In 2013, the United Nations decided to hold a High Level Conference (Summit) on Nuclear Disarmament (which was supposed to take place in 2018) in order to enhance progress toward the achievement of a nuclear weapons convention – a global treaty (which includes the nuclear armed States) to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Similar UN High Level Conferences held over the past few years have been very successful, including the conference on Sustainable Development (2015) which achieved agreement on 17 Sustainable Development Goals; Climate Change (2015) which achieved the Paris Agreement; Refugees and Migrants (2016) which achieved the New York Declaration and Oceans (2017) which achieved the 14-point Action Plan to Protect our Oceans.

In March 2018, the UN General Assembly decided to postpone the conference. It’s future is now uncertain, especially in light of efforts by nuclear armed States to prevent it moving ahead (See Nuclear Weapon States’ Long Arm Seen Behind Deferral of Landmark UN Conference).

In October 2018, the UNGA will decide whether or not to the continue with the High-Level Conference.

UNFOLD ZERO, in cooperation with the Basel Peace Office, PNND and Abolition 2000, have been building civil society, parliamentary and government support for the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, and to influence the agenda and ensure success.

Action: Sign the Avaaz petition UN: Step up for nuclear abolition which calls on governments to ensure the High-Level Conference is held as planned. 

Ideas proposed for the agenda of the UN Conference:

  • Encouraging states to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
  • Calling on the nuclear-armed States (and allied states) to adopt measures at the conference on nuclear-risk reduction and transparency, including lowering the operational readiness to use nuclear weapons, and adopting no-first-use policies;
  • Moving the nuclear-armed States to announce, at the conference, an end the modernisation of nuclear weapons, and new agreed cuts in their stockpiles;
  • Renewing the UN process an establishing a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone;
  • Supporting the establishment of a North East Asian NWFZ.


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – which includes the parliaments of France, Russia, UK, USA, all NATO countries and other European Countries – has called ‘on all participating OSCE States to participate in the 2018 UN international conference on nuclear disarmament at the highest level, to include parliamentarians in their delegations to the conference and to pursue the adoption of nuclear risk reduction, transparency and disarmament measures at the conference.’  See OSCE Parliamentary Assembly calls for nuclear weapons stand-down.

A joint cross-party letter on Dialogue, detente and nuclear disarmament, sent from European parliamentarians to NATO and the OSCE leaders on July 14, 2017, includes a call on NATO and OSCE to support the 2018 UN High Level Conference.

On Oct 12, 2017, the Non-Aligned Movement, representing 120 countries, submitted a  draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly laying out the general mandate and dates for the UNHLC. The resolution proposed that the conference take place at the United Nations in New York from May 14-16, 2018.

Following the postponement in March 2018 of the High-Level Conference, 50 leading women parliamentarians from around the world released a an appeal Common security for a sustainable and nuclear-weapon-free world which ‘welcomes the decision by the United Nations General Assembly to hold a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to advance effective measures for nuclear disarmament, and which ‘calls on all governments to attend the conference at the highest level, and to use the conference to make significant progress on nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament initiatives.’



Join the Abolition 2000 working group:

Abolition 2000, the global network to eliminate nuclear weapons, has established a Working group on the 2018 UN High Level Conference. To join the working group contact

List of working group members as at Oct 20, 2017

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