UN Scotland Intern on First Day at the NPT

The first day of the 2018 Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee was an exciting start to the two-week long event at the United Nations office in Geneva. I am the nuclear non-proliferation resident intern at UN House Scotland, a partner organisation in ICAN in Scotland. I am a fourth-year political science student at the University of California, Irvine, studying and interning abroad in Edinburgh. I am attending the NPT Prep Com with Janet Fenton and there is a packed week ahead.

The first day was introductory in many ways, such as literally getting lost in the minute of walking between the entrance at the Pregny Gate and the elusive Building A, which, to be fair, appeared to be under construction. It was an introductory day in another sense at the NPT itself. I was able to see how UN events like this are run. The first order of the day was to go over procedures and documents, a rather UN approach. We soon moved towards the first item,General Comments from member states’ diplomats. While the Chair exasperatedly notes that each delegation only had ten minutes to speak, most speeches went far beyond this time frame. It was interesting to glean information about the delegations’ cultures and approaches to the UN through their statements. The contents of their speeches were also an intriguing study; there did not appear to be any template so we heard everything from calls to action to state policies to derision over violations of weapons of mass destruction norms.

Some delegations had very standard and informative statements. They discussed their national (or organisational since there were statements from organisations such as the European Union as well) positions on the NPT and nuclear disarmament and also discussed their hopes and potential pathways towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Other delegations however used their statements as thinly-veiled quips at other states.

We were waiting for the new situation since last year’s efforts, and to our delight, several delegations referenced the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as the entry into force of the TPNW will contribute to the disarmament goals outlined in Article Vl of the NPT which calls for the eventual disarmament of nuclear armed states.

Overall, it was an informative first day at NPT 2018. I’m excited for the week ahead, in particular for the side events being held alongside the main assembly. Janet and I ended our first day with a long stroll along the lake. It was a wonderful finish to the beginning of what promises to be an incredibly engaging and learning week.

Samantha KU 23rd April 2018

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