On Thursday 26 September 2013, the eve of the Eighth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a new initiative to advance the CTBT’s entry into force was launched. GEM, the Group of Eminent Persons, comprises no less than seventeen global leaders, senior political figures and high-ranking diplomats. Personalities like Hans Blix, Kevin Rudd, Nobuyasu Abe and Jayantha Dhanapala gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to support and complement efforts to promote the Treaty’s entry into force as well as reinvigorating international endeavours to achieve this goal.
With their wide-ranging expertise and experience, members of GEM will bring fresh impetus to the ongoing dialogue Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO’s Executive Secretary, said. Only two days ago, the CTBTO welcomed Ginuea-Bissau among the 160 States that have now ratified the CTBT, Mr Zerbo pointed out. He expressed the hope that Ginuea-Bissau’s ratification would lead others to follow suit. He also updated the group on the elaborate international monitoring system that the CTBTO has continued to develop.
China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States all have to join the CTBT for it to enter into force.
The CTBT bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. It makes it very difficult for countries to develop nuclear bombs for the first time, or for countries that already have them, to make more powerful bombs. It also prevents the huge damage caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 September 1996 and opened for signature on 24 September 1996. The UN Secretary-General is the depositary of the Treaty, and convenes, upon the request of a majority of ratifying states, the conferences on facilitating the entry into force of the Treaty.
The Members of GEM are:
- Nobuyasu Abe – Japan
- Hans Blix – Sweden
- Des Browne – United Kingdom
- Jayantha Dhanapala – Sri Lanka
- Cristian Diaconescu – Romania
- Wolfgang Hoffmann – Germany
- John Hutton – United Kingdom
- Igor Ivanov – Russian Federation
- Johannes Kyrle – Austria
- Ho-Jin Lee – Republic of Korea
- Xolisa Mabhongo – South Africa
- Federica Mogherini – Italy
- Marc Perrin de Brichambaut – France
- Kevin Rudd – Australia
- Ha Zukang Sha – China
- Héctor Timerman – Argentina
Ex Officio members:
- János Martonyi – Hungary
- Marty M. Natalegawa – Indonesia
Photos from the Event
Article and photographs by Elias Oberkirch