15 March 2010 - Page 1

Gareth Evans, Co-Chair of the ICNND, Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia, Dr. Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, and Yoriko Kawaguchi, Co-Chair of the ICNND.

“It’s sheer dumb luck that we haven’t had a nuclear catastrophe in the last 60 years,” said Gareth Evans, one of the two chairpersons of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), when presenting the final report in Vienna on 5 March 2010. “We are riding on a wave of commitment towards solving a number of issues,” Professor Evans, a former Australian Foreign Minister and former president of the International Crisis Group told a gathering of Vienna diplomats. “The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) must come into force as soon as humanly possible.”

 

Nuclear status quo not an option

After a year of deliberation and consultations, the independent global panel of 15 commissioners, supported by a high-level international advisory board and a worldwide network of research centres, issued a unanimous 230-page report. The commission clearly articulated that the nuclear status quo is not an option, as nuclear weapons remain the only weapons invented that have the capacity to totally destroy life on Earth. “It defies credibility that, so long as any such weapons exist, they will not one day be used, by accident, miscalculation or design,” the report notes.

2010 to determine whether we move forward

Dr. Evans with Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO.

The report addresses the whole range of issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, looking forward to the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and beyond. “The year 2010 has really now emerged as a watershed year, a make-or-break year,” said Evans. “It will determine whether we move forward on these fronts or whether we go back to the sleep-walking mode in which the international community has been for at least the past decade.”

Successful NPT Review Conference will require a lot of effort

"Consensus will require an awful lot of buy in," Evans told a press conference in Vienna on 5 March 2010.

The NPT, which is a treaty designed to limit spread of nuclear weapons, will be reviewed by its member states in May 2010. Last year, a number of encouraging events generated very positive expectations towards the outcome of this Review Conference. “There is now less optimism that this will have a smooth passage,” said Evans. Questioning whether States possessing nuclear weapons will agree upon a common statement on disarmament, whether consensus will be achieved on safeguards related issues, and whether progress could be made on mitigating concerns in the Middle East, Evans noted that “there is a real concern that we might be ebbing away from the potential for consensus.”

 

“My short message is that consensus will require an awful lot of buy in, an awful lot of commitment, and leadership to ensure that we go forwards rather than backwards on the majority of these issues,” he said. On a more positive note, Evans concluded that “a consensus outcome is possible. There is still a strong will on behalf of very influential countries in the Non-Aligned Movement to make this Conference a success.”