The NPT Review Process: Time to Try Something New

April 12, 2016
Robert Einhorn

The current review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
(NPT) is unsatisfactory. It produces high drama and intense diplomatic activity, but rarely
contributes to the strengthening of the NPT regime. All NPT parties are frustrated with it. It
is time to consider a better way.

At What Cost Consensus?

From the very first Review Conference (Revcon) in 1975, and at every Revcon since,
delegates have sought to produce a consensus final document that comprehensively
assessed the past record of implementation and recommended means of strengthening the
treaty and the broader nonproliferation regime for the future.

From the outset, Revcons were contentious affairs. While the parties strongly supported
the treaty’s three central goals—promoting nuclear disarmament, preventing nuclear
proliferation, and facilitating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy—they differed on
priorities and the means of advancing those goals. At most Revcons, consensus was
possible on many, even most, of the issues, but sharp differences often surfaced on
other issues.

As a result, a comprehensive, consensus final document did not …

Read the full Issue Brief in PDF format

Comments Are Closed