Tag: Africa

The road to Pelindaba

An overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Africa

By ILPI
29 July 2016

This article provides an overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Africa. It explores the process that led to the establishment of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone, and discusses the terms of its founding document, the Pelindaba Treaty. It also discusses the role of African states in recent and on-going disarmament processes such as the review cycle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Humanitarian Initiative. The article concludes with a discussion of the future of African states’ engagement in the movement towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Regional roundtable meeting in Pretoria

On 17-18 February the WMD project of the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) held its 11th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons outside Pretoria, South Africa.

By Torbjørn Graff Hugo

The meeting was organized in collaboration with the South African-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The purpose of the roundtable was to bring together key government stakeholders from the African continent to discuss both substantive and process-related aspects of an international nuclear disarmament, with a particular focus on a planned Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in Geneva. A key issue to be explored was the role of Africa and African states in this field.

Disarmament or development?

Linkages between international development frameworks and nuclear weapons

By Melissa Sabatier

Development and disarmament are inextricably linked. In this background paper, Melissa Sabatier discusses the effect of a nuclear detonation on international development efforts, and the way in which international development frameworks incorporate ideas about disarmament. The article ends with a discussion of how disarmament could be fitted into the post-2015 development agenda.

ILPI roundtable discussion in Lusaka, May 2014

On 26–27 May 2014, ILPI’s Nuclear Weapons Project organized its 6th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons in Lusaka, Zambia. The meeting was organized in collaboration with Zambian Health Workers for Social Responsibility (the Zambian branch of IPPNW) and closely coordinated with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss issues related to Africa’s role in the humanitarian initiative, and the prospects for a ban on nuclear weapons.

ILPI roundtable discussion in Nairobi, December 2013

On 10-11 December, 2013, ILPI’s Nuclear Weapons Project organized its 5th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Africa Peace Forum (APFO) and closely coordinated with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The aim of the roundtable meeting was to bring together key individuals from Southern and Eastern Africa, including government officials, academics and civil society actors, in order to share thoughts and ideas on how these states can contribute to the strengthening of the humanitarian discourse on nuclear weapons and the negotiation of a comprehensive ban.

ILPI roundtable discussion in Lagos, November 2013

On 13-14 November, 2013, ILPI’s Nuclear Weapons Project (NWP) organized its 4th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons, in Lagos, Nigeria, in collaboration with ICAN, as well as three Nigerian NGOs (Churches in Action for Peace and Development – CAPAD, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – WILPF, and International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). The aim of the roundtable meeting was to bring together key individuals from West Africa, including government officials, academics and civil society actors, in order to share thoughts and ideas on how West African states can contribute to strengthening the humanitarian discourse on nuclear weapons and towards the negotiation of comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons.

Africa

click map to enlarge

Africa became a nuclear-weapon-free zone in July 2009 when the Treaty of Pelindaba entered into force. The Treaty was the result of a protracted process dating back to the early 1960s when a nuclear-weaponfree zone was proposed as a response to French nuclear tests in the Sahara. There are currently no African states with nuclear weapons. South Africa did have a nuclear weapons programme and developed nuclear weapons, but the programme was dismantled in the early 1990s. South Africa is a unique case, being the only known country in the world to have voluntarily ended its nuclear programme after developing nuclear weapons. Several other African states are believed to have launched nuclear weapons programmes, but these were presumably ended before any nuclear weapons were produced.

Notwithstanding the African nuclear-weapon-free zone Treaty, Africa as a regional block has not, to date, been a significant actor in the international discourse addressing the elimination of nuclear weapons. Still, Africa could potentially play an important role in this debate, partly due to its demographic weight of 1 billion people and its voting block of 54 states in international bodies and partly due to its status as a region that has already banned nuclear weapons. Hence, if African states engage on an issue, they could play a significant role, as has been demonstrated through the processes of negotiating the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


EVENTS

ILPI roundtable discussion in Nairobi, December 2013
On 10-11 December, 2013, ILPI’s Nuclear Weapons Project organized its 5th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Africa Peace Forum (APFO) and closely coordinated with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). 

ILPI roundtable discussion in Lagos, November 2013
On 13-14 November, 2013, ILPI’s Nuclear Weapons Project (NWP) organized its 4th regional roundtable meeting on nuclear weapons, in Lagos, Nigeria, in collaboration with ICAN, as well as three Nigerian NGOs (Churches in Action for Peace and Development – CAPAD, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – WILPF, and International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA).

ILPI roundtable discussion in Addis Ababa, June 2012
From 5 – 6 June 2012, International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) convened a roundtable discussion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in order to discuss the potential role of African States and civil society in the efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons, building on their experiences in other campaigns and multilateral processes. 


PUBLICATIONS

An introduction to the issue of nuclear weapons in Africa
This article provides an overview of the issue of nuclear weapons and Africa, with particular emphasis on the process that led to the establishment of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone. The role of African states in international disarmament processes is discussed. So are relevant bodies and groupings with a bearing on disarmament policies that African states participate in. A selection of African states’ experiences and positions with regards to nuclear weapons are also explored. The article ends with an outline of possible future prospects of African states’ engagement for a world free of nuclear weapons.


LEGAL DOCUMENTS 

Treaty of Pelindaba
The African Nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty or the treaty of Pelindaba was opened for signature on 11 April 1996. The treaty came into force on 15 July 2009 and has been ratified by 30 of 51 signatory states. Treaty of Pelindaba (treaty …