UN Secretary General addresses 1MSP
UN Secretary General addresses 1MSP (Photo by UNIS Vienna)

March 13, 2023

In February 2023 three researchers affiliated with SGS were appointed to the Scientific Advisory Group of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Group is an official body established by TPNW states – currently, almost half of the 193 members of the United Nations are treaty signatories, and the treaty has been ratified by 68 countries. It is the first international scientific body with the mission of advancing nuclear disarmament to have been created by a United Nations treaty process.

The 15 members of the Scientific Advisory Group are nominated by TPNW states. They are appointed by the President of the TPNW Meeting of States-Parties in consultation with treaty states, taking account of the need for the Group to include relevant scientific and technical expertise, to have gender balance, and to fairly represent different regions of the world. The current President of the TPNW Meeting of States-Parties is Amb. Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations.

The three members of SGS appointed to the Scientific Advisory Group are SGS co-director Zia Mian, associate research scholar Sébastien Philippe, and visiting researcher Moritz Kütt (a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Peace and Security Research in Hamburg, Germany).

At the founding meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group, on 1 March 2023, Zia Mian was elected as co-chair for the first year of Group’s work. The other co-chair is Patricia Lewis, a physicist, and former director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, now with Chatham House: the Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London.

The decision to establish the Scientific Advisory Group was taken by the First Meeting of TPNW States Parties, in June 2022, in Vienna. It was based on a President’s paper by Amb. Alexander Kmentt from Austria recommending creating the group. At this First Meeting of States Parties, as part of the discussion on the President’s paper, Zia Mian made the case (video at 52:34 minutes) for a formal scientific advisory process for treaty states. This contribution built on earlier SGS presentations, made as part of the informal consultations leading up to to the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW.

A dedicated scientific and technical advisory body for the TPNW was first proposed in an article published in 2019 by SGS researchers Tamara Patton, Sébastien Philippe, and Zia Mian.