100 Seconds to Midnight: What Could be Done to Bolster Nuclear Disarmament Globally?

This policy briefing assesses the current state of global nuclear disarmament against the background of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ adjusting its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight on 23 January 2020, as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic. It does so by focusing on three main aspects of global nuclear disarmament: urgency, action and mechanisms, and highlighting existing challenges in this regard. These include the vast size of nuclear arsenals in spite of efforts to reduce them, nuclear states’ remaining outside the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the lack of diplomatic trust between players. In terms of positive developments, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Ban Treaty) entered into force on 22 January 2021. The next phase of disarmament diplomacy needs to include multilateralism, global civil society and nuclear norm ‘antipreneurs’, who remain outside the Ban Treaty.