On 27 October 2016, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution L.41 (Doc. A/C.1/71/L.41) which decided to convene in 2017 a “United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. All UN Member States are encouraged to participate in the conference, which shall convene in New York, and will include the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives.
The Resolution also decided that the conference to be held in 2017 shall submit a report on its progress to the UN General Assembly at its seventy-second session (2017), “which will assess the progress made in the negotiations and decide the way forward”.
Resolution L.41 was adopted upon recommendation of the Open-ended Working Group taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, established by the General Assembly by its resolution 70/33, which had met in Geneva during 2016 and had formulated the proposal.
The adoption of this Resolution, passed with a vote of 123 States in favour, 38 against and 16 abstentions, is clearly a significant step forward, which will probably give new momentum to efforts to bring about a general ban on nuclear weapons, with their complete elimination as the ultimate step.
Professor Daniel Joyner, leading expert in arms control and nuclear nonproliferation issues and member of the PIL Advisory Group, has commented on this Resolution and the way forward on Arms Control Law.
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