The start of NPT PrepCom conference today in Geneva ensued with a sense of urgency as many NPT members vocalized the need to promote coherent and collaborative initiatives that will lead to disarmament. Furthermore, a common sentiment seemed apparent with regards to today's growing uncertain and complicated security climate and a general consensus that the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are unacceptable as the international community feels a strong need to maintain high pressure on the DPRK since its actions have been deemed to be completely incompatible with the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Apart from these face value commonalities and agreements that have been expressed on day 1, the conference has some significant hurdles to jump through as China, Russia, and the United States seem to be engaging in a modernization of their respective nuclear arsenals while simultaneously championing the IAEA and calling for the need for increased compliance with IAEA safeguards. Nations such as Costa Rica and the members of the non-align movement have voiced great concern with regards to the creation of “low-yield nuclear weapons” and modernization of present nuclear arsenals as they perceive these actions to the embodiment of a “qualitative” rather than quantitative nuclear arms race. With that being said, many non-nuclear states have begun to advocate for the implementation of multilateral agreements towards disarmament in an effort to reduce the arsenal of present-day nuclear powers. However, whether nuclear states will be receptive to such an agreement remains to be seen. The EU Special Envoy for Disarmament & Non-Proliferation has brought light to this dilemma by suggesting that the US and Russia continue their dialogue in order to promote further transparency and trustworthiness between the two parties. With day 1 now complete, it seems that the NPT conference is faced with more questions than answers, time will tell whether the conference members’ determination and resolve will yield tangible progress towards disarmament. For the time being, it appears that all members are putting their best foot forward.