IAEA, such that nuclear material is not used for military purposes. 

2015

During the 2015 NPT Review Conference (27 April—22 May 2015), Ambassador Dell Higgie (New Zealand) delivered two NAC statements: one during general debate, addressing positive developments since the 2010 Review Conference, and the second on Cluster I issues. The NAC also submitted two working papers regarding nuclear disarmament (NPT/CONF.2015/WP.8) and Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT/CONF.2015/WP.9). From 5-8 May, NAC presented three statements to Subsidiary Body I. The first reiterated nuclear disarmament as NAC’s “highest priority.” The second outlined the NAC’s position on the “building block” approach to disarmament. The third called for a legally binding instrument of verifiable disarmament as a necessary matter to implement Article VI.

On 1 October, the NAC members submitted the draft resolution “Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” to the General Assembly First Committee. The draft resolution noted the importance of the focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and urged States to accelerate the implementation of previous nuclear disarmament commitments and to pursue further multilateral negotiations.

On 8 October, the delegation of South Africa gave an opening statement on behalf of the NAC during the General Debate in the First Committee. The NAC voiced its disappointment at the lack of a consensus final document from the 2015 NPT Review Conference. The NAC urged all the delegations to “seize the opportunity of the First Committee to make a difference on disarmament.”

On 19 October, the delegation of South Africa delivered a statement on behalf of the NAC during the First Committee of the UNGA 70th Session Thematic Debate on nuclear weapons. Mr. Combrink summarized the draft resolution the NAC submitted to the First Committee, focusing on the Humanitarian Impact of nuclear weapons as well as reviewing states’ obligation under the NPT and International Law.

2014

On 29 April, at the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee, Mr. Noel Stott gave a statement of behalf of the Group of Non-Governmental Experts from Countries Belonging to the NAC (NAC-NGO Group). Mr. Stott addressed the importance of the NPT, reviewed positive developments since 2010, and outlined challenges and solutions for future nuclear talks.

From 28 April-9 May, NAC representative Ambassador Patricia O’Brien of Ireland made two main statements at the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee: one in general debate and another in Cluster I issues. The NAC also submitted working papers regarding Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT/CONF.2015/PC.III/WP.18), the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (NPT/CONF.2015/PC.III/WP.19), and nuclear disarmament (NPT/CONF.2015/PC.III/WP.25).

On 2 June, at the Conference on Disarmament, representatives of Brazil and New Zealand affirmed the need to adopt interim measures, which the NAC had proposed for the General Assembly’s Open-Ended Working Group session in 2013, in order to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

On 7 October, Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco of Mexico made a statement on behalf of NAC at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly 69th Session General Debate reaffirming nuclear disarmament as NAC’s primary goal.

On 20 October in the same forum, Ambassador Lomónaco issued a second statement in the thematic debate on nuclear weapons in support of the previously presented NAC sponsored draft resolution A/C.1/68/L.18, “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments.”

On 7 December, Ireland gave a statement at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in which it reiterated NAC’s serious commitment to integrate “proposed discussions on a framework of effective measures for nuclear disarmament” into the 2015 Review Conference. At the same conference, South Africa gave a statement in which it “urge[d] all States to support the proposal of the NAC to utilize all available fora to explore options to elaborate effective [disarmament] measures.”

2013

On 12 March, Brazil gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the Conference on Disarmament condemning the nuclear test by North Korea on 12 February of that year. At this time, Sweden was still party to the Coalition.

During the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference (22 April–3 May 2013) in Geneva, Switzerland, the representative from Brazil gave two statements on behalf of the NAC members: one during general debate and the second on Cluster I issues. The NAC also submitted two working papers on transparency (NPT/CONF.2015/PC.II/WP.26) and nuclear disarmament

(NPT/CONF.2015/PC.II/WP.27). These working papers supplemented the ones given the year prior. Just before the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting, Sweden announced it was leaving the NAC for unspecified reasons. Its name was not included in any statements made by the NAC during the 2013 PrepCom.

On 14 May, Brazil made a statement on behalf of the NAC to the Open-ended Working Group on “taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament obligations” and highlighted the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons as a justification for disarmament.

In August, NAC presented a working paper to the Open-Ended Working Group on taking forward multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament by identifying and filling gaps in the existing architecture. The working paper included a status report of the implementation of past agreements. The NAC also addressed the existing arrangements for disarmament negotiations and their importance and shortcomings. In their statement, the NAC also took a futuristic approach by outlining the “End State,” or what mechanisms will need to be established to maintain a world free of nuclear weapons. These included: the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, the prohibition of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, the prohibition of the possession, stockpiling, development or transfer of nuclear weapons, the prohibition of the production of or the use of already existing fissile material for nuclear weapons and placing all such fissile material under international safeguards, and the prohibition of nuclear-weapons tests in all their forms, including both supercritical and subcritical tests.

On 26 September, pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 67/39, the UN General Assembly hosted a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament, where Egypt gave a statement on behalf of the NAC. The statement indicated that NAC’s primary goal is a legally-binding and multilateral commitment on the part of nuclear-armed states to nuclear disarmament, backed by clearly defined timelines and benchmarks.

