Backgrounder: Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)



The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is an ambitious international agreement aiming to completely eliminate all nuclear weapons in the world. Signed in July 2017 under a UN framework, it will come into force in January 2021, 90 days after the recent deposition of the 50th instrument of ratification. This has been celebrated by supporters as a great step toward total nuclear disarmament, to the point of declaring that “nuclear weapons are banned.” But a closer look at the countries which have – and most importantly which have not – ratified the TPNW reveals that, for the time being, the treaty’s real impact will be very limited, if not completely absent.

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