Mapping Global Nuclear Perceptions

5 December 2023
Mapping Global Nuclear Perceptions

As a part of its nuclear risk reduction workstream, UNIDIR’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programme hosted a virtual seminar on “Mapping Global Nuclear Risk Perceptions” on 5 December 2023. The closed seminar convened experts from non-nuclear weapons states with broad regional representation to explore different approaches to nuclear risk and map the underlying concerns.

The international community has largely acknowledged the pressing need for attention to nuclear risk. The Draft Final Document of the X Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty stated, “States parties recognize that they have a shared interest in averting a nuclear war”. Two working papers on nuclear risk reduction were introduced to the First Preparatory Committee of the XI NPT Review Conference. The issue has also been deliberated regionally, for example in the ASEAN Regional Forum in 2022-2023.

At the same time, rising geopolitical tensions not only increased nuclear risks but also negatively affected bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, which could address them. State parties failed to agree to the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference. And the beginning of the new Review Cycle showed that there was no consensus on the best way to address nuclear risks.

The seminar addressed the following questions: 

  1. Which nuclear risks are perceived as the most pressing in the different regions of the world?
  2. How did nuclear risk perceptions evolve?
  3. What are the approaches towards the nuclear risks and proposed mitigating strategies?


2:00 – 2:05 Opening remarks 

  • Dr. Cecile Aptel, Deputy Director, UNIDIR 

2:05 – 2:35 Kick-off remarks

  • Dr. J. Luis Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of International Security and Law, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University 
  • Prof. Joelien Pretorius, Associate Professor of Political Studies, University of the Western Cape 
  • Dr. Oliver Meier, Policy & Research Director, European Leadership Network
  • Dr. Alvin Chew, Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University

2:35 – 3:30 Discussion 

Moderated by Mr. Andrey Baklitskiy, Senior Researcher, WMD Programme, UNIDIR.