In addition to its comprehensive prohibitions, the TPNW obligates its states parties to take a number of positive measures to implement the Treaty. Pairing prohibitions with positive obligations ensures that the TPNW represents a broad-based response to the ‘catastrophic humanitarian consequences’ of the use and testing of nuclear weapons.
Positive obligations are key elements of humanitarian disarmament treaties, which seek to prevent and remediate the human suffering and environmental harm inflicted by weapons. The positive obligations in the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) have significantly enhanced their humanitarian impact. While much work remains to be done, the obligations have led to a dramatic reduction in the stockpiles of banned weapons, clearance of wide swaths of land, vital support for victims, and an increase in international assistance from states parties as well as states not party.
The positive obligations of the TPNW will similarly advance its goals. Safeguarding provisions seek to prevent future harm by working toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. Victim assistance, environmental remediation, and international cooperation and assistance obligations collectively address harm that has already occurred as a result of past use and testing. Reporting, national implementation measures, and promotion of universality facilitate realisation of the Treaty’s objectives by establishing mechanisms for its implementation and oversight and encouraging more states to adhere to it.
The sections in the menu set out clear interpretations of the positive obligations contained in the TPNW and discuss their significance and implementation measures. Assessment of compliance by states parties and signatories and of compatibility for states not party, will begin in 2021.