UN House Scotland is dedicated to SDG 16: Peace and Security. A vital element to achieving SDG 16 is the elimination of nuclear weapons across the world and the ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. To promote a nuclear weapons-free world, UN House Scotland participates in closed and open seminars and lectures, and hosts open events aimed at collaborating with all levels of society to raise awareness, encourage dialogue, and organize advocacy efforts.
About the UN Treaty
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed by the UN on the 7th of July 2017. This has developed over time through the dissatisfaction with the results that the original Non-proliferation Treaty has had on international peace and security. Secretary General, António Guterres showed this frustration at the launch of the UN’s new Disarmament agenda in May 2018 where he stated that the TPNW is a confirmation of the “enormous frustration and enormous will of a large -and growing – number of countries that say, ‘That’s enough!’ This clearly displays the opinion that the 1968 NPT has lead to a stagnant period of little progression to our earth being free of nuclear weapons.
ICAN Executive Director Speaks at UNHS 2016 Conference.
As this treaty explicitly bans nuclear weapons and is legally binding to the states that sign it (once it comes into force) it is viewed to be an accelerated, and therefore more affective Treaty than the NPT or the CTBT. The Treaty prohibits countries from developing, testing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, possessing and using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
This Treaty also upholds SDG 16 which is the Sustainable Development Goal which promotes Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. This is as the UN believes that nuclear weapons are a threat to achieving a stable global society because they gravely affect the environment and humanity.
While there are currently 123 signatories and 50 states have ratified it, most recently Honduras in October 2020, there are still many powerful countries that oppose it. These are mostly nuclear-states, their allies, and states under umbrella nuclear organisations such as NATO. For example, the US is against this treaty and so are the UK and France. This has created a division between nuclear and non-nuclear states with quite a large power imbalance. Some suggest that if one nuclear state signs, this could generate a domino affect with others also signing.
On the 24th of October 2020, Honduras signed the treaty making it the 50th and final state to bring the treaty to force. On the 22nd of January 2021, nuclear weapons will be prohibited.
UN House Scotland has previously partnered with organisations such as the ACRONYM Institute, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Winning organisation International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
We are always looking for new partners to help us in achieving SDG 16 through the prohibition of nuclear weapons. If you are a organisation working within nuclear prohibition and would like to collaborate, please contact us. If you are a student looking to get involved with our nuclear prohibition efforts, visit our internship page.