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Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the Global South: Understanding Divergences and Commonalities


For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the heightened risks of a nuclear catastrophe are being seriously felt around the world. Over the past decade, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – the central instrument of the global non-proliferation regime – has been rife with divisions among its members and has been undermined by the failure of two consecutive Review Conferences (RevCons) to adopt a consensus outcome document. The basic assertion underlying this Special Issue is that there is growing criticism or contestation from countries in the Global South about the role and future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, in particular with regard to the obligations imposed by the NPT and the lack of a reciprocal benefit for these countries. This contestation could hinder the optimal functioning of the NPT, for instance through reduced cooperation in the implementation of its provisions. As such, a serious examination of the Global South’s criticism of the NPT and what this means for the future of the non-proliferation regime is both timely and necessary.
Keywords: nuclear weapons; NPT; Global South; export controls; test ban