Time to Draw on the Untapped Potential of NWFZs
Policy Briefs

Time to Draw on the Untapped Potential of NWFZs

Great power rivalry is again impacting all areas of human activity. Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated and their bilateral talks aimed at reducing their nuclear weapons arsenals are at a standstill, with the sole exception of timid efforts at keeping the New START agreement alive. Meanwhile, the world is witnessing rapid technological changes affecting the geopolitical environment with the introduction of hypersonic, space, cyberspace, various drones, and other weapons, all while efforts are being made by civil society and states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to delegitimize nuclear weapons.

One regional initiative that is widely recognized as important to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime is the practice of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs). NWFZs can be established without the direct support of the five nuclear-weapon states, and their formation needs to be encouraged and supported alongside the TPNW. One way to do this is to make the NWFZ concept more inclusive to encourage the official establishment of single-state NWFZs, a move that Mongolia took with great success.

Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan is an international lawyer and diplomat who has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia as Mongolia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In this Policy Brief, Ambassador Jargalsaikhan describes how Mongolia’s self-declared nuclear-weapon-free zone status was received by the international community, and how the very concept of NFWZs can be expanded and made more inclusive. By doing so, Jargalsaikhan argues, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament advocates can strengthen the diplomatic status of NWFZs, further minimize the area where nuclear weapons could potentially be used, and strengthen diplomatic pressure on nuclear-armed states to fulfill their international legal mandates while strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

About the Author

Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan is an international lawyer and diplomat who has served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, representing his country in Austria and at the United Nations. He also served as the foreign policy and legal advisor to President P. Ochirbat, the first democratically elected President of Mongolia, and as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council of Mongolia when the State Great Hural (parliament) considered and adopted the country’s first concepts of national security and foreign policy in 1994. As the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Jargalsaikhan served as the focal point in promoting Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status.

Jargalsaikhan has contributed many articles on international relations, non-proliferation, and regional security, and organized/participated in many regional meetings aimed at promoting peace, stability, international cooperation, environmental protection, and good governance. He is Chairman of Blue Banner, a Mongolian NGO dedicated to promoting the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status. He was born in Mongolia in 1950 and has the title of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia.


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