NON PROLIFERATION AND DISARMAMENT INITIATIVE

In September 2010, Canada became a founding member of a cross-regional group called the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). The group’s objective is to foster greater cooperation between regions in promoting the implementation of the 64-item Action Plan that was agreed by States Parties of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the May 2010 NPT Review Conference. Other members of the NPDI include Australia, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The NPDI’s inaugural Ministerial meeting took place on September 22, 2010, in New York. The group released a joint statement which established the basis for future joint action. NPDI participants agreed to focus on strengthening nuclear non-proliferation in order to facilitate further progress on nuclear disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which constitute the three pillars of the NPT. The initial priorities of the group included seeking the commencement of negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), seeking entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and seeking the universalization of an Additional Protocol to states’ safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The NPDI also agreed to work to strengthen export controls, promote nuclear-weapon-free zones and encourage nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament through education.

The second NPDI Ministerial meeting took place in Berlin on April 30, 2011. The group issued a joint statement that focused on four proposals to follow up on the group’s priorities: to advance FMCT negotiations by elaborating the technical challenges that will need to be addressed; promote entry-into-force of the CTBT through targeted advocacy; promote greater transparency with regard to nuclear weapons stockpiles by developing a standard reporting form for use by the five NPT Nuclear Weapon States (P5) to fulfill their commitment to report on Action 5 of the 2010 NPT Action Plan at the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting and; promote the universalization of the Additional Protocol. Representatives of the NPDI met with representatives of the P5 in Geneva in June 2011 to share a draft standard reporting form with a view to informing discussions on transparency in advance of the P5’s meeting on follow-up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference that took place in Paris on June 30 and July 1, 2011.

The third NPDI Ministerial meeting took place in New York on September 21, 2011. The group issued a joint statement that took stock of the NPDI’s initiatives on its first anniversary. Among the actions expressed in the statement, the group declared its support for a Canadian resolution in the UN General Assembly on commencing FMCT negotiations. The resolution, which was adopted with the support of 158 countries in the UN General Assembly on December 2, 2011, urged the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to agree on and implement a Program of Work during its 2012 session that included the immediate start of FMCT negotiations. Should the CD fail to do so, it called on the UN General Assembly to consider options for starting FMCT negotiations at its 2012 session.

The NPDI participated visibly and actively during the 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting that took place in Vienna, Austria from April 30 to May 11, 2012. The group made a joint statement on its efforts to implement priority elements of the 2010 Action Plan and submitted four working papers on transparency, the FMCT, the Additional Protocol and disarmament education.

The fourth NPDI Ministerial meeting took place in Istanbul, Turkey on June 16, 2012, which concluded with the release of a joint Ministerial statement. NPDI Ministers agreed to seek views from the P5 on the NPDI’s draft standard reporting form, declared their preparedness to consider options for starting FMCT negotiations should the CD fail to act by the end of its 2012 session, agreed to develop a work plan to promote the widest possible adherence to key nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, and declared their support for convening a Conference on a Middle East WMD-Free Zone.