The next U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation will be held in New York from Jan. 4 to 28, the president of the gathering said Monday, after a postponement of more than a year and a half due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gustavo Zlauvinen, a former deputy Argentine foreign minister who will chair the upcoming review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, said in July that he would aim to arrange the conference schedule for January 2022 while assessing the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-week gathering at the U.N. headquarters in New York City will likely consist of in-person discussions with safety measures taken against virus spread, while side events including those hosted by non-governmental organizations are expected to be held in a virtual format.
Whether the review conference of the 1970 treaty can create momentum toward further nuclear disarmament, particularly amid growing rivalries between the United States and China, both nuclear powers, will be closely watched.
Although the NPT includes nuclear-power states, the divisions between them and non-nuclear weapon states remain wide.
NPT review conferences have been held every five years since 1975, with the last gathering in 2015. Representatives from 191 countries and regions as well as survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and members of non-government organizations are expected to join the events.
Anti-nuclear countries and peace activists hope that the NPT review conference will boost the global nuclear disarmament movement ahead of the first meeting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled to be held in Austria next March.
The new nuclear ban treaty, adopted in January this year, is more ambitious in its approach to eliminating nuclear weapons, but its effectiveness is in question as it lacks support from any nuclear-weapon states or Japan, the world's only country to have suffered nuclear attacks.