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Future steps – for governments

Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 March 2024 I WP3260


Momentum and commitment must be maintained. Without money and political support behind IND, civil society will be forced to pivot into other areas and the concept will get pushed aside at international fora. Civil society identified a number of items that are needed from governments to continue IND work, including clarity on roles, purpose, desired outcomes and stakeholders.

Unified standards, clear processes and transparency are essential for achieving concrete results, with an emphasis on translating theoretical discussions into practical procedures without over-complicating the approach. To work towards the path of IND, NWSs can already start small, short-term, concrete actions. Some steps were already identified, such as removing nuclear material from defence programmes to place under safeguards and including more facilities in IAEA Voluntary Offer Agreements.

Preparations for the 2024 and 2025 NPT PrepComs and 2026 NPT RevCon should entail a multi-pronged approach aimed at advancing discussions on IND.

  • Side events featuring expert panels could provide opportunities for State Parties previously uninvolved in IND deliberations to engage meaningfully.
  • A joint statement should be developed with an inclusive process, reiterating previous commitments and fostering dialogue to refine language surrounding IND.
  • National statements should echo this sentiment, reflecting individual States’ perspectives on irreversibility.
  • A working paper must be drafted which highlights progress made, emphasises the purpose and importance of IND discussions, and tailors concerns to all States, particularly NNWSs.
  • Technical papers from NGOs and academia can offer additional insights and be submitted as separate working papers.
  • Where possible, IND should be injected into the negotiation process for the Outcome Document and include areas where irreversibility can be achieved within specific steps in the NPT Action Plan.
  • The community should revisit recent NPT PrepCom/RevCon notes and documents to find where IND could improve engagement in the room, and take those lessons forward.
  • Bring IND into other international fora, including the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and First Committee. IND could also be included in work happening on other topics related to Article 6 (e.g. Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament (CEND)). This topic could also be brought to other conferences to test it on a wider audience, including Wilton Park’s annual conference on the nuclear review cycle. Consider establishing a Group of Scientific and Technical Experts (GSTE) in this area.
  • Maintain dialogue for consensus, not polarisation. This topic has created a diplomatic space for free discussion, which should be maintained and protected. Move forward with things the community does agree on; in areas where the community does not agree, set them aside for later discussion.


Further areas of research – for NGOs and academia


The path forward – for everyone

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