A. Ware "Protecting Future Generations through Anti-Nuclear Legislation and Removing Nuclear Weapons Funding"

On July 7, the United Nations adopted a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, with 122 countries in favour. The Treaty aims to prevent and prohibit the use of nuclear weapons, the consequences of which ‘cannot be adequately addressed, transcend national borders, pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and for the health of current and future generations.’

The treaty requires States parties to adopt national measures (legislation, administrative measures etc…) to implement their obligations under the treaty, and in particular ‘to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.’

The nuclear-armed and allied States opposed the treaty, and are unlikely to join. As such, the provisions in the treaty do not apply to them. However, States parties to the Treaty could adopt national implementation measures which impact on the policies and practices of the nuclear-armed States, i.e. if they decide to prohibit transit of nuclear weapons through their territories (including territorial waters and airspace) and investments in corporations which manufacture nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (nuclear weapons divestment).

The treaty does not specifically prohibit nuclear weapons transit or investments, as some of the countries in the negotiations believed that this would be too difficult to implement. However, the treaty does make it prohibited for any State party to ‘Assist, encourage, or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty,’ which can be interpreted as prohibiting transit and investments. And the experience of New Zealand, which has already prohibited transit of nuclear weapons and investments of public funds in nuclear weapons corporations, demonstrates that this is feasible.

If even 1/3rd of the States Parties to the ban treaty adopt such national implementation measures, it would have a huge impact on the policies and practices of the nuclear armed States.