The development of the international initiative on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and its effect on the nuclear weapons debate

This article describes the genesis of the humanitarian initiative and the political context in which it has developed in the course of the joint cross-regional statements and the three international conferences on this issue in Norway, Mexico and Austria. It examines the key substantive conclusions that have emerged as a result of this debate and assesses their relevance for the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. It concludes that these facts and findings warrant an urgent reassessment of the so-called security value of nuclear weapons and a nuclear deterrence-based notion of stability and security.

About the author

Alexander Kmentt

Ambassador Alexander Kmentt is the Director of the Department for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non- Proliferation at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. He has worked on disarmament issues since 2000, including in Geneva and with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization. In 2014, he was responsible for the organization of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. For his work organizing this conference, he was elected Arms Control Person of the Year 2014 in an online poll conducted by the Arms Control Association.