Nonproliferation and Disarmament (NPD)


US CSCAP and CSCAP Vietnam.

Introduction and significance of the study

Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are widely recognized to be a threat to international peace and security. Efforts to prevent and counter their proliferation, promote disarmament, as well as ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear technology are important mutually-reinforcing goals. They are the bedrock of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and have special significance in the Asia-Pacific region, which is the host of several nuclear-armed states, expanding nuclear power programs, growing quantities of fissile and radioactive materials, and an increasing number of biotech and chemical industries.

Building upon the existing body of work on the topic, including the work completed by the CSCAP WMD Study Group, the proposed CSCAP Nonproliferation and Disarmament (NPD) Study Group will work to advance nonproliferation and disarmament goals as well as ensuring the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. It will feed its results directly into the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting on Nonproliferation and Disarmament (ISM/NPD), which strongly welcomes CSCAP support, and seek to make progress toward implementation of the ARF NPD Work Plan while supporting individual national efforts.

Objectives of the study

The purpose of the CSCAP NPD Study Group will be to discuss specific capacity-building activities that need to be undertaken to facilitate implementation of the relevant treaties, conventions, agreements, and other arrangements that relate to nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear technology. While the focus of the CSCAP WMD Study Group was on raising awareness of WMD threats and on sharing views on how they can be addressed, the CSCAP NPD Study Group will take the dialogue to the next level and discuss specific actions that participating countries need to take to be in compliance with their NPD obligations and commitments. In other words, in full accordance with the goals of the ARF ISM on NPD and the ARF NPD Work Plan, the core emphasis of the CSCAP NPD Study Group will be laid on treaty implementation and in assisting member states to come into full compliance with treaty obligations in support of ARF and broader regional security objectives. As part of this effort, the existing CSCAP WMD Handbook will be updated to serve as the central reference document for countries seeking to come into full compliance with treaty obligations.

Beyond promoting full implementation of NPD treaties and other agreements, specific goals will include ensuring the safe, secure, peaceful use of nuclear technology, preventing WMD illicit trafficking, encouraging effective and appropriate management of sensitive goods, promoting implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, and promoting implementation of the Bangkok Treaty (and, in particular, encouraging dialogue between ASEAN and nuclear-weapon states on its protocol).

Anticipated output

By the end of the CSCAP NPD Study Group’s mandate, we anticipate that Asia-Pacific countries will have made significant progress toward implementation of their obligations and commitments in both the nonproliferation and disarmament domains. We also anticipate that civilian nuclear activities, which are set to expand significantly in the region, will be conducted in a safer, more secure, and proliferation-resistant manner and that currently unresolved back-end issues will be addressed.

·         On non-proliferation, potential outputs include development of national implementation models for better implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540, establishment of a regional clearing house to assist member states in fulfilling their UNSCR 1540 obligations, development of a template to evaluate national capacity and requirements for meeting UNSCR 1540 obligations, developments of surveys to assess state attitudes toward nonproliferation instruments, assessment of state attitudes toward controls of strategic trade, or development of “good practices” documents on treaty implementation.

·         On disarmament, potential outputs include work to move toward the delegitimization (and criminalization) of nuclear-weapon use and possession, development of a work plan toward the de-emphasis of nuclear-weapon use in operational doctrines of nuclear-armed states, and close monitoring of implementation of the NPT review process.

·         On peaceful use, potential outputs include development of a work plan to promote safe, secure, and proliferation-resistant nuclear governance in the Asia Pacific region, close monitoring of implementation of the Nuclear Security Summit process, development of specific transparency measures at the national and regional levels on all civilian nuclear activity, deeper examination of reprocessing and enrichment-free zone proposals, and development of a work/action plan for newly-established organizations such as ASEANTOM or the Asian Nuclear Safety Network.

·         Beyond providing recommendations and draft proposals for consideration in the ARF we also anticipate providing recommendations for ARF seminars and workshop on the various topics to help facilitate and ensure that relevant policy initiatives are undertaken to implement the recommendations provided via the CSCAP NPD Study Group. This SG will also reach out to other regional organizations such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as they look at various proliferation and energy-related topics. These efforts will serve to facilitate a stronger linkage between track-1 and track-2 initiatives.

How does this proposes study group differ from previous studies undertaken by CSCAP in the past?

As mentioned above, the proposed CSCAP NPD Study Group will build upon the work of the CSCAP WMD Study Group. But it will differ significantly from the WMD Study Group in that its focus will be on treaty implementation, rather than solely on raising awareness of the WMD threat and on reflecting on ways to address it. It will also look beyond the ARF to encourage and institutionalize cooperation with regional track one efforts such as the ADMM+ and APEC.

How does this study group relate to the on-going concerns of ARF ISMs? (for extension of complete mandate only)

At the 15th meeting of the ARF, Ministers agreed to the establishment of an ISM on NPD to address the threat of WMD. The ISM on NPD has met six times: in Beijing in 2009, in Singapore in 2010, in Las Vegas in 2011, in Sydney in 2012, in Manila in 2013, and in Tokyo in 2014. The CSCAP WMD Study Group has played a critical role in helping the creation of this ISM on NPD, and subsequently in driving its agenda and focusing its efforts. Significantly, the ARF has adopted several CSCAP memoranda and has encouraged CSCAP to hold substantive meetings back-to-back with ARF sessions to help drive the track one process.

As ARF discussions are making progress and becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is time to create a new Study Group better tailored to the objectives of the ISM on NPD. With its focus on capacity-building and treaty implementation, the proposed CSCAP NPD Study Group is a natural development to serve this purpose.


Start: 2014   End: 

6th Meeting: 7 April 2019, Bali, Indonesia.                                                                                                              Download the meeting report.

5th Meeting: 4 April 2018, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
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Handbook on Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia-Pacific, 2018.

4th Meeting: 26-27 October 2017, Hanoi, Vietnam.
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3rd Meeting: 6-7 March 2017, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Handbook on Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia-Pacific, 2016.

2nd Meeting: 17-18 April 2016, Putrajaya, Malaysia.
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1st Meeting: 6-7 April 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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