NPT PrepCom welcomes Cuba and Timor Leste

Concerned about Slow Pace of Nuclear Disarmament

Slow progress towards nuclear disarmament was on the minds of many delegates at the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT PrepCom). The PrepCom's first two sessions sought to consider principles, objectives and ways to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality.

The Committee devoted most of its work to discussions on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and international security; nuclear-weapon-free zones and safeguards; and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the safety and security of peaceful nuclear programmes. Time was also allotted for consideration of the resolution adopted by the 1995 Review Conference on the Middle East and the outcome of the 2000 Review Conference.

Special attention was also given to negative security assurances. The 2000 NPT Review Conference had requested that the Preparatory Committee make recommendations to the 2005 Review Conference on the subject.

Reports by States parties increase

With regard to reporting on the implementation of Article VI and principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament", 28 reports were submitted to the second session, compared to 11 reports received at the first session. Discussions continued on the nature and mDDAlities of reporting.

Further to a request by States parties, the Chairman, László Molnár of Hungary, raised the notion of initiating increased interaction among States parties through spontaneous dialogue outside the formal presentation of statements. The Committee concluded with the adoption of a report on its work that included the Chairman's summary.

Representatives from 106 States parties participated in the work of the second session. Following its accession to the Treaty in November 2002, Cuba participated in the Committee's work for the first time as a State party. States parties also welcomed the accession to the Treaty by Timor Leste, which had celebrated its independence on 20 May 2002.

The third session of the Preparatory Committee will be held from 26 April to 7 May 2004 in New York. At that session, the Preparatory Committee is mandated to make every effort to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the 2005 NPT Review Conference. Pursuant to an agreement reached at the first session, the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty will nominate a candidate for the chairmanship of the third session.

Civil society participation

A total of 152 representatives from 37 NGOs attended the second session as observers. On 30 April, a meeting was devoted to 11 presentations by NGO representatives.

A working paper was presented by Canada, acknowledging the role of NGOs in supporting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and stressing the relevance of increased NGO participation in the NPT Review Conferences and their preparatory processes. The paper lays out options on how NGO participation in the NPT review process could be made more effective and beneficial to the process. Options include intervention in plenary meetings and cluster debates; timely access to all official documentation; joint sponsorship of consultations, dialogues, panel discussions and briefings with the Conference Secretariat, DDA and States parties; and inclusion of NGO advisors in national delegations.

Education

A working paper presented by Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland and Sweden addressed the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation education. The paper stressed that the Preparatory Committee should encourage Governments, the United Nations and other international organizations, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to include information on the NPT in their education and training programmes, including the outcome of the NPT Review Conferences and the work by States parties to implement the Treaty. The co-sponsors will present a more detailed working paper on the issue at the PrepCom’s third session.