The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty - five years on

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty - five years on

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Treaty bans all nuclear test explosions in any environment. To date, 161 States have signed the Treaty, and 81 have ratified it. 16 of these ratifications have taken place since the fourth anniversary.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty must be ratified by 44 named States before it can enter into force. These States, listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty, all participated in the 1996 session of the Conference on Disarmament and are listed in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s April 1996 edition of "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World" or the December 1995 edition of IAEA’s "Nuclear Research Reactors of the World". 41 of these 44 States signed the Treaty in 1996, displaying a remarkable global consensus on its importance. To date, 31 have ratified it.

The five years since the opening for signature of the Treaty have seen many achievements. The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was established on 19 November 1996, and its Provisional Technical Secretariat began work in Vienna on 17 March 1997 under Executive Secretary Wolfgang Hoffmann. The Commission is responsible for the necessary preparations of the effective implementation of the Treaty and the first session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty, upon entry into force. The Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission also provides regular workshops and training opportunities to Member State nationals.

Tasked with the establishment of a global verification regime to monitor Treaty compliance, the Preparatory Commission focuses its activities on the establishment of 337 monitoring facilities around the world. The data collected by this International Monitoring System (IMS) is analysed in the International Data Centre, and will be used by States to monitor Treaty adherence and, if necessary, to reach a decision as to whether or not the Treaty has been contravened. The verification regime also provides for a consultation and clarification process, on-site inspections and confidence-building measures.

The monitoring stations, located evenly around the globe, are often in distant and hard-to-reach places, posing considerable engineering challenges in their establishment. Some monitoring facilities must endure extreme temperatures, others are so remote that they must be self-reliant for power. In some cases, access itself is a major problem. Despite these challenges, progress in establishing the facilities has been good. Five years after the Treaty was opened for signature, site surveys are almost complete, and installation finalized at some 105 stations. Seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide data from about 100 stations flow to the International Data Centre (IDC), and new software is proving steadily more accurate in pinpointing the location of events which produce such data. The verification data already available to States Signatories, both in ‘raw’ and processed forms, are a valuable scientific resource.

Five years after opening for signature, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has the firm support of the international community, and is recognized as playing an important role in nuclear disarmament and in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. By signing and ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, States become part of a global community committed to ensuring that the world is a safer and more secure place.

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The 81 States that have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay and Uzbekistan.

The 161 States that have signed the Treaty are: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org