2015 Annecy Workshop: Looking for Common Ground Ahead of the NPT RevCon

Andrew Brown
March 23, 2015

2015 Annecy Workshop

2015 Annecy Workshop

On March 13-14, 2015, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) hosted a two-day diplomatic workshop in Annecy, France on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

About the 2015 Annecy Workshop

The diplomatic workshop, held six weeks prior to the 2015 NPT Review Conference (RevCon), was attended by a number of prominent participants including keynote speakers Angela Kane, the UN Secretary General’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Dr. Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Despite broad agreement among diplomats in attendance on the need to strengthen the NPT as the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, significant differences remain regarding the path forward, signaling that the success of the forthcoming NPT RevCon is far from guaranteed. Key sources of tension include: disappointment about the pace of progress on nuclear disarmament, frustration over the failure to convene a conference on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East (MEWMDFZ), and disagreement over the future direction of the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons (HINW) movement. Against this backdrop, Annecy workshop participants discussed how to build upon the 2010 NPT Action Plan and considered concrete proposals that might contribute to a successful 2015 NPT RevCon.

Keynote Address: Angela Kane

In her keynote address, High Representative Angela Kane focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime in a time of increasing geopolitical complexity. Ms. Kane counted increased tension between Russia and the United States, reaffirmation of reliance on nuclear deterrence in national security strategies, and allegations of noncompliance with arms control agreements among the challenges facing the nonproliferation and disarmament regime. Despite these challenges, Ms. Kane highlighted the entry-into-force of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the momentum of the HINW movement as examples of new and innovative approaches to disarmament and nonproliferation. The High Representative urged States Parties to use the 2015 RevCon to establish a common vision for what the nonproliferation and disarmament regime should look like in 2020 – the fiftieth anniversary of the NPT’s entry-into-force. The following afternoon, Dr. Lassina Zerbo described the enormous value provided by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organizations’ verification regime and urged diplomats to redouble their efforts to seek the CTBT’s entry-into-force as a tool to prevent proliferation and promote disarmament.

Ambassador Feroukhi Consults

The workshop also provided a unique opportunity for the RevCon President-designate, Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, to consult with high-ranking members of key delegations, senior staff from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and representatives from non-governmental organizations focused on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. At the conclusion of the workshop, Ambassador Feroukhi described her aspirations for a successful RevCon and sketched out her plan for achieving such an outcome.

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