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.

A full list of GEM members is available here, and a list of those who attended the Hiroshima meeting is also available.

The GEM’s Hiroshima Declaration calls for “a multilateral approach to engage the leadership of the remaining eight Annex 2 states with the aim of facilitating their respective ratification processes.”

The following is the text of the GEM declaration from Hiroshima:

Hiroshima Declaration of the Group of Eminent Persons for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

The Group of Eminent Persons (GEM), established in 2013 to support and complement efforts for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), met in Hiroshima on 24-25 August 2015, at the invitation of Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on behalf the Government of Japan.

The GEM took stock of the Plan of Action agreed in its meetings in New York, Stockholm and Seoul. The Group considered the current international climate and determined that, with the upcoming 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, there is an urgency to unite the international community in support of preventing the proliferation and further development of nuclear weapons with the aim of their total elimination.

The GEM adopted the Hiroshima Declaration:

Gathering here in Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb was dropped for the first time in human history 70 years ago, immediately followed by the atomic bombing in Nagasaki,

Witnessing the catastrophic human consequences of an atomic bombing that last even to this present day, and being touched very deeply by the testimonies of atomic bomb survivors(Hibakusha) at our visit to the Hiroshima Peace Museum,

Convinced of the critical importance of multilateralism in arms control and international security to address complex and multi-layered challenges in the 21st century,

Concerned that the prohibition of nuclear test explosions, as set forth in the CTBT, one of the world’s most broadly supported arms-control treaties, remains at risk every day that passes without the Treaty’s entry into force,

Recognizing that bringing the CTBT into force is a global responsibility and that failure to take effective action renders questionable the ability of the international community to enter into negotiations of any kind in good faith in the future, and the viability of international treaty law,

Reaffirming our commitment to achieving the global elimination of nuclear weapons and, in particular, to the entry into force of the CTBT as one of the most essential practical measures for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,

Mindful of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their call for world leaders to visit their cities, the safety and security of our individual countries and of the future of humankind and bearing in mind the legacy of more than 2,000 nuclear weapon test explosions, the GEM:

1. Declares its commitment to focused efforts in a coordinated and concerted manner with the CTBT’s Article XIV co-presidents to achieve the CTBT’s entry into force, and to actively engage non-ratifying States and non-signatories in securing the Treaty’s universalization,

2. Urges the remaining eight Annex 2 States, whose ratification is necessary for the entry into force of the CTBT, to urgently sign and ratify the Treaty, without waiting for other States to do so,

3. Calls for a multilateral approach to engage the leadership of the remaining eight Annex 2 States with the aim of facilitating their respective ratification processes,

4. Also calls upon political leaders, governments, civil society, and the international scientific community to raise awareness of the essential role of the CTBT in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and in the prevention of the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons for humankind,

5. Calls upon the international community to continue its political, financial and technical support to enable the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO to complete all its tasks,

6. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, reaffirms the importance of maintaining the existing moratoria on nuclear test explosions and refraining from any action that could defeat the objective and purpose of the CTBT,

7. Calls upon the DPRK to join the international community’s efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by refraining from conducting any further nuclear tests, among other steps,

8. Affirms its resolve to use every opportunity to promote the entry into force and universalization of the CTBT at the national, regional and global levels.