Nuclear Responsibilities

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 offers a means to foster constructive dialogue on shared nuclear responsibilities to reduce nuclear risks in Southern Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Over the past few years, we have been holding one India-Pakistan roundtable and one Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue involving representatives from ASEAN, Australia, India, and Pakistan.

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 United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the University of Birmingham, and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

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.

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Programme Director: Sebastian Brixey-Williams

Programme Manager: Dr Chiara Cervasio

Academic Lead: Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler (the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security and Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham)

Policy Fellow: Eva-Nour Repussard

Policy Fellow/Consultant: Alice Spilman

Policy Intern: Mhairi McClafferty

With thanks to our funders at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the University of Birmingham and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

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Analysis and Publications for this Programme

Read our work on the responsibilities of states around nuclear weapons below

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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.

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Report: Exploring Nuclear Risk Reduction Pathways in Southern Asia through Nuclear Responsibilities

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.

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BASIC-ICCS Responsibility Framework: An Innovative Tool for Understanding a Complex Subject

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.

Active Programmes

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.