“Drastic Action” Required to Address Increased Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use

16 September 2020
“Drastic Action” Required to Address Increased Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use

A new UNIDIR report offers expert perspectives on effective means to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use.

GENEVA, 20 APRIL 2020 — A UNIDIR report released today analyses intensified risk of potential nuclear weapons use across several regions, and links this trend to geopolitical competition, strategic mistrust, and other security developments. It calls for “drastic action” by States, and presents a series of concrete policy recommendations to reduce that risk, including the preservation of extant agreements such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and the enhancement of crisis avoidance and management tools to prevent escalation.

The report, Nuclear Risk Reduction: Closing Pathways to Use, offers a range of expert insights on potential strategies to reduce risk of nuclear weapon use, across select geopolitical regions—the Euro-Atlantic, Northeast Asia, Southern Asia, and the Middle East—and in the context of technological developments and multipolar dynamics, including great power competition.

“Understanding the risks of nuclear weapon use in different situations can contribute to ideas and new thinking on practical ways to address them,” said Dr. Renata Dwan, Director of UNIDIR. “Many States have expressed their support for nuclear risk reduction efforts as means to enhance international security and reinvigorate arms control and disarmament. This study provides a blueprint for taking this important work forward.”

The report lists a host of actions that States could take in the short and long term to reduce nuclear weapon risk, including in the context of the postponed 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It also calls for a widespread commitment by all stakeholders to develop practical, feasible, and contextually appropriate risk reduction measures.


UNIDIR is a voluntarily funded, autonomous institute within the United Nations. One of the few policy institutes worldwide focusing on disarmament, UNIDIR generates knowledge and promotes dialogue and action on disarmament and security. Based in Geneva, UNIDIR assists the international community to develop the practical, innovative ideas needed to find solutions to critical security problems. For more information about UNIDIR, visit: www.unidir.org. Follow UNIDIR on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Aaron J. Buckley             Wilfred Wan
Strategic Communications
            Researcher, WMD and Other
Strategic Weapons
+41 76 691 10 74             +41 79 640 64 99
buckleya@un.org             wilfred.wan@un.org