A Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone, or NWFZ is defined by the United Nations as an agreement, generally by internationally recognized treaty, to ban the use, development, or deployment of nuclear weapons in a given area. Additionally, this agreement has mechanisms of verification and control to enforce its obligations.
NWFZs are conceived as incremental measures toward total nuclear disarmament, and have steadily grown in number since the first, governing Antarctica. Today, there are eight recognized zones which have been achieved or are in the process of acceptance. Also, some countries have not signed international treaties, but have outlawed nuclear weapons, like Austria with the Bundesverfassungsgesetz für ein atomfreies Österreich in 1999.
|Treaty of Tlatelolco||Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Treaty of Bangkok||ASEAN states|
|Treaty of Pelindaba||Africa|
|Treaty of Rarotonga||South Pacific|
|Central Asian NWFZ||Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan|
|Mongolian NWF Status||Mongolia|
|2+4 Treaty||East Germany|
A difficulty with the Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone concept is defining suitable zone areas, such that zone neighbours are not considered nuclear threats. For example it was reported in 1996 that no African Arab state will ratify the Treaty of Pelindaba until Israel, which is just outside the zone, renounces its nuclear weapons program; however, Algeria and Libya have since ratified it.