Picture: ©Valerie Pinard – The outcome of the tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) was disappointing, especially considering the more successful first meeting that took place in June 2022, the writer says.
By Jo-Ansie van Wyk and Isabel Bosman
The outcome of the tenth NPT RevCon (the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) was disappointing, especially considering the more successful first meeting that took place in June 2022. Russia stands out as the outlier in terms of the outcome of this RevCon. For the most part, African states supported the substantial aspects of the final document, watered down as it was.
NPT member states, individually or collectively, typically submit working papers or present statements to the RevCon to convey their position on certain aspects of the treaty, policy directives, and suggested action points. In this regard, African states could have played a stronger role and elevated their presence at the RevCon. They need to back up their normative collective commitment to the NPT by also submitting working papers and statements. Only a handful delivered statements. Just three submitted national reports on the action plan of the 2010 RevCon. Algeria was the only state to submit an individual working paper and in fact submitted three.
Clearly, the continent opted for a more multilateral approach to express its views: most states supported positions presented in collective working papers as part of the New Agenda Coalition, the Non-aligned Movement, and Zangger Committee. Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania were among the states submitting joint working papers on nuclear disarmament. Ethiopia supported the Stockholm Initiative’s working paper on a nuclear risk reduction package.
Niger joined several European states to produce a working paper on a framework for the peaceful use of nuclear co-operation. Nigeria’s involvement entailed submitting two working papers jointly with its fellow members of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative. Namibia joined a group of states submitting a working paper on gender mainstreaming in the NPT. Cape Verde and Morocco were part of a group of sixty-seven states delivering a statement on gender during the general debate. Egypt was one of four states submitting a joint working paper on nuclear technologies for heritage science.
Participation by individual African states in the proceedings of the three main committees was also low. Only four African states addressed plenary meetings. This, then, creates the imperative and an opportunity for the African Group to strengthen its collective voice on multilateral nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Van Wyk is a Foreign Policy expert working on the Atoms for Development project. Bosman is a researcher in SAIIA’s African Governance and Diplomacy programme.
This write-up forms part of a longer compilation of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.