Article 36 is a specialist non-profit organisation, focused on reducing harm from weapons.
A small and effective team of advocacy and policy experts based in the UK, we work in coalitions for new international legal and policy agreements. We bring our expertise and creativity to briefings, negotiations and strategically convened discussions.
We work together with civil society partners and governments to develop new policies and legal standards that prevent civilian harm from existing and emerging weapons technologies.
Our work is underpinned by rigorous, transparent and independent analysis of how weapons harm civilians, and how to reduce and prevent such harm.
Our team has more than a decade of experience in diplomatic negotiations and in developing practical, actionable policies.
We believe that international standards can respond to humanitarian concerns, and we recognise the power and importance of legal, political and social norms in influencing behaviour.
From framing humanitarian issues and shaping civil society responses, to convening key political meetings and presenting as experts in international treaty negotiations, we provide a critical voice on the role of weapons in our world.
How we work
Developing international laws and standards takes time: the adoption of a treaty is typically the result of a decade’s work through close partnerships and collective mobilisation. Agreements also require effective support after they have been signed.
Because of this, we are part of the leadership teams of several international coalitions, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. We also provide leadership and expertise within the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) – which we coordinate – and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.
We have developed a resource on working in global civil society coalitions for those engaging within these partnerships or considering establishing them.
We collaborate closely and in partnership with states and international organisations during work to build new policy outcomes on our focus issues.
We are also pleased to frequently partner with academic institutions, including the University of Liverpool (with whom we have a PhD collaboration), Harvard Law School and the University of Exeter.
Article 36 has been grateful for the funding support of a wide range of government and private organisations, including the governments of Norway, Ireland and Switzerland, Open Society Foundations, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and DeepMind.
Article 36 has an organisational policy not to organise or participate on all male panels. We host the Say No To #Manpanels list of individuals who benefit from their male gender and have committed not to speak on panels that include only men. We work to improve our internal policies and reflection in other areas, and our current policies on equality, diversity and inclusion, parental leave, safeguarding as well as our ethical image usage policy are available on request. This website is built to WCAG 2.0 (AA standard) accessibility, audited by Lighthouse.
Through our innovative policy work and close partnerships, our small team exerts significant strategic influence. Our impact is visible in how our new and creative framings of weapons policy challenges have created policy movement, and in the content of new international agreements.
- Our framing of the need for ‘meaningful human control’ over weapons systems has become central to how state representatives, UN bodies, coalition partners and other humanitarian and human rights organisations talk about the challenges with ‘autonomous’ weapons, and the need for an international legal response.
- Reframing problems can help move deadlocked discussions to signed treaties. In our 2013 report ‘Banning Nuclear Weapons’ Article 36 argued that concluding a treaty banning nuclear weapons did not depend on the agreement of nuclear armed states, who historically oppose such bans. As members of the ICAN Steering Group, we rallied a wider coalition around this idea. Drawing on our professional network, we hosted a series of informal, small-group meetings, bringing together diplomats and other important stakeholders. These multi-stakeholder planning discussions were key to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons being adopted in 2017 – which is a significant normative step in eroding the legitimacy of and building stigma against nuclear weapons possession.
- Our impact can also be seen in the inclusion of humanitarian concerns in international weapons agreements. With our partners, Article 36 overcame initial ambivalence from negotiators to make sure that assisting victims of nuclear weapons use and testing, and cleaning up contaminated environments, was part of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Current Focus Areas
Our main current projects and work focus on:
- Supporting the development of a political commitment to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
- Advocating for the development of an international legal instrument to control autonomous weapons, and
- Research and policy analysis to develop a broad lens and policy action for better protecting civilians
Annual report and strategy
Article 36 was established in 2011 by Thomas Nash and Richard Moyes. We take our name from article 36 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, which calls for the scrutiny of new weapons, means and methods of warfare. Our current four year strategy is available here. We will soon be uploading our annual report for 2020.