Signs of Responsible Statecraft Are Missing in Most Signatories of the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty

On 7 July 2017, a United Nations conference charged with negotiating a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons voted in Geneva to ban nuclear weapons worldwide. At the conference, 122 countries voted in favor of accepting the treaty. Not a single country currently possessing nuclear weapons voted to support the Ban Treaty.

As of today, 89 countries have signed or acceded to the treaty (with 57 ratifications and three accessions, for a total of 60 parties). 37 countries did not sign the treaty despite their initial support.

The Institute for Science and International Security has now, in a study, found a general lack of responsible state actions among the 89 countries that have signed or acceded to the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, TPNW) to date, compared to those countries that have abstained from signing it. This finding flows from data compiled in the Peddling Peril Index (PPI) for 2021/2022. The PPI is a measure of both the effectiveness of national strategic trade controls and adherence to widely accepted and long-standing international treaties and conventions, making it a useful indicator for responsible state actions overall in addition to its traditional role in ranking 200 countries’ and entities’ strategic trade controls.

The correlation with the PPI identified a concerning lack of demonstrated commitment and implementation of international arms control, trade control, and financial practices among the current 89 signatory and accession countries of the Ban Treaty. The Ban Treaty appears to be signed mostly by countries with little commitment to existing international norms, treaties and conventions, or to implementing strategic trade and financial controls, all fundamental international tools to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and slow the growth of nuclear arsenals.

The data show most of these countries lack adequate export control legislation to serve as a firm basis to control the trade in nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use commodities that are critical to the production and possession of nuclear weapons. If the Ban Treaty signatories truly seek a world without nuclear weapons, they should take the lead in ensuring that all countries, including their own, act responsibly, adhere to international law and long-standing non-proliferation norms and treaties, and have effective, implemented strategic trade control systems, capable of preventing the spread of dangerous and critical commodities and facilities involved in the production, maintenance, and improvement of nuclear weapons.

Source: ISIS Website