Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited by an international convention, even though they have the greatest destructive capacity of all weapons. A global ban on nuclear weapons is long overdue and can be achieved in the near future with enough public pressure and political leadership. A ban would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition should begin negotiating a ban now.

Nuclear-free nations have long complained of the lack of progress being made towards nuclear disarmament. While the nuclear super powers have dismantled 70% of the arsenals from the peak of the nuclear arms race, the remaining 30% leaves the planet with more than 17,000 nuclear weapons. This is enough to destroy the world many times over, and most of the current arsenal is many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. The nuclear powers continue to build-up and modernize their nuclear forces – spending huge sums of money to make the 30% of the arsenal they are allowed even more destructive.

Though nuclear-free nations are frustrated, they are not without influence. After all, they make up the overwhelming majority of states. Working effectively together, they could put in place a powerful legal ban on nuclear weapons, which would not only stigmatize the weapons, but also build the pressure for disarmament. It is time to change the game.

Read the humanitarian case for nuclear abolition here.