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Meeting of the Security Council Supporting the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ahead of the 2020 Review Conference

Intervention by the President-designate of the Review Conference of the Treaty of Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen

February 26


Thank you, Mr. President.

We are few days away from the 50th Anniversary of the NPT and almost two months to the 2020 Review Conference.

So it is timely and important for the Security Council to discuss and reaffirm its commitment to the international disarmament and nonproliferation system built on the basis of the NPT, as well as the international cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology for development that it enables. The Treaty and its Review Conference represent an almost universal forum to discuss issues that are central to international peace and security, and that lends the NPT a unique level of legitimacy that is recognized by the international community.

Also, it is clear that issues regarding disarmament and arms control have been a part of the United Nations since its inception. For example, Article 26 of the UN Charter gives the Security Council a responsibility on disarmament and “arms regulation”.

The NPT has for almost 50 years proven to be crucial for maintaining international security and providing access to peaceful nuclear applications. It is incumbent on all State Parties to continue to work together and ensure that the international cooperation provided for by the Treaty continues into the future.

As we near the time where the international community will get together to review the implementation of the Treaty and to discuss all related issues and I hope to agree on an outcome document that provides for a way forward, we will be taking into account not just the immediate context, with its limitations and opportunities, but also the medium-term and the future we hope for peaceful cooperation. 

This Review Conference arrives at a time of growing concerns and uncertainties. National and regional expectations grow. Tensions, old and new, converge on the NPT as a magnet.

Nevertheless, when we look at the past 50 years, we can hardly say we are living in the best or the worst of times, and we can clearly see that the Treaty has successfully overcome many times of tension and times of change in the past.

It may be true that much of the quantifiable progress under the Treaty have been achieved in the past. But we sometimes underplay its fundamental, unique achievement in establishing an efficient non-proliferation system and underpinning a growing technical and scientific cooperation for the benefit of all humankind. Those achievements are now taken for granted, yet 50 or even 25 years ago they seemed unattainable dreams. This is something we need to consider as we undertake our responsibility in the coming Review Conference to sustain what we have achieved and to move forward with our eyes set on the coming 50 years.

In this challenging context we need to be ambitious and aim for progress in every possible area.

For that end, it is of great importance to consider the three pillars of the NPT in a balanced manner, so that we can reach our shared goal of a comprehensive and forward looking outcome. I believe that the three pillars are, in themselves, equally important and mutually reinforcing. 

We know we need to level up our consideration of the peaceful uses. This is a set of issues that is fundamentally relevant to the development of our societies, and has been relegated in the debate for too long.

Mr. President,

I believe the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty calls upon all of us to recommit to its full implementation and to strengthen it with a forward-looking perspective. The Review Conference is a Conference of the Parties, and thus its outcome will depend on the resolve and commitment shown by all Parties when the time comes for compromises and agreements.

As the President-designate of the Review Conference, I will encourage all Parties to come to the Conference with ambition and resolved to engage in an open and frank exchange on the implementation of the Treaty, and to strengthen our joint commitment to its legally binding provisions that are the indispensable basis for all international cooperation and progress in the field of peaceful uses, in nuclear science, technology and applications in all State parties.

Also, I believe that the next Review Conference needs to widen its reach and open up to all voices and ideas. The NPT cannot be a closed club, and we need to make sure that the next generation of leaders and practitioners are included in the conversation; that the voices of women and a gender perspective are considered and included in our conclusions; and that operators, regulators, practitioners, academics and scientists are also part of the discussions.

It is important to use the political momentum of the 50th anniversary to get over false dichotomies. There is no reason we cannot make progress in all and every issue where progress is possible.

The Review Conference is an opportunity for all of us not only to review the implementation of the NPT, but to recommit to its objectives by strengthening its contribution to peace, security and development in all our countries. I will endeavor to provide the leadership needed to make sure that the discussions among the parties reflect their commitment and bring about a successful and shared outcome for the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty.



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