There are few more crucial linchpins to global security than the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. The document helps curb the ambitions of nations that covet nuclear weapons and puts pressure on countries holding the bomb to work toward its eventual elimination. So there was a lot at stake when delegates met in New York City in May for a monthlong review of the NPT. The last major review conference, in 2005, ended in acrimonious failure, and there were concerns that a similar fate this year would put the future of the treaty in doubt at a time when it is needed most. But then something unexpected happened: the global community came together.
“This was a win for multilateralism,” says Deepti Choubey, who attended the conference on behalf of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she is deputy director of the nuclear-policy program. “I was very pessimistic about the chance of achieving this outcome. But the document moved the treaty forward. It had several key advances in it.”