The status of the TPNW
At five years after it opened for signature, the TPNW has 68 states parties while 26 further states have signed but not yet ratified. This means that a total of 94 states (or 47.7% of all states) have accepted binding obligations in international law under the TPNW. Only 5 more signatures or accessions are needed to pass 50%.
Of the 103 states that are not yet states parties or signatories to the TPNW, 44 states are identified by the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor as ‘other supporters’ on the basis of their most recent voting record on the Treaty in the UN. Grouped together as ‘TPNW supporters’, the states parties, signatories, and other supporters total 138 states, or 70% of all states. The criteria for the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor’s categorisation of states by their position on the TPNW are explained in the table below.
States that have signed and ratified or have acceded to the TPNW.
States that have signed the TPNW but not yet ratified it.
States that are not in category 1 or 2 but whose most recent vote in the UN on the TPNW (the adoption of the Treaty on 7 July 2017 or on the subsequent annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW) was 'yes'.
All states that are not in category 1 or 2 and whose most recent vote in the UN on the TPNW (the adoption of the Treaty on 7 July 2017 or on the subsequent annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW) was an abstention, or which never participated in such a vote.
All states that are not in category 1 or 2 and whose most recent vote in the UN on the TPNW (the adoption of the Treaty on 7 July 2017 or on the subsequent annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW) was 'no'
Several of the states in the ‘other supporters’ category have already started the domestic process to sign or accede to the TPNW. These include the Bahamas, Eritrea, Eswatini, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Most of the states in this category were among the 122 states that adopted the TPNW in July 2017. While they have not yet signed or adhered to the Treaty, they have continued to vote in favour of the annual UN General Assembly resolution on the TPNW. The resolution calls upon all states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, or accede to the Treaty ‘at the earliest possible date’. Seven other supporters (Bahamas, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Mauritania, Senegal, and Turkmenistan) also joined a large group of TPNW states parties and signatories as co-sponsors of the 2021 General Assembly resolution.
The ‘other supporters’ category now also includes a total of eleven states — Andorra, Barbados, Cameroon, Eswatini, Guinea, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — which either did not participate in the negotiation of the TPNW or did not vote when it was adopted in 2017, but which have subsequently expressed their support for the Treaty by voting in favour of the annual UN General Assembly resolution. Somalia and South Sudan were new additions to the list of ‘other supporters’ in 2021, after having voted (and voted yes) for the first time on the annual resolution in the UN General Assembly.
A total of 17 states (or some 9% of the global total) were undecided on the TPNW in 2021. This is a mixed group of states, spread across all five continents. Some of the undecided states appear to be choosing to stay neutral on the TPNW for the time being, while others, for various reasons, including internal challenges, are not currently considering whether or not to join the Treaty. Other states in this category are in protracted processes to arrive at a final national position on the TPNW. Djibouti and Saudi Arabia, which in previous years were on the list of other supporters, changed their vote in 2021 from yes to abstention on the annual UN General Assembly resolution on the TPNW, and have consequently been moved to the undecided category.
Of the 17 states in this group, 15 already have nuclear- weapon-free security policies. The remaining two undecided states—Armenia and Belarus—are the only states with arrangements of extended nuclear deterrence with Russia. Both states abstained on the UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Although Belarus meets the criteria set by the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor for inclusion in the undecided category, the statements of its president in 2021 and 2022 clearly demonstrate support for nuclear weapons. Also Saudi Arabia's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation has been open to question in rcent years.
As in previous years, the same 42 states (equating to 21% of the global total) were opposed to the TPNW in 2021: the 9 nuclear-armed states; all of the 30 states with arrangements of extended nuclear deterrence with the United States; and 3 states with nuclear-weapon-free security policies (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Micronesia, and Monaco). Political debate about adherence to the TPNW was, however, ongoing in 2021 in several of the opposed states. Polling showed high levels of public support for the TPNW in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. There are now also signs that some of these states may wish to engage with the intention and substance of the Treaty in a more constructive way. Most notably, new governments were formed in Norway and Germany in 2021 after coalition parties agreed on governing platforms that committed these states to attend the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW as observers, despite strong pressure from the United States and from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg not to do so. Also in Japan, there was vibrant discussion on the Treaty in 2021. In Australia, the opposition Labor Party in 2021 reaffirmed the formal commitment it made in 2018 to ‘sign and ratify the Ban Treaty’ when in government, after taking into account the need to ensure complementarity with the NPT and an effective verification and enforcement architecture.
The states bringing the TPNW into force
The TPNW entered into force and became international law on 22 January 2021, 90 days after it reached the requisite 50 ratifications/accessions. Honduras became the 50th state to bring the TPNW into force, when it deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General on the 75th anniversary of the organization’s establishment: 24 October 2020.
In alphabetical order, the following states were the first 50 states ratifying or acceding to the TPNW, thereby triggering the Treaty’s entry into force:
Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Fiji, Gambia, Guyana, Holy See, Honduras, Ireland, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, South Africa, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.
