Urgent calls by international leaders to bring test ban treaty in force
“We know that a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests is an indispensable stepping stone to a nuclear-weapon-free world,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a conference to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Ban sent a clear message to those countries whose signature and ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force: “The time for waiting has passed. We must make the most of existing – and potentially short-lived – opportunities. This is why I urge all remaining States to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay.”
States call for commitment to CTBT at highest political level
Foreign ministers and high-level representatives from over 160 countries joined this call. In the Final Declaration they appealed to hold-out States to commit themselves at the highest political level to join the CTBT, urging “especially those whose signatures and ratifications are necessary for the entry into force of the Treaty, to take individual initiatives to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay in order to achieve its earliest entry into force.” They referred here to nine specific countries – China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
The appeal to the nine comes on the eve of the Treaty’s 15th birthday at a conference to promote the CTBT’s entry into force. The Final Declaration was adopted unanimously by all ratifying States and endorsed by a number of signatory States.
Espinosa: World free of nuclear weapons for future generations
Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and Carl Bildt, the Foreign Ministers of Mexico and Sweden, took over the leadership of the entry-into-force process from France and Morocco. In her opening remarks, Espinosa stressed the importance of the Treaty’s entry into force and said “it will make the world safer.” It will support the final goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on a global level, she added. Espinosa told States that “we must give future generations a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Bildt: More secure global environment for all with CTBT in place
Her call was reiterated by Bildt, who said that “with the CTBT in place we can build a more secure global environment for all.” Referring to the 15 years since the Treaty opened for signature, Bildt stated that “these years have been well spent in carefully building up an unprecedented global verification system for the CTBT.”
Tóth: Unprecedented vote of confidence in the CTBT
Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), called the CTBT “a uniting force in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.” The 182 signatures and 155 ratifications of the Treaty are “an unprecedented vote of confidence in the CTBT.” He repeated the call to outstanding States to sign and ratify the Treaty and said that “the best way forward is to make the de-facto norm banning nuclear tests a legally-binding commitment.”
CTBT’s entry into force more urgent than ever before
States hailed the Treaty as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and expressed their concern over the delay in its entry into force. They said that “Fifteen years after opening of the Treaty for signature, its entry into force is more urgent than ever before.” Countries stated that the Treaty’s entry into force would rid the world of nuclear test explosions once and for all. In the meantime, they called on all States “to refrain from nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, the use of new nuclear weapon technologies and any action that would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT.”
States welcome progress in building verification regime
The CTBTO is establishing a verification regime to detect nuclear explosions anywhere on the globe. States commended the progress achieved in the establishment of the regime, saying “It is essential to maintain momentum in building all elements of the verification regime.“ The regime includes a global network of 285 operational monitoring facilities which send data for analysis to a data centre in Vienna, and an on-site inspection system.
Importance of CTBTO data in nuclear emergency
“The CTBT verification system is capable of bringing scientific and civil benefits,“ States agreed and welcomed the CTBTO’s rapid response to the tsunami and nuclear power plant accident in Japan in March 2011. Following the accident, the CTBTO shared data with several international organizations and over 120 Member States and 1,200 institutions to help distribute information on the levels and dispersion of radioactivity after the accident. A recent United Nations report on the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima also highlighted the relevance and usefulness of the CTBTO radionuclide monitoring network in a nuclear emergency and recommended that the CTBTO should contribute to developing countries’ preparedness capacities.
Measures to promote Treaty
States decided on 10 practical measures to accelerate the ratification process and bring the Treaty into force. They said that they would “spare no efforts and use all avenues open to us ... to encourage further signature and ratification of the Treaty.”
The CTBT bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. To date, 182 States have signed the Treaty and 155 have ratified it. But 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries need to ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force. 35 have currently done so while nine remain. By signing the Treaty a State’s government indicates that it accepts the provisions of the Treaty. Ratification is the process that binds a State legally to the Treaty.
For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing,