Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament.

Under the treaty, of which 189 states are party:

  1. non-nuclear weapon states are obliged not to seek nuclear weapons
  2. nuclear weapon states have an “unequivocal undertaking” to disarm
  3. access to nuclear energy for peaceful uses is permitted to non-nuclear weapon states

Serious challenges facing the NPT:

  • North Korea’s intention to withdraw from the NPT
  • India, Israel and Pakistan’s refusal to sign and ratify the treaty
  • ad hoc arrangements outside the treaty that undermine the multilateral process

NPT Reporting

The indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1995 was agreed in the context of a collective commitment by member states to strengthen the Treaty’s review process.In 2000, states committed themselves to producing regular reports.

But, since the NPT has no permanent secretariat, there is in effect no central entity to request and receive the reports and no process for compiling and analyzing them.

Project Ploughshares has filled this void with regular analysis and reporting on the state of NPT reporting.

The intitial Ploughshares report, Working Paper 03-2, reviewed states parties reporting to the first and second Preparatory Committee Meetings for the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

A second report, NPT Reporting Trends: An Analysis of Reporting over Three Preparatory Committees, was issued in May 2005 to include the third PrepCom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference and a Summer 2005 Ploughshares Monitor article provided information on the reports submitted to the 2005 NPT Review Conference itself.

In 2008, a more extensive analysis was carried out with support from the International Security Research and Outreach Program (ISROP) of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The resulting paper, Transparency and Accountability: NPT Reporting 2002-2007, received wide distribution, including to governments and NGOs at the 2008 NPT PrepCom.

In preparation for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, this paper was updated and now appears as Transparency and Accountability: NPT Reporting 2002-2009.

Read reports from countries that have submitted to one or more of the NPT PrepComs or RevCons since 2000.

States Parties NPT Reports

No specific timeframe is mandated for the submission of “regular” NPT reports but the call for reports “within the framework of the strengthened review process for the NPT” suggests that states are expected to report to each PrepCom and RevCon, the central features of the strengthened review process.

The reporting requirement applies to all states parties, as all signatories share in the responsibility to implement the Treaty.

The reporting requirement is framed by the objectives of three internationally agreed nuclear disarmament decisions:

  • “cessation of the nuclear arms race” (Article VI of the NPT);
  • “reduction of nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons” (Paragraph 4[c] of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”); and
  • the “obligation to achieve a precise result—nuclear disarmament in all its aspects” (the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996).

Beyond these references, there is no further definition or elaboration of the reporting requirement.

Some states parties and NGOs have called for a standard reporting format to allow comparability of information among states and over time, while others, including the nuclear weapons states, are opposed to any enforced or even agreed structure.

Listed below are the countries that have submitted reports of varying formats to one or more of the NPT PrepComs or RevCons since 2000. Clicking on the country name will produce a listing of its reports:

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