From Nuclear Threats to Human Security

January 6th, 2022 - by No First Use Global

An online event with policy-makers,
civil society experts, former diplomats and youth

No First Use Global

 (January 3, 2022) — The NPT Review Conference has been postponed until August — but States parties to the NPT could still take action to prevent nuclear war and advance nuclear disarmament. The 191 States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which includes five nuclear weapon States (China, France, Russia, UK and USA), have committed to reducing nuclear risks and achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. However, the nuclear weapon States continue to build their nuclear arsenals and threaten nuclear war.

ACTION: Join Our Online Event.
Time: January 7, 1:15pm — 2:45pm Eastern Time USA / 7:15pm — 8:45pm CET

This event focuses on concrete measures that States Parties to the NPT could and should take to prevent nuclear war and to implement their nuclear disarmament commitments.

It will include the release of a Working Paper to the NPT on No-First-Use and an update on the Open Letter to States Parties to the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security.

Chair: Marc Finaud (France/Switzerland)
Head of Arms Proliferation at Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Former diplomat in the French Foreign Ministry and France Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament. Vice-President of Initiatives pour le Désarmement Nucléaire


Ambassador Thomas Graham (United States)
Chair of the Global Security Institute Nonpartisan Security Group.
Head of the United States Delegation to the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference

Vanda Proskova (Czech Republic)
Vice-Chair of PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security.
Co-convenor of Youth Fusion.
Graduate student of International Relations and International Law at University of Kent in Brussels. 

Ambassador Carlo Trezza (Italy)
Former Italian Ambassador for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Former Chairman of the Conference on Disarmament, of the Missile Technology Control Regime and of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board for Disarmament Matters

Uta Zapf (Germany)
Council Member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Former Chair of the German Parliament Sub-committee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation. Former Head of the German Parliament delegations to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Dear Nuclear Powers:
Don’t Even THINK about Starting a Nuclear War!

The Open Letter Fulfil the NPT: From Nuclear Threat to Human Wecurity, calls on the States Parties of the NPT, and in particular the nuclear-weapon States, to:
End the nuclear arms race;
Phase out the role of nuclear weapons in security policies starting with no-first-use policies;
Commit to a timeframe for the elimination of nuclear weapons;
Shift budgets and public investments from the nuclear weapons industry to instead support public health, climate stabilization and sustainable development.

We encourage you to read the blog article Dear nuclear powers: Don’t even THINK about starting a nuclear war! which explores the current polices of the nuclear armed States, why they are so risky and what should be done.
And please endorse the Open Letter if you have not already done so. Click here to see the list of over 600 political, military and religious leaders as well as academics and civil society representatives who have already endorsed.

ACTION: To Endorse the Open Letter, Click Here.


Dear Representatives of China, France, Russia,
the UK the USA and other States Parties to the NPT:

Nuclear weapons threaten current and future generations. The security they may have provided in the 20th Century has no place in the world of today and tomorrow, which is struggling to address the COVID pandemic, stabilise the climate, resolve national and international conflicts in peaceful ways, protect cyberspace, and advance human security and the sustainable development goals. 

It is time to start phasing out the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and develop a practical plan to achieve the peace and security of a nuclear-weapon-free world. 

At the Tenth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT-X) in January 2022, we call on you to:

  1. Start the process to permanently end arms racing and phase out the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines by supporting the adoption of no-first-use policies and cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons no later than the 11th NPT Review Conference in 2025;
  2. Commit to a timeframe of no later than 2045 to fulfil the Article VI obligation to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons;
  3. Agree to adopt a concrete plan to implement this commitment, including through the systematic and progressive reduction of nuclear arsenals, at the Conference on Disarmament or the 11th NPT Review Conference;
  4. Agree to shift budgets and public investments from the nuclear weapons industry to instead support public health, climate stabilization and sustainable development.

The NPT was adopted in 1970 for a fixed timeframe of 25 years, after which it was expected that it would be replaced by a more comprehensive nuclear disarmament regime. This did not happen. 

In 1995 the NPT was extended on the basis of three near-term (incremental) commitments — to achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by 1996, to negotiate a fissile materials treaty and to establish additional nuclear-weapon-free zones especially in the Middle East — and a more comprehensive commitment by the nuclear armed States to reduce nuclear weapons in a process leading to their total elimination. Of these, only the CTBT has been negotiated, and it has yet to enter-into-force. 

There can be no excuse for not achieving the three incremental commitments in the near future, and the more comprehensive commitment — the global elimination of nuclear weapons — within the next 25 years, if not sooner.

A key measure to reduce the risk of a nuclear war and to start phasing out the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines while maintaining strategic stability, is to commit to never initiate nuclear warfare by adopting no-first-use (or sole purpose) policies and related operational controls. 

Options to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, and preparations to enable such a first-use, escalate tensions and risks, stimulate counter measures such as launch-on-warning, justify nuclear modernisation programs and prevent negotiations on nuclear disarmament. First-use options are literally playing with fire in very combustible situations, and have nearly led to a nuclear war being initiated by mistake or miscalculation. 

Unilateral no-first-use declarations, bilateral no-first-use agreements and/or a multilateral no-first-use agreement can reduce these risks. We commend China and India for already adopting unilateral no-first-use policies and we commend China and Russia for adopting a bilateral no-first-use agreement. These can be followed by nuclear force restructuring and operational controls to implement no-first-use policies, and to build credibility and confidence in the policies to further reduce nuclear risks. 

And most importantly, the adoption of no-first-use or sole purpose policies could open the door to the nuclear-armed states and their allies joining negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. If nuclear weapons are required to deter against a range of threats — not only nuclear weapons — then countries relying on nuclear deterrence will most likely not agree to eliminate the weapons while these other threats still exist. 

However, if the only purpose of a country’s nuclear weapons is to deter against the nuclear weapons of others, then the country can agree to join a verified nuclear disarmament process as long as all other nuclear-armed countries participate. For this reason, the States Parties to the NPT also need to engage with the states which are not parties (India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan) in the nuclear disarmament process. 

We thank the governments of China, France, Russia, the UK, USA and other States Parties to the NPT for considering this letter, and we look forward to supporting and engaging with you as you adopt these policies and as we jointly establish the peace and security of a nuclear-weapon-free world. 

On January 3, 2022, the five nuclear weapon States parties to the NPT (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) released a joint statement affirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Meanwhile they continue to build their nuclear arsenals and threaten the use of nuclear weapons — including the possible first use in a conflict. Join us on January 7 where we discuss what they should do to turn rhetoric into meaningful action.

NoFirstUse Global is a network of organizations, academics, policy makers and civil society advocates working cooperatively for the adoption of no-first-use policies by nuclear-armed States, the support for such policies from nuclear allied countries, and the implementation of such policies to help achieve broader nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament measures.