Programme on Nuclear Responsibilities
How do we build a more responsible global nuclear order?
The Nuclear Responsibilities Approach is a way of reframing how we think, talk, and write about nuclear weapons: one that puts a meaningful exploration of responsibility at the centre of our mindsets, our dialogues and our publications. In doing so, the Approach aims to provide an alternative vocabulary and model for exchange that can stimulate new thinking and research, and stimulate a new kind of dialogue to reduce distrust and nuclear risks.
The Programme on the Nuclear Responsibilities, run jointly by BASIC and the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) at the University of Birmingham, promotes the Approach through a range of activities at the national, regional and international levels.
At the national level, the Nuclear Responsibilities Approach offers new conceptual tools to shape internal debates and deliberations over nuclear weapons policy and planning. We contend that developing robust and ethical policies and practices in relation to nuclear weapons starts with a rigorous, bottom-up assessment of nuclear responsibilities. Over the past few years, we have been working with local partners to run national nuclear responsibilities roundtables with the UK, India, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, and Brazil.
At the regional level, the Approach has fostered constructive dialogue on shared nuclear responsibilities to reduce nuclear risk in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Over the past few years, we facilitated several track 2/1.5 dialogues, including India-Pakistan bilateral dialogues as well as multilateral dialogues with representatives from the wider Asia-Pacific region. The Programme also publishes extensive reports and commentaries on nuclear risk reduction in South Asia, including a compendium of essays of Indian and Pakistani scholars and journalists on bilateral crisis communication mechanisms.
At the international level, the Approach is offered as a collective guiding principle that can help transcend the chronic blame game at the heart of international nuclear politics that stymies dialogue, cooperation, and trust.
The Programme is a joint project with the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) at the University of Birmingham. We are grateful for the generous support of the Counter Proliferation and Arms Control Centre (CPACC) at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth & Development Office.
Since 2021, the Programme has collaborated with the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR) at the University of Lahore and the Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi.
Meet the Team:
Dr Chiara Cervasio: Programme Manager
Mhairi McClafferty: Policy Intern
Eva-Nour Repussard: Policy Fellow
Alice Spilman: Policy Fellow
Sebastian Brixey-Williams: Executive Director of BASIC
Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler: Non-Resident Senior Fellow at BASIC, Professor of International Relations at the University of Birmingham
With thanks to our funders at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the University of Birmingham.
Analysis and Publications for this Programme
Read our work on the responsibilities of states around nuclear weapons below
On Wednesday 23rd August, the BASIC-ICCS Nuclear Responsibilities Programme, in collaboration with the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR) and the Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS), hosted a virtual roundtable discussion of the Compendium ‘Crisis Communications: Indian and Pakistani Perspectives on Responsible Practices’.
On Wednesday 23rd August at 11am BST/UK time, 3pm PKT/Pakistan time, and 3:30pm IST/India time, the BASIC-ICCS Nuclear Responsibilities Programme will host a virtual roundtable discussion of the compendium ‘Crisis Communications: Indian and Pakistani Perspectives on Responsible Practices’.
‘Crisis Communications: Indian and Pakistani Perspectives on Responsible Practices’ is a compendium of essays written by Indian and Pakistani nuclear policy experts and journalists that explore how the two countries can communicate in ways that help prevent crisis escalation at different levels of interaction. Edited by Rabia Akhtar, Chiara Cervasio, Ruhee Neog, Alice Spilman, and Nicholas J. Wheeler.
In March 2023, BASIC and the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) at the University of Birmingham organised ‘Nuclear Responsibilities and Nuclear Crises in Southern Asia: Preventing Escalation through a Responsibility-Based Regime in the Asia-Pacific’. Read the report here.
In November 2022, BASIC and ICCS organised ‘Nuclear Responsibilities at Sea: Exploring Policy Proposals for Maritime Risk Reduction in the Asia Pacific’. Read the report and the policy proposals that emerged from the dialogue.
Mubashar Rizvi reflects on the Nuclear Responsibilities Approach through an exploration of two domestic legislative instruments through which Pakistan derives some of its nuclear responsibilities.
Ali Mustafa discusses how the Nuclear Responsibilities framework is a welcome addition to the nuclear discourse in Pakistan – however, meaningful future engagement on responsibilities requires understanding Pakistani sensibilities.
In this piece, Muhammad Shareh Qazi discusses how Nuclear Responsibilities can help strengthening global nuclear risk reduction.
Shaza Arif discusses how BASIC-ICCS Responsibilities Framework opens a new way to consider nuclear responsibilities, and is a relevant contribution to the literature in broadening the debate about nuclear responsibilities or any related subject (ie, cyber, AI) that needs in-depth discussion, collaboration and even conflict management.
Syed Ali Zia Jaffery, Deputy Director at CSSPR, writes on how leaders of nuclear states can better communicate nuclear responsibilities and their fulfilment to multiple audiences across the globe.
On March 1st, 2023, BASIC-ICCS hosted a Nuclear Responsibilities dialogue in Hanoi. The dialogue had substantive and meaningful outcomes, due in no small part to our diverse participant list, which included a large number of women (proportionally, more women than men)
The following remarks were delivered on 14 December 2022 at the Wilton Park ‘The NPT after the 2022 Review Conference’ by BASIC’s Executive Director, Sebastian Brixey-Williams.
BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation through multiple complementary approaches. We continuously develop our programmes – streams of research – through sustained engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, collectively searching for the art of the possible.
Our current programmes are listed below. View the current programmes page by clicking here.