TPNW – Anniversary, progress and more to be done

Celebrating one year

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force on 22 January 2021, with the period since then seeing further progress in a number of respects. (see

Plans are in hand for campaigners to mark this anniversary. We have produced the poster below for Friends to print off and use if they want to mark the occasion in some way, from sharing photos online, to

witness and public vigils. Download the poster from this link.

Other events around this anniversary are listed below.

In March, the first meeting of the states that have ratified the TPNW is due to take place in Vienna, andthe UN’s designated President for the conference is encouraging non governmental organisations and parliamentarians to attend to attend as civil society delegates.

TPNW and the NPT

The TPNW in its preamble refers to Article 6 of the earlier nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT):

Reaffirming that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control,

Reaffirming also that the full and effective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, ] which serves as the cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, has a vital role to play in promoting international peace and security”

A review conference of the NPT was due to be taking place this month, having already been postponed due to the pandemic. It has been postponed again. In anticipation of the conference the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who also happen to be the declared nuclear weapons states, issued a statement in early January. In the statement they say (repeating words first expressed by Reagan and Gorbachev) “We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”, and also quote the commitments in article 6 referred to above. The gap (contradiction, even) between the sentiments expressed and the reality of these states’ continued commitment to possessing and developing nuclear weapons may be troubling, as many have pointed out, but is also being interpreted as indicating that these states are embarassed by the growth of support for prohibition.

More to be done

Promoting positive steps to achieving nuclear disarmament will continue to be important, building on the progress that has been made whilst speaking plainly about the UK’s own pro-nuclear policy and commitments.

As a way of raising interest in and awareness of the TPNW, and building moral and political support, and local action some Friends have been amongst those encouraging civic bodies – cities and towns – to make resolutions in support, as part of the ICAN Cities Appeal. We hope to arrange a workshop for Friends and others to learn about this and different approaches that have been taken.

Divestment from nuclear arms manufacture is another effective tool in changing perceptions of what is acceptable, and ICAN’s Dont Bank On The Bomb reports give useful information to allow Friends to start some useful conversations and also to write to (for Instance) their pension providers

In the meantime, contacting your political representative to sign the ICAN parliamentary pledge of support, and asking them to consider attending the Vienna meeting*, is another simple way of marking this month’s anniversary, perhaps on this occasion referring to the P5 statement’s acknowledgement that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

* Further information on registering for Vienna by contacting ICAN who are the NGO appointed by the UN to co ordinate civil society attendance (ICAN in the UK can be reached at

Events around the first anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Thursday 20th January (late morning): Debate in Scottish Parliament on the TPNW on a motion submitted by Bill Kidd MSP following the postponement of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). (watch via )

Friday 21st January 3.00 – 4.30 p.m. : Launch of Acronym report “What Does the TPNW Mean for Britain?” at the Westminster CND All-Party Parliamentary Group. Speakers include Julian Borger, The Guardian world affairs editor; Kirsten Oswald MP, Chair of Parliamentary CND; and Ambassador Aidan Liddle, UK Disarmament Ambassador.

Saturday 22nd January: Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the TPNW with events across the world.

Monday 24th January (5.30 pm and link to be confirmed): “What does the TPNW mean for Scotland?” a Q and A Webinar with Dr Rebecca Johnson (Founding Co-Chair of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

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