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Education and Research on Global Disarmament Policy

Presentation of Research on Norm Promotion Provisions to Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Negotiations


Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute presented research on norm promotion and dissemination provisions in disarmament treaties to the UN negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty. Below is the written version of the statement delivered by Dr. Matthew Bolton. For more details on the research, see the Institute’s Working Paper.

Thank you Madame President,

This Convention aims to stigmatize nuclear weapons. However, normative change does not happen by itself; it requires action by states, international organizations, civil society, faith leaders and academia.

Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute has conducted research on provisions in relevant humanitarian and disarmament instruments regarding the universalization and promotion of norms they establish. Our detailed research can be found in Working Paper, number 36, submitted to the conference.

The current draft of Article 13 on universalization establishes important obligations to encourage other states to join the treaty. However, we encourage the conference to consider including provisions found in other instruments that provide additional avenues for diffusing norms.

First, states may wish to consider provisions promoting respect for the norms among States Not Party. A model might include an obligation, drawn from the Convention on Cluster Munitions, to promote the Convention’s norms and notify States Not Party of treaty obligations, discouraging violations of its Prohibitions. An alternative model might be Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, in which states must “respect and ensure respect” for the prohibitions.

Second, the conference should consider inclusion of obligations to promote and disseminate the norms to states’ citizens and military personnel. Precedent for this exists in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Article 6), UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (Para. 41), UN Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (Paras. 9 & 16a) and NPT 2010 Review Conference Outcome Document (Action 22). This could draw on language suggested by Ireland and Holy See in the preamble calling on states to support activities of disarmament education, awareness raising and fostering a culture of peace.

Third, to ensure that these universalization and norm promotion activities are given support, states may wish to consider including references to universalization and norm promotion in the preamble and Articles regarding international cooperation and assistance, meetings of states parties and transparency and reporting.

Thank you!

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