Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Entry Into Force Conference

New York, 11-13 November 2001


     One result of the 11 September attacks on the United States was the postponement of the CTBT Conference to 11–13 November 2001 to coincide with the general debate of the 56th session of the General Assembly. Of paramount importance was to use the leverage of as many high level government officials as possible to gather momentum to bring the Treaty, signed in 1996 but not yet ratified, into legal effect.

Conference adopts Final Declaration

     The Conference succeeded in adopting a final declaration that “reiterated that the cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions, by constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, constitutes an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects and is thus a meaningful step in the realization of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.” The Declaration also called upon all States that have not yet done so to sign or ratify the Treaty as soon as possible. The States parties also expressed their renewed commitment to work towards universal ratification of the Treaty and its early entry into force. 

     Consistent with the United States Senate’s refusal to ratify the Treaty in October 1999, the United States did not attend the Conference. Its absence followed a surprise move during the First (Disarmament and International Security) Committee, when it requested a vote on a procedural motion to retain the CTBT as an agenda item of next year’s Assembly and then cast the sole negative vote (Decision 56/416 with a vote of 161 in favour, one against and no abstentions).

     The current United States Administration has announced its intentions to continue its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing in force since 1992.

     Three nuclear-weapon States—France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom—have already ratified the Treaty, while China has not, though it has kept its unilateral moratorium on nuclear weapons explosions in place. India and Pakistan have also announced unilateral moratoriums and stated that they would sign the Treaty, though neither has done it so far. Israel has signed but not ratified the Treaty.