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Ignacio Cartagena Nunez

You are warmly invited to a talk by Dr Ignacio Cartagena Núñez, Consul General of Spain in Edinburgh on 8th March 2022 at 5:30pm at BDR (formerly Senior Common Room), University College

Managing Complexity: Present and future of the Non-proliferation and Arms Control Regime

After decades of relative success in containing WMD proliferation, the international non-proliferation and arms control regime today faces unprecedented strains and criticism. After prolonged stagnation – and partly as a consequence of it - the regime has entered a new phase of deep institutional erosion, as we can see from the recent termination of some of its key instruments, such as the INF, and questions surrounding the long-term viability of others.

Among the disarmament community there is widespread consensus that, as Lampedusa described it:

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”. This has led to a number of recent
diplomatic initiatives to explore possible ways forward on nuclear disarmament. Two of these processes are the Swedish ‘Stepping Stones Approach’ and the US-led initiative on ‘Creating the environment for Nuclear Disarmament’ (CEND).

A key theme in discussions in both initiatives, Stockholm and Washington, was that the international
environment was becoming increasingly complex and that the frameworks for nuclear disarmament,

in particular the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), need to be reinvigorated. It is indeed increasingly difficult to assess the overall state of the global nonproliferation and arms control institutional framework, as new initiatives come into being and overlap with existing arrangements.  Universal agreements are being gradually displaced in political agendas by more bespoke arrangements that are not necessarily ruled by the consensus rule nor seek to become fully universal.

The way in which this growing variability in arrangements can be incorporated into the multilateral arms control and nonproliferation regime itself will define its future.