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Vital Signs Volume 31 Issue 2 2020

TPNW ratification push continues, with 14 to go

Ban treaty ratifications show steady progress despite social distancing

05/21/2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives worldwide and disrupted plans for nearly all organizations and governments. While the need for united effort to combat global threats has never been more obvious, getting governments to focus on the threat posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear war has become more challenging. Nevertheless, in the last few months, two new countries—Belize and Nauru—have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and three countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Namibia, and Paraguay—have ratified the nuclear ban treaty.

This brings the total ratifications up to 36, with only 14 more remaining before the TPNW enters into force, triggering the first meeting of states parties for a new, official international nuclear weapons treaty.

Namibia’s ratification on 20 March was the first since social distancing orders were put in place at the UN headquarters in New York. This event was celebrated virtually by Namibian diplomats, the UN Office of Legal Affairs, and our own ICAN representatives (see photo). With this precedent now set, campaigners are improvising continued contact with their governments, some of whom have been quite close to either signing or ratifying this year. ICAN and IPPNW are encouraging government leaders to follow Namibia’s example of pressing ahead with their TPNW signature and/or ratification plans.  

Despite these inevitable delays, we still expect entry into force soon—we hope before next year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which was itself postponed until April 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.


TPNW Ratification Update

As of mid April, 81 states had signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; 36 states had submitted their ratification instruments. The Treaty will enter into force once 50 states have ratified it.

Algeria,  Angola,  Antigua  and  Barbuda, Austria, Bangladesh,  Belize,  Benin,  Bolivia,  Botswana,  Brazil,  Brunei, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo Republic, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, DRC (Congo), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana,  Grenada,  Guatemala,  Guinea-Bissau,  Guyana,  Holy  See,  Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Laos, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia   


ONLINE: www.icanw.org/status-of-the-treaty-on-the-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons/



Learn about Nuclear Weapons

Learn About Nuclear Weapons is a web-based educational material from the Swedish Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons for those who want to learn more about nuclear weapons: