The 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) concluded on 5 September 2003 in Vienna with the adoption of a Final Declaration

8 September 2003

 

The 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) concluded on 5 September 2003 in Vienna with the adoption of a Final Declaration that stressed the importance of a universal and effectively verifiable comprehensive Treaty as a major instrument in all aspects of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Conference reiterated that the cessation of nuclear weapon tests and all other nuclear explosions, by constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, constituted an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and thus a meaningful step in the realization of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.

In the Final Declaration, the Conference reaffirmed "the importance of the Treaty and its entry into force for the practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation which were agreed to by the participating States at international forums dealing with nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation."

The Declaration noted with concern, however, that despite the progress made and the international community's strong support for the CTBT, the Treaty had not entered into force seven years after its opening for signature. The Conference stressed the particular importance of prompt signature and ratification by those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force but who had not yet ratified.

Noting that international developments had occurred since the 2001 entry into force Conference which made the Treaty's entry into force as urgent today as when it was negotiated, the Conference reaffirmed that the CTBT had an essential role to play in strengthening global peace and security. The prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of the most important challenges facing the world.

According to the Declaration, States parties considered it essential to maintain momentum in building a verification regime capable of meeting the Treaty's verification requirements at its entry into force. The verification system would be unprecedented in its global reach after entry into force and would thereby ensure that States were maintaining their Treaty commitments.

The Declaration also contained 12 measures to promote the CTBT's entry into force. By one of those steps, States parties would encourage the organization of regional seminars to increase awareness of the Treaty's important role. They called upon the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to continue promoting understanding of the Treaty and demonstrating the benefits of the civil and scientific applications of the verification technologies in such areas as the environment, earth science and technology.

By another measure, the Conference recommended that the CTBTO's Provisional Technical Secretariat continue to provide States with legal assistance with respect to the ratification process and implementation measures and to establish a contact point for better exchange and dissemination of relevant information. The Conference also encouraged cooperation with non-governmental organizations and other elements of civil society to raise awareness of and support for the Treaty and its objectives.