The 2010 NPT Review Conference: An Assessment of Outcome and Outlook

Ambassador (Ret'd) Paul Meyer
Simons Papers in Security and Development No. 11/2011 | July 2011

Abstract:  The May 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was the first such conference in a decade to conclude with a substantive Final Document, containing a 64 point Action Plan. How significant was the agreement reached by consensus at the Conference, and what does it portend for the health of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime? This paper assesses the outcome across the three ‘pillars’ of the NPT—nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—as well as the major regional and institutional issues addressed at the conference. It concludes that the result of the 2010 Review Conference is best described as a status quo outcome and little was achieved in resolving the underlying tensions that threaten the NPT's authority.

About the author:  Paul Meyer is Adjunct Professor of International Studies, Fellow in International Security at the Centre for Dialogue and Senior Fellow at The Simons Foundation. Meyer is a former Canadian diplomat who retired from the Foreign Service in September 2010 after a 35 year career. In 2003–2007 he served as Ambassador of Canada for Disarmament and in that capacity led Canadian delegations to several NPT-related meetings. His research interests include nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, outer space security, conflict prevention and cyber security.

About the publisher: The School for International Studies (SIS) fosters innovative interdisciplinary research and teaching programs concerned with a range of global issues, but with a particular emphasis on international development, and on global governance and security. The School aims to link theory, practice and engagement with other societies and cultures, while offering students a challenging and multi-faceted learning experience. SIS is located within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Copyright for this issue: Paul Meyer