This year marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT, a treaty closely associated with Ireland and the cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Ireland also ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW, this year. It will enter into force on 22 January 2021. These treaties demonstrate our long-standing leadership in this area. It is fitting that Dáil Éireann acknowledges both milestones, and I thank Deputies Eoghan Murphy and Duncan Smith for their initiative in proposing this debate.
The very first resolution of the UN, adopted in January 1946, called for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. As we mark 65 years since Ireland joined the UN, I recall Ireland's proud legacy of the Irish resolutions in the late 1950s and 1960s from which the NPT originated. Ireland's then Minister for External Affairs, Frank Aiken, highlighted the widespread fear about the threat posed by nuclear weapons amidst extreme global tensions, describing the NPT as a practical and vital step away from war and towards a peaceful, co-operative world. We ought to have marked the NPT's anniversary at its tenth review conference in the spring of this year, but the pandemic has seen it postponed until August next year. This does not diminish the urgency of working towards full implementation across the treaty's three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses.
A key priority for Ireland for the review conference is tangible progress across these pillars, particularly disarmament and the implementation of past commitments. Ireland also wants further consideration of the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapons explosion, whether deliberately, by accident or miscalculation. Together with cross-regional partners - Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa - in the New Agenda Coalition, Ireland will focus on making progress on nuclear disarmament obligations under Article 6 of the NPT. Ireland continues to support progress on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. This is integral to the measures on the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. Ireland was centrally involved in securing the 2010 agreement on the way forward. I was encouraged by the adoption of a political declaration at the New York conference in November 2019 expressing the intent and commitment to pursue this issue. Ireland will also continue to play a central role in promoting gender equality in key areas such as the gendered impacts of nuclear weapons and equal and meaningful participation of women.
The lack of progress on disarmament under the NPT was one consideration behind the TPNW. Having championed the NPT from its inception, it was fitting that Ireland played a leadership role once again in drafting, with other core group members, the UN resolutions which led to the negotiation of the TPNW.
I am proud that on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Ireland ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW. Having reached 50 ratifications it will now come into force on 22 January. The TPNW is the product of tireless work from the concerned states, civil society and survivors of the use and testing of nuclear weapons. From the outset of Ireland's engagement in nuclear disarmament, the overriding concern has been the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. We are proud of our legacy with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT, and the TPNW and see both as illustrations of the contribution a small country like Ireland can make to international peace and security.