European Union champions the CTBTO - Voluntary Contribution of over 4.5 mio EUR
The European Union (EU) continues championing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) with its unwavering multifaceted support. Most recently, on the opening day of the second Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the EU and the CTBTO held a joint side-event on “The European Union support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its Organization” at the United Nations in Geneva. The speakers stressed the key role the CTBT and its state of the art verification regime plays in building trust and confidence in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Co-hosting such discussion panels at key non-proliferation fora serves to remind the international community of the urgent need to strive for the entry into force of the CTBT. Next month, the CTBTO and the EU will again join forces in an event in Brussels, together with the co-coordinators of the Article XIV process, Belgium and Iraq. From 21 May to 1 June, with a partial financial contribution from EU Council Decision VII, the CTBTO will hold its Second Science Diplomacy Symposium in Vienna. The Symposium will particularly target non-proliferation professionals in the earlier stages of their careers, and will examine political, legal and diplomatic aspects of the CTBT, as well as the science and technology that underpin its verification regime.
“The EU’s political voice greatly amplifies those of its Member States where it comes to entry into force of the Treaty. It has been a great boon to count High Representative Mogherini among the Group of Eminent Persons for the CTBT. She has taken it upon herself personally to promote the Treaty wherever she can, and has really led from the front.”
The EU has consistently provided significant financial contributions to support the work of the CTBTO. In February, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers approved the new EU Council Decision (CSPF/298/2018) pledging more than 4.5 million Euro to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, bringing the total amount of such voluntary contributions to 23.5 mio Euros. This is the 7th consecutive EU Council Decision on the topic adopted over a period of 10 years, which makes the European Union one of the largest contributors to the Organization’s activities in terms of extra-budgetary, as well as regular budget contributions. Collectively, European Union Member States provide 40% of the CTBTO’s regular budget.
“This financial support has real, concrete, effects. It serves to strengthen our verification capabilities and enhance the operational performance of the verification regime. It enables all CTBT Signatory States to fulfil their responsibilities and reap the full benefits of membership, including civil and scientific applications of IMS data. And it supports the universalization and entry into force of the Treaty through outreach activities.”
The 7th Council Decision fosters the EU’s strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, and builds upon the achievements reached under previous EU funded projects. For example, two EU funded mobile Noble Gas systems (Spalax and Sauna) for radioxenon background measurements were successfully deployed in Indonesia and Kuwait. Other technical enhancements to the verification system over the next 24 months will include the following:
- Preparations for re-engineering phase 3 of the International Data Centre (IDC);
- Further enhancement of the atmospheric transport modeling capabilities;
- Supporting the build-up of the on-site inspection (OSI) capabilities with an emphasis on noble gas processing and detection;
- Continuous and focused support to auxiliary seismic stations to ensure high data availability
“The EU and its Member States have been true friends of the effort to make a legally-binding global ban on nuclear testing a reality.”
As part of capacity building, the successful roll out of the National Data Centers’ improvement package in 2016 will be complemented by training modules and further automatization of seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound capabilities. The software expansion of the package assists Member States in improving IMS data integration with data from local national stations and thus enhance National Data Centers’ processing capabilities.
A significant portion ? around 40% of the available funding ? will be devoted to capacity building and outreach to non-signatory or non-ratifying states, including in particular the eight missing Annex II States that still are required for the entry into force of the Treaty: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States. The ongoing project that supports experts from developing countries to participate in CTBTO official meetings will continue to benefit from EU funding over the next 24 months. As part of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, these voluntary contributions aim to promote peace and stability, an endeavour for which the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. All 28 EU Member States have signed and ratified the CTBT.