On 9 October, Egypt gave a statement to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. Egypt also gave a statement on the nuclear weapons thematic debate. The NAC sponsored draft resolution A/C.1/68/L.18, “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments.”

2012

On 9 March, South Africa gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the Conference on Disarmament. It asserted that the CD is a key vehicle through which nuclear disarmament objectives can be achieved.

During the First Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference (30 April–11 May) in Vienna, Austria, South Africa gave statements on behalf of the NAC: one general statement and a second on cluster I issues. The group of non-governmental experts from countries belonging to the NAC also gave a statement. The NAC also submitted two working papers:

NPT/CONF.2015/PC.I/WP.29 (disarmament) and NPT/CONF.2015/PC.I/WP.30 (verification).

On 19 June, South Africa gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the Conference on Disarmament in which it outlined concrete actions that should be undertaken to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world based on the 2010 NPT Review Conference action plan.

On 8 October, Sweden gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. Sweden also gave a statement on behalf of the NAC on the nuclear weapons thematic debate. The NAC sponsored Resolution A/RES/67/34 which reiterated its viewpoints given in the NPT working papers from earlier that year.

2011

On 3 October, New Zealand gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. New Zealand also gave a statement on behalf of the NAC on the nuclear weapons debate and another in support of the NAC’s resolution A/RES/66/40. This is the annual NAC resolution which outlines progress made and provides ways forward regarding nuclear disarmament.

2010

During the 2010 NPT Review Conference (3–28 May) in New York, Egypt made three statements on behalf of the NAC: one general statement, a second to Main Committee I and a third to introduce NAC working paper NPT/CONF.2010/WP.8. This working paper outlined and reaffirmed the goals of the NAC in line with the 13 Practical Steps towards nuclear disarmament. The NAC also released a statement of interventions on the Main Committee I Draft Report (NPT/CONF/MC.I/CPR.2*). South Africa delivered a statement on behalf of the group of non-governmental experts from NAC countries reaffirming their dedication to complete and irreversible nuclear disarmament. The NAC noted that the role of civil society would be instrumental in building the political momentum and developing the mechanisms to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.

On 4 October, Ireland gave a statement to the 65th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. Ireland also gave a statement on the nuclear weapons debate and another in support of their resolution A/RES/65/59, which, like its predecessors (64/57, 63/58, 62/25, 61/65), reaffirms nuclear disarmament as vital to international security and commends the outcomes of the 2010 Review Conference.

2009

The NAC participated in the third Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference held from 4–15 May 2009 in New York. Sweden gave two statements on behalf of the NAC: one general statement and a second on nuclear security assurance. The NAC also released a statement from its meeting of non-governmental experts from States party to the NAC. It emphasized the need for concrete, transparent and verifiable steps regarding nuclear disarmament and stated that the highest priority should be given to: entry into force for the CTBT; diminished role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines; a subsequent treaty to replace START before it lapses; fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations and a NWFZs in the Middle East and North East Asia. In this regard, the NAC submitted a working paper to help facilitate prioritization.

On 5 October, Brazil gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the 64th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. The NAC was a sponsor of A/RES/64/57, which was updated from the previous years’ resolutions (63/58, 62/25, 61/65) to incorporate current events. The resolution continues to work towards a nuclear-weapon-free world by accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments.

2008

During the second Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference (28 April-9 May) held in Geneva, Switzerland, New Zealand made two statements on behalf of the NAC: one general statement and a second on nuclear disarmament. The NAC also submitted one working paper, which identifies eight areas requiring urgent attention for the review cycle. These areas are universality; nuclear doctrines; reduction in nuclear forces; security assurances; NWFZs; fissile material treaty negotiations; and nuclear weapons testing. This working paper was previously submitted in 2007 with no updates.

On 6 October, South Africa gave a statement to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. South Africa also gave a statement in support of their resolution A/RES/63/58. This resolution builds upon past resolutions (62/25, 61/65) and calls upon the Preparatory Committee at its third session, in 2009, to identify and address specific aspects where urgent progress is required in order to advance the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

2007

The Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT held its first session from 30 April to 11 May 2007 at the Austrian Center in Vienna, during which the NAC presented a working paper, NPT/CONF.2010/PC.I/WP.15. This working paper addressed the lack of progress since the last review conference and highlighted the 13 Practical Steps towards nuclear disarmament. Ireland delivered two statements on the behalf of the NAC members (a general statement and one on cluster I issues) in support of accelerating disarmament.

On 8 October, Mexico gave a statement to the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. The NAC was a sponsor of A/RES/62/25, which followed up on the previous year’s resolution (61/65) and again called for the acceleration of nuclear disarmament commitments.

2006

On 2 October, Egypt gave a statement on behalf of NAC to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. The NAC was a sponsor of A/RES/61/65. The resolution re-emphasized the 13 Practical Steps, adopted in 2000 and “decides to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-second session the item entitled ‘Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments’ and to review the implementation of the present resolution at that session.

