Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)


The Conference on Disarmament (CD) - the single multilateral disarmament negotiating body - began its substantive negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear-test ban Treaty in January 1994 within the framework of an Ad Hoc Committee established for that purpose. Although the CD has long been involved with the issue of a test ban, only in 1982 did it establish a subsidiary body on the item, but disagreement over a mandate for that body blocked tangible progress for years.

After more than 2 years of intensive negotiations, a final draft treaty was presented by the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Ambassador Jaap Ramaker of the Netherlands, to the CD in June 1996. An overwhelming majority of Member States of the CD expressed their readiness to support the draft Treaty. India, for its part, stated that it could not go along with a consensus on the draft text and its transmittal to the United Nations General Assembly. The main reasons for such a decision, as India pointed out, were related to its strong misgivings about the provision on entry into force of the Treaty which is considered unprecedented in multilateral practice and running contrary to customary international law, and the failure of the Treaty to include a commitment by the nuclear-weapon States to eliminate nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework.

As a result, Australia, on 22 August 1996, requested that the General Assembly resume the consideration of agenda item 65, entitled Comprehensive test-ban treaty " as provided for in resolution 50/65 of 12 December 1995. For that purpose it also submitted the draft CTBT, identical to that negotiated in the CD, for adoption by the General Assembly (A/50/1027).

On 10 September, the General Assembly adopted a draft resolution, initiated by Australia and sponsored by 126 States, by a vote of 158 in favour, 3 against (Bhutan, India, Libya), with 5 abstentions (Cuba, Lebanon, Mauritius, Syria, Tanzania). By resolution (A/RES/50/245) the General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty and requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his capacity as Depositary of the Treaty, to open it for signature at the earliest possible date.

On 24 September 1996, a signing ceremony was held at United Nations Headquarters during which the United Nations Secretary-General declared the Treaty open for signature.(Statement by the Secretary-General at the opening ceremony)
As of 13 January 1998, 149 States have signed the Treaty and eight States have ratified it.

In accordance with Article XIV of the Treaty, it will enter into force after the following 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty have ratified it: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Viet Nam, Zaire. (The countries indicated in "italic" type have signed the Treaty.)

Text of the Treaty (A/50/1027)

The total number of Signatories: 149.
The total number of Ratifications: 8.

Future Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will be established upon entry into force of the Treaty. It will have its headquarters in Vienna, Republic of Austria. The objective of the Organization is to achieve the object and purpose of the Treaty, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with it, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among States Parties.

On 19 November 1996, the States Signatories of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty agreed to establish a Preparatory Commission for the Organization. The Preparatory Commission will carry out the necessary preparations for the effective implementation of the Treaty and prepare for the first session of the Conference of States Parties. States Signatories of the Treaty are members of the Commission.

The Preparatory Commission initiated its first session at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 20 to 22 November 1996. The Commission elected Jacob S. Selebi of South Africa as its Chairman for a six-month period, in accordance with the agreed principle of rotation among the six geographical regions. It adopted its agenda, the provisional rules of procedure, the provisional rules and regulations governing the financing of the Commission, and the provisional rules and regulations for the administration of the future provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO. The Commission also adopted the Host Country Agreement with the Government of Austria in connection with the future establishment of the Technical Secretariat, which will have its seat in Vienna.

The Preparatory Commission resumed its first session in Geneva from 3 to 7 March 1997 under the continued chairmanship of Ambassador Jacob S. Selebi of South Africa and took a series of decisions that will enable it to begin preparing for the effective implementation of the Treaty and for the convening of the first Conference of the States Parties once the Treaty enters into force.

The Commission decided, inter alia,:

On 18 March in Vienna, Ambassador Hoffmann , in his capacity as Executive Secretary, signed the Host Country Agreement jointly with the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, thus formalizing the establishment of the Provisional Technical Secretariat in Vienna, located in the same physical complex as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Below is the address for further information:

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom)
Provisional Technical Secretariat
Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 1200, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel: (43-1) 21345-6200
Fax: (43-1) 21345-5877