Enhancing the role of the CTBT in the NPT review process: Side event of NPT PrepCom
Vienna, 5 May 2017
On 4 May 2017, CTBTO Youth Group members organized a side event in connection to the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference entitled “Enhancing the role of the CTBT in the NPT review process”. The event highlighted the research findings of members of the CTBTO Youth Group from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in Monterey, California. The graduate students investigated ways to elevate the profile of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the NPT context with the objective of promoting its entry into force.
Dr. William Potter, founding director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, moderated the event, and Leigh Turner, UK Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna, delivered closing remarks.
Efforts to ban the testing of nuclear weapons and to stop both their horizontal and vertical spread have been pursued in tandem for more than six decades. In a paper entitled, “Elevating the Profile of the CTBT in an NPT Context: A Rationale and Recommendations from the Next Generation,” members of the CTBTO Youth Group members Joseph Rodgers, Margaret Rowland, Raymond Wang, Paul Warnke, Sylvia Mishra, and Sarah Bidgood trace the historical arc of this relationship—one defined by close political and normative linkages. They emphasize that the CTBT and NPT have historically formed the backbone of the global nonproliferation order and are therefore mutually reinforcing. In this light, they demonstrate that discourse surrounding nonproliferation and disarmament in the NPT context today is less holistic and more fractured when the importance of the CTBT is deemphasized, minimized, or absent. Likewise, a fundamental rationale for the entry into force of the CTBT—to curb nuclear testing in advancing nonproliferation and disarmament—lacks urgency if the Treaty is divorced from the NPT.
On this basis, the authors argue that the CTBT, which opened for signature in 1996 but has yet to enter into force, should occupy a place of prominence during the 2020 NPT review cycle. To implement this recommendation they identify new and creative places where these two Treaties reinforce one another, and they propose four ways to raise the profile of the CTBT more generally in the context of the NPT. Firstly, they recommend States Parties to examine and capitalize upon the shared history of the CTBT and the NPT as well as to emphasize the importance of the International Monitoring System (IMS) to the NPT and international security. The paper also suggests emphasizing the importance of the CTBT to disarmament and nonproliferation education during the 2020 Review Cycle. Finally, the authors recommend increasing the role of women in the disarmament and nonproliferation discourse.
Following the presentation of the paper, the audience seized the opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion on how to elevate the profile of the CTBT in the context of the NPT.
In his closing remarks, Ambassador Turner expressed his wish to accelerate the entry in force for CTBT as well as his commitment to get the word out on why CTBT matters. He also acknowledged the verification capabilities of IMS and highlighted the role of his country as a major contributor to the CTBT both financially and as host of13 IMS stations.
The full text of the paper as well as its summary can be found here (PDF) and here (PDF) respectively. The study is the work of the CTBTO Youth Group members listed as authors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and should not necessarily be seen as representing the Organization.
The CTBTO Youth Group was created in February 2016 as a forum for students and young graduates who wish to contribute to global peace and security to engage actively in promoting the CTBT and its verification regime. Twenty years after the opening for signature of the CTBT, the young generation’s involvement is crucial to advancing the Treaty’s entry into force.
Disclaimer: The study is the work of the CTBTO Youth Group members listed as authors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and should not necessarily be seen as representing the Organization.