What did the adopting states do?
• Of the 122 states that voted yes on the adoption of the TPNW at the end of the negotiations in the UN on 7 July 2017, 62.3% (76 states) had by the end of 2021 proceeded to become either a state party or a signatory to the TPNW and thus accepted legally binding obligations under the Treaty.
• Of the remaining 37.7%, all but five (see below) have continued to vote yes on the annual UN General Assembly resolution on the TPNW and are therefore listed by the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor as other supporters.
• Five states (Argentina, Marshall Islands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Tonga) have abstained on all or the latest of the UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW and are therefore listed as undecided.
• None of the states that adopted the TPNW in 2017 has ever voted against the annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW.
• By the end of 2021, a total of 12 states that did not take part in the adoption of the TPNW in 2017 had also joined the Treaty as states parties or signed it: Central African Republic, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominica, Libya, Maldives, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, Tuvalu, and Zambia.
Speed of ratification and accession
The chart below shows the speed of ratification and accession of the TPNW relative to other treaties on weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It took 3 years and 4 months (40 months) from the date of opening for signature of the TPNW (20 September 2017) to its entry into force on 22 January 2021, 90 days after it had reached the required 50 ratifications/accessions. The TPNW’s speed of ratification and accession was for a long time the same on average as for the other WMD treaties, despite obstructionism from nuclear-armed states. During the course of 2021, however, the TPNW’s rate of adherence fell behind that of all the other treaties. As of September 2022, we see that the TPNW has picked up pace again.
Speed of signature
No new signatures to the TPNW were obtained in 2021, whilst 5 states have signed in 2022. As shown by the chart below, the level of signatures to the TPNW is low compared to those of all of the other WMD treaties. The first few months after opening for signature is where most of the variation occurs, however. After that, all five treaties follow a similar pattern. Note also that the NPT’s signature curve is the second lowest of the treaties. The patterns of signature and ratifications/accession for the NPT serve as a timely reminder that it took several years also for that Treaty to accrue authority and become regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
Note that the CWC does not allow signature after its entry into force. The BWC and the NPT allow signature also after entry into force, but there have been no new signatures to those treaties since they entered into force, only accessions. The TPNW too allows signature at any time. The CTBT has not entered into force but thereafter signature will no longer be possible.
Regional distribution of support
Breaking down all states’ positions on the TPNW by region, the chart below (which was last updated on 30 June 2022) shows that support for the TPNW is high in all regions of the world apart from Europe. Regional maps with the support status of all states follow below.
Regional maps with distribution of support
Gaps in adherence across all WMD treaties
The TPNW is but one component in the treaty architecture for disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Universal adherence to all of the main multilateral treaties in this architecture — the BWC, CWC, CTBT, NPT, and TPNW — must be the objective, meaning that all 197 states reviewed by the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor should be states parties to each and every one of them. The chart below therefore highlights the gaps in adherence as of 31 December 2021, across all the treaties. Where a state is an outlier (i.e. state not party) to any of these five treaties, this is noted in its respective state profile on this website, along with a recommendation for urgent adherence.
As of end 2021, there were still 138 states not yet party to the TPNW, the youngest treaty in this architecture, although, as mentioned above, 30 of them were signatories. The BWC had 14 outliers (Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt (signatory), Eritrea, Haiti (signatory),Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, Somalia (signatory), South Sudan, Syria (signatory), and Tuvalu). The CWC had only four outliers (Egypt, Israel (signatory), North Korea, and South Sudan). The CTBT (which has not yet entered into force) 27 outliers (Bhutan, China (signatory), Dominica, Egypt (signatory), Equatorial Guinea(signatory), Gambia (signatory), India, Iran (signatory), Israel (signatory), Mauritius, Nepal (signatory), North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea (signatory), Sao Tome and Principe (signatory), Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands (signatory), Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka(signatory), Syria, Timor-Leste (signatory), Tonga, Tuvalu (signatory, but it ratified in January2022), United States (signatory), and Yemen (signatory)). The NPT had five outliers (Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and South Sudan).
Two states (Israel and South Sudan) are outliers on all of the five treaties; two states (Egypt andNorth Korea) are outliers on four; and four states (India, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria) are outliers on three.
In 2021, the CTBT gained two new states parties: Comoros and Cuba. Comoros ratified the CTBT on the same day it ratified the TPNW, highlighting the complementary nature of the treaties. Cuba signed and ratified the CTBT on 4 February 2021, after having become a state party to the TPNW in 2018. The latest development in adherence for the BWC was in 2019, when it was ratified by the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania). For the CWC, the latest development was Palestine’s accession in 2018. Palestine was also the most recent country to adhere to the NPT, in 2015.
Note that the Cook Islands and Niue have not adhered to the NPT in their own right, but New Zealand’s ratification of the NPT included territorial application to both states, which remain bound by its provisions.