The 9th NPT Review Conference (RevCon) was held at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York from the 27th April to the 22nd May 2015.

As expected, the 2015 RevCon revealed persistent factors of division. Many States, chiefly from the Non-Aligned Movement, criticized the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament (Article VI). Besides, the Conference on a weapon-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East, which was initially scheduled to be held in 2012, eventually did not take place in spite of the efforts of the facilitator, Finnish Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, since 2011.

The conferences in Oslo, in Nayarit, and in Vienna on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, a new approach to disarmament advocated by some, constituted an additional factor of tension between the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) and the non-Nuclear-Weapon States (nNWS). Finally, the situation in the Korean peninsula, in the Middle East, and in the East of Europe had deteriorated since the last RevCon in 2010.

On the other hand, certain encouraging factors could have been discerned before the opening of the RevCon. Certain NWS had adopted numerous transparency measures regarding their nuclear programmes, an essential step in building confidence with the NNWS. In addition, the progress on the Iranian nuclear issue was undoubtedly the most significant piece of good news of the past few years. These developments could have been greeted enthusiastically, even if vigilance remains the watchword. While the negotiations on a comprehensive final agreement are still ongoing, this relative détente with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue could have had positive repercussions on the discussions that took place in New York. It had not.

Benjamin Hautecouverture
EU Non-Proliferation Consortium / Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS)

May / June 2015, Issue No. 18

The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium education project should become a pan-European initiative.

Based on the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, the EU educational initiative aims at building capacity in the next generation of scholars and practitioners in non-proliferation issues.
Giorgio Franceschini is a Research Associate at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). Before joining PRIF, he worked as a Researcher in the Department of Theoretical Physics at Berlin University of Technology, and as a Consultant in the Telecommunications Industry. At PRIF he just concluded a research project in cooperation with Darmstadt University of Technology on emerging nuclear technologies and their proliferation potential. Currently he coordinates PRIF’s activities within the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium.
What is the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium Internships initiative?

The Internship Programme is part of a larger EU educational initiative aimed at building capacity in the next generation of scholars and practitioners in non-proliferation policy and programming. Together with an eLearning product, which is currently under development, its overall goals - according to the COUNCIL DECISION 2014/129/CFSP of 10 March 2014 - are:

  • to enhance the in-depth knowledge of EU non-proliferation and disarmament policies across the EU and in third countries;
  • to build networks of young practitioners and academics at the regional levels where the EU has a strong interest in non-proliferation;
  • to renew and expand the expertise on WMD and SALW issues within the EU and in Partner Countries;
  • to provide the EU institutions, member states and the EU non-proliferation network with fresh ideas and analysis on non-proliferation.

The initiative draws on the recommendations contained in the 2002 UN Secretary General’s Report on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Education (A57/124), which have been upheld by the EU and its Member States in several international fora ever since 2002, not least in the current NPT Review cycle.

How is this new programme done in practice?

There is a substantial expertise in non-proliferation and disarmament affairs of both conventional and non-conventional weapons within our European think tank network. We are calling on all members of our network to help us in the implementation of the EU’s educational goals, i.e. to host an EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internship and to identify promising interns, who would be willing to complete a three-month internship on any non-proliferation or disarmament topic (WMD, SALW, Arms Exports, Space/Missiles) with due regard of the EU policies in this field.

Our goal is to provide 48 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internships within the next two years and to involve as many European think tanks and as many EU Member States possible. This should become a pan-European initiative! We have funds for both the host institutes and – to a smaller extent – also for those interns who do not have external funding.

Think tanks and research institutes interested in this programme should consult our Website (www.nonproliferation.eu) and contact me for further details.

Are there other education and training projects within the Consortium?

Yes, the internship programme is the “on-site” part of the EU educational initiative. Another element of this initiative is the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament eLearning Programme, which is currently under development. The eLearning course will be another pan-European project and will consist of 15 learning units covering the whole spectrum of non-proliferation and disarmament challenges to the EU. The development of the eLearning course will be carried out by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium with a strong participation of the network of European think tanks and with a strong involvement of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC). From the second half of 2016 onwards the full course shall be available from our website to all interested parties with no access restrictions. We are confident that the eLearning course will turn out to be a useful resource for our whole community.

The old generation of arms control scholars and practitioners is increasingly complaining about the lack of adequately trained successors. With the EU Internship and eLearning Programme we hope to keep up the attention of the next generation to the challenges of WMD and SALW proliferation and the imperatives of working for disarmament in all fields of conventional and non-conventional weapons [More on page 4].

Interview conducted by Benjamin Hautecouverture