The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) was established in 1998 to encourage middle power countries to take a stronger collaborative role in advocating for nuclear disarmament. Middle power countries are generally considered to be politically and economically significant, internationally respected countries that have renounced the nuclear arms race.
MPI was established by eight leading non-governmental organisations to enhance their collective capacity to engage with and empower middle power countries. The co-founding organisations are the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Global Security Institute, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, International Peace Bureau, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
In the first few years, MPI worked closely with the New Agenda Coalition – a group of eight non-nuclear countries that was instrumental in forging an agreement by the States Parties to the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) on 13 Steps for nuclear disarmament.
A more difficult political environment for disarmament in the mid 2000s, following the World Trade Centre terrorist act and the heightened conflicts in the Middle East, led to an erosion of the 13 Steps and a breakdown of the 2005 NPT Review Conference. MPI responded by establishing the Article VI Forum, a series of track-two meetings with States Parties to the NPT designed to build consensus on disarmament for the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Following the success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, especially the agreement that "All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons”, MPI established the Framework Forum – a series of track-two intergovernmental meetings to start the process of building the framework for a nuclear-weapons-free world.
MPI is Chaired by Tadatoshi Akiba, former mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace – a global network of over 5000 cities (including Basel) calling for a nuclear-weapons-free world by 2020.