The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which contains the only binding commitment to nuclear disarmament in a multilateral treaty, became international law in 1970. The next Review Conference of the NPT will be held 3–28 May 2010 in New York.
In 1970, there were five nuclear nuclear weapon states: China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the USSR. Since then, India, Israel, and Pakistan have developed nuclear weapons and North Korea developed a nuclear explosive capability. These four states are the only countries not party to the Treaty. 190 governments have ratified this Treaty (though there are 189 States Parties, as North Korea withdrew from the Treaty after it ratified it.)
The states parties meet every five years at a Review Conference (or RevCon) to assess the implementation of the treaty. There is aPreparatory Committee (or PrepCom) conference that meets for two weeks in the three years leading up to the Review Conference. In preparation for the 2010 Review Conference, there are three PrepComs: in 2007 (Vienna), 2008 (Geneva), and 2009 (New York). The Review Conferences always take place in New York.
During the PrepComs, many working papers are tabled, and the Chairman drafts a Final Summary statement, but none of these documents are binding. Rather, these statements, working papers, summaries, and reports are to be used as assessment tools at the Review Conference.Only the Review Conferences produce a consensus document. NGOs have become significant, visible, and important players at these conferences, and we have included the materials that they have circulated at these conferences as well.
Originally intended as a temporary treaty, the NPT stipulates that 25 years after entry into force, a conference shall be convened to decide whether or not the Treaty shall continue indefinitely, or be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. In 1995, this conference was convened, and a package of decisions extend the Treaty indefinitely. Five years later, at the 2000 Review Conference all 187 governments – including the five official nuclear weapon states – agreed to a 13 Point Action Plan for the systematic and progressive disarmament of the world’s nuclear weapons. (Available in both HTML and PDF.) At the 2005 Review Conference, states parties could not agree on a final document, and the five week long conference was considered to be a failure. 2010 is the next chance to move forward.
The information above was taken from http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/nptindex1.html