Centre to advocate nuclear disarmament -- proposed by ICNND

Centre to advocate nuclear disarmament
-- proposed by ICNND

(Vienna) A new international centre to advocate nuclear disarmament, evaluate the progress of countries to eliminate their nuclear stockpiles, and promote a nuclear weapons convention, are among proposals to emerge from two years of work by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND).

“We are employing realism rather than romance about how to improve the situation,” said former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who co-chaired the Commission with Yoriko Kawaguchi, former Foreign Minister of Japan. The two held a press conference in Vienna on 5 July after the fifth and final meeting of the Commission, which took place in Vienna from 2 to 4 July. Evans explained that the Commission’s proposals were all aimed at moving forward on nuclear disarmament.

The proposed global nuclear disarmament centre would publish “strong and rigorous” report cards on the achievements of nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States, measured against action items from this year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the Commission’s recommendations, and other sources, in keeping the pressure on national governments “to do what they should be doing,” said Evans.

Such commitments include the entry into force of the CTBT, in which the NPT Final Document recognized the Treaty as a core element of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Speaking along the same lines as Evans, Tibor  Tóth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO said of the pledge made by Member States at the NPT Review Conference “It is now time for each and every country to act on the commitments made: it is time to bring the CTBT in force.”

The governments of Australia, Austria and Switzerland have all offered to host the centre, either in Canberra, Vienna or Geneva, Evans said.

Moving Closer to the Universalization of the NPT

At an earlier briefing for Members States, the question of how to engage and bring non- members into the NPT in order to achieve its universalization was also discussed.

Evans explained that the Commission’s report accepted that it would be difficult in the foreseeable future to bring States such as India, Pakistan or Israel into the NPT. Instead, a parallel track in strategy was being proposed in which all available means, such as ratification of the CTBT, would be used to “get these countries signed up to serious commitments to both disarmament and nonproliferation which is equivalent to the kind of commitments made by NPT Member States...”

In this respect, the Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver for India pertaining to civil nuclear cooperation was a lost opportunity to win a commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and conclude a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Evans stated. Alluding to the possible China-Pakistan civil nuclear cooperation agreement, he said that the decision had created an unfortunate precedent “not because the agreement took place but because there was insufficient conditionality attached to it.” Evans said that the CTBT’s ratification “remains a critical priority...”

Kawaguchi expressed positive expectations for U.S. ratification of the Treaty that would likely trigger further ratifications by other remaining Annex 2 countries such as China and India.

The Commission’s findings and final recommendations are found in their Communiqué. The ICNND was established by the governments of Japan and Australia in 2008. For more information on the Commission please go to the ICNND official website.