Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has arrived in Vienna, Austria, to lead a South African delegation to the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) from 21 to 23 June 2022.
The summit is likely to end with the adoption of a Political Declaration.
The TPNW was adopted on July 7, 2017 and will enter into force on January 22, 2021, following ratification by 50 states. It had been ratified by 62 countries and signed by 86 countries by June 17, 2022.
On February 25, 2019, South Africa approved the Treaty. South Africa, together with a Core Group of countries (Nigeria, Austria, Ireland, Brazil, and Mexico), was at the forefront of the TPNW discussions until it was adopted in 2017.
South Africa continues to play a key role in coordinating the Treaty’s implementation.
The TPNW is a defining moment in nuclear disarmament history, representing member states of the United Nations’ (UN) desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
TPNW’s goal is to further stigmatize and delegitimize nuclear weapons by emphasizing their negative and unjustifiable humanitarian repercussions. The Treaty emphasizes the humanitarian implications of the use of such weapons.
The total and unequivocal prohibition of nuclear weapons is one of the TPNW’s core principles and norms.
Thus, one of the TPNW’s most significant accomplishments has been to close the legal gap on nuclear weapons prohibition.
South Africa’s own experience has demonstrated that neither the possession nor pursuit of nuclear weapons can contribute to international peace and security.
The continued retention of nuclear weapons on the basis of some states’ claimed security objectives comes at the expense of the rest of mankind.
South Africa’s commitment to disarmament is based on the idea that world peace and security cannot be detached from development.