As the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended, over 100 governments have committed to work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons by endorsing the “Humanitarian Pledge”.

While the United States and the United Kingdom declared failure over the Middle East,  the draft outcome document was deeply flawed on disarmament. It contained no meaningful commitments on nuclear disarmament, rolls back on previous agreements and was not negotiated amongst states parties. A wide range of governments from all regions admitted that the text fell dramatically short of making credible progress.

Based on the evidence of the humanitarian impacts from any nuclear weapon detonation and an acknowledgment of the increasing risk of use of nuclear weapons, the humanitarian pledge reflects a fundamental shift in the international discourse on nuclear disarmament over the past five years. It is the latest indication that governments are preparing for diplomatic action after the Review Conference.

The wide and growing international support for this historic pledge sends a signal that a majority of the world’s governments are ready to move forward with the prohibition of nuclear weapons, even if the nuclear weapon states are not ready to participate.

“Regardless of what has happened here today, the humanitarian pledge must be the basis for the negotiations of a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons”, says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. “It has been made clear that the nuclear weapon states are not interested in making any new commitments to disarmament, so now it is up to the rest of the world to start a process to prohibit nuclear weapons by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”