2005

The 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met from 2–27 May 2005 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. New Zealand gave a statement on behalf of the NAC. The NAC submitted two working papers:

NPT/CONF.2005/WP.27, on nuclear disarmament and NPT/CONF.2005/WP.61, security assurances. The working paper on security assurances addressed the need for a protocol or agreement which “prohibit[s] the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” This working paper was submitted during the first PrepCom (2002) to the 2005 RevCon.

On 5 October, South Africa gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the 60th session of the UN General Assembly First Committee. They introduced a working paper on 11 October, which was subsequently became A/RES/60/56: "Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments."

2004

The Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) held its third session from 26 April - 7 May 2004 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, during which Mexico gave a statement on behalf of the NAC.

On 4 October, Sweden gave a statement on behalf of the NAC at the UN General Assembly First Committee. NAC did not submit any new working papers, but again gave a statement of justification in support of A/RES/59/94 "Bilateral strategic nuclear arms reductions and the new strategic framework." They reaffirmed their position that while the resolution is momentous, it does not replace irreversible cuts to nuclear stockpiles.

2003

The NAC provided a working paper on negative security assurances to the 2003 NPT Preparatory Committee which met from 28 April - 9 May 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland. This working paper would be resubmitted at the 2005 Review Conference in its final form.

2002

On 30 September, Ireland gave a statement on behalf of the NAC to the First Committee on Disarmament and International Security session for the 57th session of the UN General Assembly, which took place from 30 September-1 November 2002 at the United Nations in New York. The NAC submitted two working papers, which both became resolutions: “Towards a nuclear weapons free world: the need for a new agenda” (A/RES/57/59) and “Reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons” (A/RES/57/58). Ireland also gave a statement on their behalf in support of these working papers. The NAC also gave a statement of justification on why they join consensus in the adoption of A/RES/57/68, “Bilateral strategic nuclear arms reductions and the new strategic framework.” Mainly, the NAC supported the adoption of draft resolution, but asserted that it should not be considered a substitute for irreversible cuts in, and the total elimination of, nuclear weapons. Ireland gave a second statement of justification in support of the adoption of A/RES/57/78 “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” but abstained because the draft resolution does not use the same rhetoric as the 2000 NPT Review Conference final outcome documents.

2000

During the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which convened 24 April-19 May 2000 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the NAC was instrumental in crafting a breakthrough in Conference. Mexico gave a statement on behalf of the other NAC members. NAC members outlined the 13 Practical Steps towards swift, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear disarmament which was well received by NWS and NNW alike. In the 13 Practical Steps, NAC outlined topics on which action was needed to further nuclear disarmament, which included: early entry into force of the CTBT, negotiation of an effectively verifiable FMCT, cuts in nonstrategic nuclear weapons, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, rejecting the development of new kinds of nuclear weapons, establishing a subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament, and ensuring the principles of transparency and irreversibility in disarmament measures. This was the first time that the NAC had the support of eight NATO states, including Germany, Belgium, Norway, and the Netherlands, who had previously abstained on NAC resolutions. Criticism of the resolution stemmed from the lack of acknowledgement of the progress NWS had made on disarmament and that NNWS were not upholding their side of the bargain, mainly nonproliferation.

While the Russian-U.S. resolution on Bilateral Strategic Nuclear-Arms Reductions (adopted without a vote) called for General Assembly acknowledgement of the importance of the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty to nuclear disarmament, the NAC, while supporting the resolution, underscored that reductions cannot replace irreversible cuts and destruction of nuclear weapons in support of total elimination of nuclear weapons, under Article IV of the NPT.

The influence of the NAC was noted in the joint statement from the five nuclear-weapon states, in which these states also underlined their commitment to upholding their NPT obligations.

1999

On 12 Jan, the newly established NAC submitted a working paper to the U.N. General Assembly on “Nuclear-weapon-free world: need for a new agenda”. The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed the NAC resolution by a vote of 114 to 18, with 38 abstentions becoming A/RES/53/77 Y. Except for China, which abstained from voting, all of the nuclear powers, including Israel, India and Pakistan, voted against the resolution. The United States, Great Britain, and France opposed the NAC resolution because it threatened the policy of nuclear deterrence.

1998

In June, the NAC was officially launched in Dublin with a Joint Declaration by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and Slovenia, the latter two of which subsequently left the Coalition. The NAC challenged the nuclear powers by stressing, “We can no longer remain complacent at the reluctance of the nuclear-weapons states and the three nuclear-weapons-capable states to take that fundamental and requisite step, namely, a clear commitment to the speedy, final and total elimination of their nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and we urge them to take that step now.” They also argued that nuclear powers had ignored international norms and that the nuclear powers had not fulfilled the obligations stipulated in the NPT.

About

In June 1998, the foreign ministers of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, and Sweden issued a statement calling for a new nuclear disarmament agenda. (Slovenia and Sweden later withdrew from the NAC.) The NAC called for the five nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-capable states to make an unequivocal commitment to nuclear disarmament and to begin multilateral negotiations that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons through a Nuclear Weapons Convention.