“Friends of the CTBT” group issues video call for Treaty’s entry into force

“Friends of the CTBT” group issues video call for Treaty’s entry into force

The “Friends of the CTBT” – Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands – issued this video message and press release at 16:00 CEST on 1 October 2020:

The Foreign Ministers of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) call for a permanent ban to nuclear weapons testing

In a video message released today, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands call for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all forms of nuclear weapons testing. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of the CTBT cannot, for the first time since 2002, hold the biennial Ministerial Meeting endorsed by many countries at the UN General Assembly high level week.

In the video, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu stated that the “tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated”. Motegi added that “worldwide condemnation against North Korea’s nuclear tests demonstrates the strengthened sense of norm against nuclear testing”. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne added that “prior to the CTBT’s opening for signature, more than 2000 nuclear tests had been conducted. Each test had contributed to the development of nuclear weapons”. Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne stated that “nuclear testing heightens global tensions and leaves devastating, enduring impacts on people and the environment.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reaffirmed that, until we achieve entry into force, “the Friends of the CTBT will continue to lobby for the treaty. It is an excellent example of multilateralism in practice and an effective response to the nuclear threat.”

Regarding the spin off uses of CTBTO verification data for disaster warning and science, Stef Blok, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, noted that the CTBT had already provided a “wealth of knowledge about the arrival of monsoons, the impact of meteorites, the migration patterns of whales and eruptions of volcanoes. In itself, this discovery is a valuable lesson for humankind”.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto stated that he was “proud to host one of the stations of the CTBT’s global network, detecting nuclear tests and assisting in disaster warning across the globe”. He emphasised that “our common goal is a world free of nuclear weapons. The CTBT is a key contribution towards that end.”

In the video, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres and the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization, Dr Lassina Zerbo, also pledged their support to the CTBT in their official capacity.

Background information

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions, thus hampering both the initial development of nuclear weapons as well as significant enhancements (such as hydrogen bombs). The treaty also helps to prevent damage caused by nuclear testing to humans and the environment.

To date, the CTBT has been signed by 184 states and ratified by 168 (map). Its strict entry into force formula requires 44 particular “nuclear technology holder” states to ratify it in order to enter into force. Eight of them have yet to ratify: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the US (China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the US have already signed the treaty).

A verification regime to monitor the globe for nuclear explosions is nearing completion with over 90 percent of the 337 planned International Monitoring System facilities already in operation. The system has demonstrated what it is capable of by detecting each of the DPRK’s nuclear tests conducted since 2006.