Regrettably, the 10th Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded without agreement on a final document after the Russian Federation blocked a consensus outcome. This result is a disappointment for the international community, as people everywhere benefit from a strong and healthy NPT—the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation and disarmament regime. It is another indication of the dangerous moment we face—where the risk of use of nuclear weapons is as high as at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Heightened tensions among nuclear weapon states pose an increased risk of miscalculation and escalation to nuclear war, with catastrophic humanitarian consequences.
A consensus outcome is not the only measure of progress at the RevCon. The draft final document reflected significant areas of agreement among nearly all states parties who recognize the importance of strengthening the NPT, undertaking nuclear risk reduction measures, committing to disarmament, implementing the New START Treaty and pursuing further U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions, and the importance of nuclear materials security. I am hopeful that the RevCon will give impetus to states to implement the commitments they made individually and collectively. The NPT remains the essential foundation for global efforts moving forward. In the 52 years since it came into force, the Treaty has served as the basis for significant progress in safeguarding nuclear materials and preventing widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons, in sharing the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, in facilitating dramatic reductions in global nuclear arsenals, and in strengthening the nuclear taboo.
The inability of states parties to reach consensus at this RevCon does not change the crucial importance of the NPT. Rather, it should motivate all states to redouble efforts to sustain and strengthen the NPT across all three pillars—disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—and reinvigorate progress toward full implementation of the Treaty’s obligations and commitments. NTI will continue to vigorously promote this agenda globally.