Issues related to the CTBT
Second Joint Ministerial Statement
On 23 September, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Finland, Japan and the Netherlands launched the second Joint Ministerial Statement in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the United Nations. Ministers from 66 countries associated themselves with the Joint Statement.1
In the Statement, the Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Treaty, which they maintained would rid the world of nuclear weapon test explosions and contribute to the systematic and progressive reduction of nuclear weapons and the prevention of nuclear proliferation as a major instrument in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Statement emphasized the essential role the Treaty could play in strengthening global peace and security as well as its contribution towards preventing the proliferation of materials, technologies and knowledge that could be used for nuclear weapons.
The Statement further welcomed the fact that a total of 172 States had signed the Treaty and that 115 States had ratified it. The Ministers called upon the States that had not yet signed and ratified the Treaty to do so as soon as possible, in particular those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force. They also called upon all States to continue a moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions; welcomed the progress that had been made in establishing the verification system and underlined their continued support for its completion and operation in the most efficient and cost-effective way as well as the promotion of technical cooperation to enhance verification capabilities under the Treaty. The Ministers appealed to all States to maximize their efforts to achieve a major step towards the Treaty's early entry-into-force.
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO)
On 21 October, in his statement to the General Assembly under the agenda item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization," Wolfgang Hoffman, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, reported on its activities. He concluded that eight years after its opening for signature, the CTBT was enjoying growing support and recognition by the international community as an important instrument in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
He noted that since its adoption in 1996, the CTBT had been signed by 173 States and ratified by 119, including 33 of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty whose ratification was required for its entry into force.
He reported steady progress in the establishment of the International Monitoring System (IMS), the worldwide network comprising 321 seismic, radionuclide, hydro-acoustic and infrasound monitoring stations and 16 radionuclide laboratories. Since over 55 per cent of the stations were operational, he was confident that the IMS could be completed within the next three to four years. He added that the current phase of testing and evaluation of the monitoring system showed promising results and that the system had already provided global coverage. He underlined that IMS stations were already transmitting raw data to the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna through the satellite-based Global Communications Infrastructure which connects the IDC to the 82 already established National Data Centres (NDCs) of States, and that the development of the draft On-site Inspection Manual continued to be a key task of the Preparatory Commission.
He presented an overview of the activities of the Provisional Secretariat of the Prep Com in 2004, including training courses for IMS station operators and the organization of international cooperation workshops as measures to enhance support for, and further participation in, the work of the Preparatory Commission. The Executive Secretary, taking into account the role assigned to the CTBT in the disarmament-related chapter of the Millennium Declaration, indicated that ratifying States of the CTBT might use the opportunity to hold the forthcoming CTBT Article XIV Conference in 2005 at the same time as the General Assembly deliberations on the Millennium Declaration.
On 22 October, the General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization."2
For the discussion and the voting, see the General Assembly section of this chapter.
A/59/550. This and all subsequent General Assembly documents are available from http://www.un.org/documents.