Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was negotiated at the United Nations in New York in March, June, and July 2017, with the participation of more than 135 countries, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and members of civil society. On 7 July 2017, 122 states voted in favour of the Treaty’s adoption. It opened for signature on 20 September 2017 and after receiving 50 ratifications, the TPNW entered into force on 22 January 2021. 

The TPNW outlaws the development, testing, production, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, stationing, deployment, use, threat of use, transfer, or receipt of nuclear weapons, and prohibits the assistance, encouragement, or inducement of any outlawed activity. The Treaty also includes provisions for victim assistance and environmental remediation. It is the first treaty to recognise the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on Indigenous people and on women. 

Prior to the Treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban, despite their catastrophic, widespread, and persistent humanitarian and environmental consequences. The new agreement fills a significant gap in international law.

The First Meeting of States Parties took place from 21 to 23 June 2022 in Vienna, under the presidency of Austria, during which states parties adopted a Declaration and an Action Plan for implementation.

The Second Meeting of States Parties is scheduled to take place from 27 November to 1 December 2023 in New York, under the presidency of Mexico.

Further resources

Collection of articles, books, and reports related to the TPNW
Compiled by Dr. Nick Ritchie of the University of York

Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy
A first-hand account of the process to achieve the TPNW, written by Ray Acheson