Research project

Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

Phase IV: ‘Effective Measures’ and the Humanitarian Discourse on Nuclear Disarmament

Both the 2015 five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the humanitarian impacts conferences widened international interest in renewed efforts toward ‘effective measures’ on nuclear disarmament—and what these might be. Notions range from a comprehensive approach that would culminate in the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons to interim measures such as a prohibition on nuclear weapons.

In conjunction with an external partner, the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), the project is undertaking a critical analysis of new ideas for effective measures that have recently been prominent in the policy discourse with a view to assessing their objective strengths and weaknesses. It is expected to result in a joint publication early in 2016.

In 2016, the project also intends to carry out further work exploring the causes of nuclear risk and other activities.

Researchers: John Borrie, Tim Caughley

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities. In addition, funding for the project’s work came from Norway, Ireland and Austria (2015).

 

Phase III: The Humanitarian Initiative, and the NPT

From September 2014 to June 2015, the HINW project’s research focused on extending facts-based analysis and understanding within the disarmament community about the humanitarian risks and consequences of nuclear weapons in the current international landscape. In collaboration with ILPI, eleven thematic briefing papers were produced—six for the December 2014 international conference on humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons held in Vienna, Austria, and five for the April-May 2015 five-yearly review meeting of the NPT. The two Institutes also produced current analysis of ‘effective measures’ on nuclear disarmament on a dedicated joint-blog (effectivemeasures.org).

Researchers: John Borrie, Tim Caughley

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities. In addition, dedicated project funding was received from Norway, Ireland and Austria (for 2015).

 

Phase II: Study on Challenges to United Nations Emergency Preparedness, Humanitarian Coordination, and Response to Nuclear Weapons Detonations

In July 2014, the project produced a study entitled An Illusion of Safety: Challenges of Nuclear Weapon Detonations for United Nations Humanitarian Coordination and Response. Research for this study, which commenced in August 2013, was undertaken in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Project staff also produced several project-related published articles.

Researchers: John Borrie, Tim Caughley
Assistant Researcher: Madeleine Barbru

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities. In addition, dedicated project funding was received from Norway and Ireland.

 

Phase I: Discourse around humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons

In its first phase of work from January to the end of July 2013, the project focused on examining contemporary developments in the discourse around nuclear weapons. Amongst its outputs, the project produced a series of three analytical papers and a volume of diverse perspectives that complement and extend aspects of discussions at an international conference held in Oslo, Norway from 4 to 5 March 2013 on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons.