Preparations began last month for the first round of negotiations, scheduled for March 27-31, on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Diplomats convened a day-long organizational meeting Feb. 16 at the United Nations, during which they adopted a draft agenda and elected Costa Rican Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez as conference president to preside over the negotiations.
The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs circulated a draft provisional agenda, timeline, and rules of procedure on Feb. 2. Several countries that voted against the UN General Assembly resolution authorizing the negotiations have since declared their intention to boycott the talks or participate only in the planned second round of negotiations in June. Australia announced on Feb. 16 that it would not be participating, while China is reportedly still deliberating.
The negotiations were authorized by the General Assembly on Dec. 23 by a vote of 113-35, with 15 states abstaining. Nuclear-weapon states and NATO members oppose the negotiations. (See ACT, November 2016.)