Experts

  • Position : Research fellow
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Affiliation : Chairman, International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry
  • Position : Project Director, Project on Asian Security; Project Director, Emerging Technologies and Global Security Project
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : Consultant
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : Consultant
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Affiliation : Senior Researcher, North America Research Center, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)
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The Role of the Humanitarian Initiative in the NPT Review Process

24.05.2016

MOSCOW, MAY 24, 2016. PIR PRESS — “The humanitarian rhetoric has led to polarization in the NPT review process. A group of states with more radical approach regarding the nuclear disarmament is ready to delegitimize the possession of nuclear weapons through additional legal instruments. They have separated from a  wider group of states, which support increased pace of disarmament but are not ready for such drastic actions” — Alena Makhukova, PIR Center's Research Fellow.

On May 13, 2016, the second session of the Open-ended Working Group, convened as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, concluded in Geneva. At this session, Austria on behalf of 126 states presented a working paper “The “Legal Gap”: Recommendations to the Open-ended Working Group on taking forward nuclear disarmament negotiations”, which promoted nuclear disarmament under the imperative of human security and encouraged the urgent pursuance of  additional legal instruments to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

On May 17, 2016, PIR Center held a Midweek Brainstorming Session on “The role of the Humanitarian initiative in the NPT review process”. PIR Center's research fellow Alena Makhukova gave a keynote speech. Experts of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Institute for Contemporary International Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the PIR Center, the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI and the Trialogue Club International participated in the seminar. 

In her statement, Alena Makhukova discussed the coalitions operating in the NPT review process, and compared them with the Humanitarian Initiative — the group of more than 100 states that appeared in the 2010-2015 review cycle and promoted the increased pace of nuclear disarmament in the light of “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. In her study, the researcher concludes that the Humanitarian Initiative and the group of states that supported the Humanitarian Pledge do not act as the coalitions in the NPT review process.

“The Humanitarian Initiative is not a coalition, as there is no coordination in the group of more than 100 countries that supported humanitarian agenda. The structure of the group is more like the structure of the Non-Aligned Movement that emerged and exists mainly beyond the NPT review process. The Humanitarian Initiative as well developed mainly beyond the review process — at the humanitarian conferences organized by Norway, Mexico and Austria and now acts through the UN agencies and the Open-ended Working Group on multilateral disarmament” — Alena Makhukova points out. More information on the Open-ended Working Group on multilateral disarmament is available in the blog entry at the PIR Center website (in Russian).

When referring to the role of the Humanitarian Initiative in the NPT review process, the researcher concludes that a large group of countries that over the past years supported the statements on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, split because of the promotion of a more hardline call to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. “The humanitarian rhetoric has led to polarization in the NPT review process. A group of states with more radical approach regarding the nuclear disarmament is ready to delegitimize the possession of nuclear weapons through additional legal instruments. They have separated from a  wider group of states, which support increased pace of disarmament but are not ready for such drastic actions” — Alena Makhukova says. Stigmatization of positions of the nuclear-weapon states on the one hand, led to their reluctance and inability to start the dialogue with the countries willing to ban nuclear weapons, and on the other hand, resulted in impossibility of the bridge building, the expert concluded.

An article based on the research paper presented will be published in the Security Index Journal. 

For all questions concerning the PIR Center “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” Program, please contact Program Director Andrey Baklitskiy via phone at +7 (495) 987 19 15 or via email at baklitsky at pircenter.org.

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