On 20-21 November, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs hosted a thematic seminar on pillar III (the peaceful uses of nuclear energy) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Representatives of all States Parties were invited to take part in this thematic seminar, which took place at the United Nations Office at Vienna. The NPT is widely considered to rest on three pillars – disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
At the seminar, delegates discussed the power and non-power applications of nuclear energy, IAEA technical cooperation, nuclear safety and nuclear security, as well as the peaceful uses of nuclear energy at the 2020 NPT Review Conference. The discussions were informed by presentations from a range of experts representing organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organization and the World Nuclear Association. Representatives of national bodies and structures involved in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy also added their perspectives.
The thematic seminar was chaired by His Excellency Rafael Mariano Grossi (Argentina), who served as President-designate of the 2020 NPT Review Conference before taking office as Director-General of the IAEA on 3 December 2019. In his remarks, he emphasized the important role that pillar III could play as “common ground” at the Review Conference. Her Excellency Marjolijn van Deelen (Netherlands), who will chair Main Committee III – which deals with the peaceful uses of nuclear energy – at the Review Conference, was also present.
This thematic seminar is part of a project made possible by a project generously funded by the European Union in line with its Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/615 of 15 April 2019 on Union support for activities leading up to the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT. Other thematic seminars will cover the remaining two pillars of the NPT – disarmament and non-proliferation. In addition, a series of regional meetings are foreseen, the first two of which (for Africa and Asia-Pacific) already took place.
The 2020 Review Conference, which will be held in New York from 27 April to 22 May 2020, will mark the 50th anniversary of the NPT’s entry-into-force and the 25th anniversary of its indefinite extension. Taking place every five years, review conferences serve to take stock of the implementation of the Treaty and to adopt recommendations for follow-on action.
Having entered into force in 1970, the NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.