The United Nations is rolling out a treaty to ban all nuclear weapons on Friday, despite opposition from the world’s nuclear powers and others.

The treaty, called the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, has been negotiated for weeks, and is expected to be signed by 129 member-nations. The effort has been led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand. The treaty is designed to outline the steps to ban the development, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons on Earth forever.

Resistance has been led by the countries which actually possess nuclear weapons.

After our final review of the text yesterday, I am convinced that we have achieved a general consensus on a robust and comprehensive prohibition,” said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, who serves as the President of the conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

“This will be a historic moment and it is the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years.”

No country with nuclear weapons is expected to be a signatory, to include some non-nuclear allies. Notably, even Japan, the world’s sole victim of a nuclear attack, is opposed to the treaty.

Despite the monumental task the United Nations has set out for itself in banning the weapons without an effective means of enforcing such a treaty, the treaty is largely symbolic. Ambassador Gomez has said the treaty will set conditions on the global stage that humanity as a whole will no longer tolerate nuclear weapons. This will have an influence on state behavior, she says.

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“The treaty, no doubt, will compliment and strengthen the global architecture on nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime. This is a historic event for humanity.”

Nikki Haley characterized the U.S. opposition to the bill by saying “there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic.”

“Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?”

Currently the confirmed nuclear-armed states are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel is suspected of possessing nuclear weapons. Some nations have relinquished their nuclear stockpiles, to include Belarus, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Ukraine.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force