Project News

States Gather to Assess Effort to Bring CTBT Into Force: "Business as Usual" Will Not Do

In 1996, during the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations, some states insisted on a complex formula for entry into force. Article XIV of the treaty requires that forty-four specific states with nuclear reactors on their soil, listed in Annex II of the treaty, must ratify to trigger full implementation.

In response, other states insisted on a provision that allows for a conference of state parties every two years to exhort holdout states to sign, ratify, and develop a diplomatic strategy to accelerate entry into force.

On September 29, the 9th Article XIV Conference on Facilitating Entry Into Force was held at the United Nations in New York. The UN Secretary General and representatives from key states parties met and spoke in support of the treaty and its entry into force. Eight states listed in Annex II must still ratify, or sign and ratify, for entry into force: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida began the conference with strong statements discussing their goals to take a more aggressive approach over the next two years of their co-presidencies in efforts to bring the CTBT into force. Idrissov warned delegates he would be aggressive or even “undiplomatic,” in his attempts to push for a legally binding nuclear test ban, noting that as states that have suffered from nuclear detonations, “Japan and Kazakhstan have the moral right to be aggressive.” 

Group of Eminent Persons Calls for Fortified Multilateral Effort for the CTBT

Today, August 29, is the UN’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests, a day meant to encourage governments, academic institutions, and the general public to advocate for the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests.

Ahead of this important remembrance day, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) hosted the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) in Hiroshima on August 24 and 25, where the members of GEM adopted the Hiroshima Declaration.

GEM members, a group of former and current high level government officials and internationally recognized experts and academics, were brought together by CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in 2013 to promote the CTBT’s entry into force. Members of GEM had previously met in Stockholm in April 2014, and in Seoul in June 2015.

Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) Meets in Seoul June 25-26

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) reported that the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) met in Seoul on June 25 and 26 to “rally support for the for the Treaty’s entry into force and to highlight the threat posed by nuclear weapons testing.”

The Group of Eminent Persons was established on September 26, 2013, and its members include current and former foreign ministers, prime ministers, defense ministers, and diplomatic leaders from all over the world. As previously reported by the Project for the CTBT, the GEM met in Stockholm on April 10-11, 2014.

The South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se opened the meeting by discussing how “it is crucial to prioritize the entry into force of the CTBT.” Byung-se also indicated that South Korea would host a “special high-level meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the CTBT in 2016,” to promote entry into force of the CTBT.

Pakistan Reiterates Pledge to Not Resume Testing

According to a June 3 joint statement by U.S. and Pakistan at the seventh round of the U.S.-Pakistan Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP) Working Group, Pakistan reaffirmed it’s support for Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) related resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly, and confirmed the stance that Pakistan will not be the first nation in the region to conduct a nuclear test.

To date, Pakistan has conducted two nuclear tests, on May 28 and May 30, 1998. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later affirmed that the tests had been carried out in reaction to India’s nuclear tests earlier that month.

NNSA Experiments With New Nuclear Test Detection Tools

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently led an experiment designed to improve the United States’ ability to detect underground nuclear explosions using conventional and advanced detection technology. This experiment was the fourth in a series of experiments conducted since 2011.

The experiment tested many detection tools, such as: high-resolution accelerometers, infrasound, seismic, explosive performance, electromagnetic, ground-based LIDAR (light detection and ranging), digital photogrammetry data, and satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR).

NPT States Parties Express Support for Entry Into Force

On April 27, the States Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) began their month-long review of the treaty since the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Over the first few days of the conference, dozens of states and groups of states expressed their strong support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and of the full development of the verification regime. Excerpts are available online.

Multinational Workshop in Israel Evaluates IFE14 Results

Following the CTBTO's Nov. 3 to Dec. 9, 2014 Integrated Field Exercise (IFE14) in Jordan's Dead Sea region, experts from around the world and across the Middle East gathered in Ramat-Gan, Israel from April 12-16 for the first of two workshops to evaluate the results.

Around 100 experts specializing in nuclear physics, geophysics, seismology, communication, health, safety, and verification-related areas from 30 countries participated.

Japan and Kazakhstan to Co-Chair Next Article XIV Conference

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Erland Idrissov will lead the next Article XIV Conference to take place September 29, 2015 in New York. Japan and Kazakhstan were unanimously nominated at a meeting of member states to lead the international efforts to implement the CTBT for a period of two years, beginning with the September Article XIV Conference.

Article XIV of the CTBT stipulates that if the CTBT has not entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature (1996), member states may request to hold a conference every two years to discuss what measures can be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT. This year's conference will be the ninth Article XIV conference to be held since the first one in 1999.

Japan and Kazakhstan take over the Article XIV Presidency from Hungary and Indonesia, whose foreign ministers chaired the Article XIV Conference in 2013.