The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime is a broad international framework of agreements and organizations aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and contributing to progress on arms control and disarmament. The regime reflects an international effort to promote stability and reduce the likelihood of nuclear weapons use.
In recent years, even as the risks of nuclear weapons use, proliferation, and terrorism have continued to rise, the international community has become increasingly divided over the role of nuclear deterrence, the vision of nuclear disarmament and the commitment of states to arms reduction, and the steps required to prevent nuclear weapons use.
This polarization increasingly challenges the stability of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime and its role as a central and credible forum for dialogue and progress on preventing proliferation, fostering the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and advancing nuclear disarmament.
The 2020 NPT Review Conference (RevCon) will mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark regime’s entry into force—an important milestone that presents an opportunity for countries to sustain, reaffirm, and demonstrate the vital contribution of the NPT to reducing global dangers and advancing the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, countries may not be able to find common ground and bridge divisions, potentially further endangering progress on disarmament and reducing nuclear risks.
For these reasons, NTI in 2018 launched the Global Enterprise to Strengthen Nonproliferation and Disarmament (GE)—a multi-year Track 1.5 initiative designed to facilitate a sustained, integrated, and creative dialogue to advance shared interests in support of the NPT’s goals. The GE has two principal objectives:
- Strengthen the NPT regime and contribute to a successful 2020 RevCon by developing practical steps, new initiatives, and tangible commitments that demonstrate the ability of NPT parties to work together to advance the treaty goals; and
- Rebuild a shared vision in support of a world free of nuclear weapons, and identify and implement the elements necessary to achieve it.
GE participants include officials from a diverse group of governments and a small number of non-government experts who reflect a broad range of views and backgrounds. Plenary meetings of the GE are convened twice a year, and informal meetings are held regularly on the margins of international conferences. These meetings provide an opportunity for participants to better understand different perspectives and priorities, identify areas of agreement, and work collaboratively to find creative solutions to difficult problems.
Since the launch of the GE, participants have identified core issues that require further analysis and development, and NTI has commissioned discussion papers to support the project. These papers serve to enhance understanding of the current state of play and various perspectives on the issues and identify practical ideas and proposals to further develop within the GE in advance of the 2020 NPT RevCon.
Looking beyond 2020, GE participants also will identify longer-term issues to be explored with the goal of rebuilding a common vision for strengthening the NPT and making concrete progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons.