Today marked the first day of the 2018 NPT PrepCom. Representatives from the Holy See, Thailand, New Zealand, Austria, and Costa Rica, amongst others reaffirmed the importance of the Ban Treaty. They underscored how the Ban Treaty strengthens the NPT, in particularly Article VI. Notably, Ambassador Dell Higgie of New Zealand explained that "Last year, as part of our support for a rules-based international order and consistent with our long-standing commitment to nuclear disarmament, New Zealand lent its support to efforts to put in place a further international agreement in this field - the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in order to supplement efforts within the NPT community to give reality to the obligation regarding nuclear disarmament under Article Vl of the NPT. Such new obligations do not - and cannot as a matter of international law - in any way displace the full span of obligations we already owe to all States Parties under the NPT. New Zealand will continue, as we have for nigh-on 50 years, to fully abide by these (at the same time as we maintain our legitimate expectation that all other Parties will meet theirs, including with respect to Article Vl)." Clearly, it is an exciting time in which states should embrace the ban treaty, a powerful instrument that fulfills the promise set forth in the Article VI.
Sadly, the U.S. continued to argue that "ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament can only feasibly be addressed as a real-world policy problem in the context of the overall security environment. Unfortunately, deteriorating security conditions have made near-term prospects for progress on disarmament bleak." How long must we wait? When we will have a security environment that is conducive to engage in discussions on nuclear disarmament. We cannot wait for some time in the unforeseen future. States must sign and ratify the Ban Treaty!
If we were to wait longer for the NWS to feel comfortable about disarming its weapons, we will be here forever. Even worse, trillions of dollars will be spent on modernizing nuclear weapons. Already, as specified by the Holy See, "the arms race, the modernization and development of nuclear arsenals, infrastructure and delivery systems, deny the poor and disadvantaged of the resources needed to reduce poverty and to foster integral human development. Imagine if all the resources that have been squandered and that are being poured into the modernization and maintenance of nuclear weapons could be invested in addressing poverty, inequality, injustice, education, health and environmental degradation!"
As I reflect about the first day of negotiations, I realize that we must take action! We need to encourage states to embrace the ban treaty and move forward instead of simply waiting for the correct environment for the NWS to disarm their weapons.
That's all for now!
Looking forward to day 2 of the NPT PrepCom!