Conference promoting entry into force
of the CTBT to take place in Vienna

10 August 2007 Conference promoting entry into force of the CTBT to take place in Vienna in September 2007

The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will take place at the former imperial palace (Hofburg) in Vienna 17-18 September 2007. The aim of the Conference is to promote the CTBT, to call upon States that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the Treaty without delay, and to find additional ways to promote the Treaty’s entry into force.

Particular attention is directed at the so-called Annex 2 States whose ratification is a precondition for the Treaty to enter into force. These States participated in the negotiations of the Treaty in 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. 34 out of 44 of these States have ratified the Treaty, including the three nuclear weapon States France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. The ten remaining States are China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States of America. 41 of the 44 Annex 2 States have signed the Treaty. The three remaining States are the DPRK, India and Pakistan.

Overall, the Treaty is close to universality with a total of 177 signatures and 139 ratifications.

The United Nations Secretary-General, as the Depository of the Treaty, has been requested by ratifying States to convene the Conference. All States, including State Signatories and States that have not yet signed the Treaty, are invited to participate in the Conference. Invitations have also been sent out to specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to attend the Conference as observers.

This Conference is often referred to as the "Article XIV Conference". The respective article in the CTBT states that a Conference to promote the Treaty may be held after three years if the Treaty has not yet entered into force at that time. Vienna hosted the first Article XIV Conference in 1999. Subsequently, three more Conferences were held: 2001 in New York, 2003 in Vienna and 2005 again in New York.

This year's Conference takes place at a time when the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO is experiencing serious budgetary challenges. According to most recent projections, the non-payment of assessed contributions will lead to a 2007 budget shortfall of US$ 29.1 million, which represents about a quarter of the organization's overall annual budget. In an effort to overcome this situation, the Commission is redoubling its efforts to encourage States Signatories to meet their financial obligations.

In the coming weeks, the CTBTO website will provide regular information updates on this year's Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT.