The UN Open-Ended Working Group taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations (OEWG) concluded last Friday 13 May with a clear majority of states supporting a ban on nuclear weapons as the next step.

WILPF’s disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will participated in the May session of the OEWG and published a daily report, which you can read here.

Janet Fenton from the Scottish section of WILPF delivered this statement during week one of the OEWG, and Ray Acheson, Disarmament Programme Director of WILPF, delivered this statement during the second week.

More than 80 states participated in the meeting and the discussions were clearly dominated by talk of a nuclear weapons ban. The nine nuclear-armed states chose not to participate.

The road ahead

During the two-week meeting, a working paper co-sponsored by ten states – Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, and Zambia – proposed to convene a negotiating conference in 2017 for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States submitted a working paper calling for states to begin negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Five Pacific Island states – Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, and Tuvalu – submitted a working paper setting out possible elements to be included in a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

States that rely on nuclear weapons in their national security postures repeated their support for the so-called “progressive approach” and emphasised the need to include the nuclear-armed states in negotiations.

More statements and documents from the May session can be found on the RCW website.