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ISSUE BRIEF: Coalitions to Watch at the 2015 NPT Review Conference

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Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova

Director, International Organizations in Nonproliferation Program, The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

William Potter

Founding Director, The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

What role do coalitions play in nuclear politics? Which coalitions will be the biggest impact players at the upcoming 2015 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference?

A new issue brief by CNS' Bill Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova tackles these questions and more: "Coalitions and groupings of states perform various roles in the NPT review process," they write. "Some groupings are regional in nature, others are characterized by a common language or political perspective, and still others are defined by the weapons they possess or their commitment to their elimination."

Potter and Mukhatzhanova profile three of the most active coalitions in nuclear politics: the Vienna Group of 10, the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) and the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). "As the oldest grouping in the survey…The Vienna Group's focus has remained steady, and it is likely to influence the deliberations on safeguards, export controls, and peaceful use topics at the 2015 NPT Review Conference," they write.

"Most of the NAC states are very active in the Humanitarian Initiative. The renewed sense of urgency the Humanitarian Impact conferences…combined with the stalemate in the UN disarmament machinery, has led to a shift in the positions of some NAC members away from an incremental approach to disarmament," write Potter and Mukhatzhanova. "Although it played a much less significant role at the 2005 and 2010 RevCons, it appears re-energized and poised to be very influential in 2015…NAC's attempt to initiate a substantive discussion on disarmament options in a formal setting can help build common ground in May."

The NPDI, on the other hand, is new to NPT politics this review cycle. "At the 2015 NPT Rev Con, NPDI will likely attempt to leverage strong working relationships with the United States to promote enhanced transparency on nuclear arsenals and further nuclear weapons reductions by all nuclear weapon states," they write. "The group can be expected to push back against the idea of a legally binding nuclear disarmament instrument and defend the effectiveness of a more gradual approach."

Read the issue brief.

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