One size for all - Niue, among the world's smallest States, may soon re-affirm the CTBT's democratic nature

No matter how large or small, every member of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) enjoys the same rights. The Pacific Island State of Niue may soon re-affirm the Treaty’s unique feature by becoming its smallest member.

At the conclusion of a brief fact finding visit to the headquarters of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, a two person mission from the Pacific island State said there was no reason for Niue not to sign and ratify the Treaty soon.

Niue is one of the smallest countries on Earth at the centre of a triangle made up of Tonga, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands. Its population, which is under 2,000, shares dual nationality with New Zealand.

"Although Niue is small, we support the community (of 182 countries) which have signed the Treaty," said Talatitama Talaiti, Niue’s Associate Minister for External Affairs, as the mission wrapped up. Talaiti and Kalavatagaloa T.A. Morrissey, Assistant External  Affairs Officer, will now report  back to the Niue Legislative Assembly, the nation's parliament, where membership and ratification of the the Treaty will be discussed.

From left to right: Jean du Preez (Chief of CTBTO External Relations), Kalavatagaloa Morrissey (Assistant External Affairs Office, Government of Niue), Tibor Tóth (CTBTO Executive Secretary) and Talaititama Talaiti (Associate Minister for External Affairs, Government of Niue).

The Treaty will shut the door on nuclear testing when it enters into force. It also offers its Member States access to a wealth of data collected by its global verification system that provides warnings about tsunamis and earthquakes as well as enhancing scientific knowledge about the Earth’s behaviour.

Although global sea level rise does not threaten Niue, one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls whose central plateau is 60-metres above sea level, the island was devastated by a cyclone in 2004. "We (are not) safe from these types of things," said Talaiti, commenting on the value of the CTBTO in providing disaster warning.

263 nuclear tests were conducted in the Pacific Ocean. Here: the Baker test on 25 July 1946 at the Bikini Atoll.