The Nuclear Responsibilities Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Thinking, Talking and Writing

What are your state’s responsibilities in relation to nuclear weapons? What about your organisation’s responsibilities, or your own? And how might you strengthen shared normative understandings of these ‘nuclear responsibilities’ with others in the policy community, whether at home or abroad?

Since 2016, BASIC and the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham have developed the Nuclear Responsibilities Approach as a way of reframing how we think, talk and write about nuclear weapons: one that puts stakeholders’ responsibilities in relation to nuclear weapons at its centre.

The Approach is designed to help policy communities adapt the mindsets and conceptual models they use to assess nuclear weapons policies and practices, and reappraise the language they use to explain and justify these policies and practices in dialogues and publications.

This publication, The Nuclear Responsibilities Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Thinking, Talking and Writing (2021), provides a conceptual and practical guide to policy communities who are new to the Nuclear Responsibilities Approach and would like to explore it further. 

Whereas its sister publication Nuclear Responsibilities (2020) explains the Approach in theory, the Toolkit enables its readers to put the Approach into practice.

The Toolkit offers three central contributions:

  1. A new policy exploration tool (Part B) called the Responsibilities Framework, offered to individuals or groups to structure their thinking about the nuclear responsibilities of a given stakeholder (or group of stakeholders).
  2. A model three-stage process for dialogue on nuclear responsibilities (Part C and Annexes), designed to enable stakeholders to better understand one another’s perceptions of their responsibilities, generate opportunities to clarify misperceptions and miscalculations, and create a space to reduce distrust and potentially build trust.
  3. Advice and inspiration for research and writing on nuclear responsibilities (Part D).

The Toolkit is aimed at multiple audiences:

  • Policy makers and policy influencers in thinking holistically and systematically about their state’s nuclear responsibilities and those of others: by providing a new Responsibilities Framework that they can use to structure their deliberations.
  • Convenors of dialogues on nuclear weapons and other security challenges at the national, regional and international levels: by providing a three-stage Nuclear Responsibilities Dialogue Process that can be followed.
  • Parties to dialogues on nuclear responsibilities: by setting out some key considerations and answering some key questions that often come up in such dialogues.
  • Researchers looking for relatively unexplored frameworks for analysis, critique, and policy engagement.

The Nuclear Responsibilities Toolkit has been co-authored by Sebastian Brixey-Williams, Alice Spilman and Nicholas J. Wheeler

Read the Toolkit here

The Nuclear Responsibilities front cover, date: August 2021 with ICCS and BASIC logo

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