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.

The GEM will be meeting again in Hiroshima in late August.

Further information about the GEM can be found here. An official summary of their meeting is available online (PDF) and below.

Seoul Declaration
By the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM)
June 25-26 2014

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 Seoul on 25-26 June 2015, at the invitation of Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

The GEM considered the current status of the CTBT, discussed ways to advance the Treaty’s entry into force and assessed international developments, particularly the situation in the Korean Peninsula and the implications for disarmament, regional peace and security.

The GEM* adopted the Seoul Declaration:

Bearing in mind that any use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic to our human society,

Stressing the duty of all states to cooperate to solve controversies peacefully,

Further stressing the need to reverse present trends to rearmament and to respond to universal ever stronger demands for a world free from nuclear weapons,

Deeply concerned that the CTBT has not entered into force two decades after its opening for signature despite being signed by 183 and ratified by 164 states constituting the vast majority of the world,

Recognizing that despite the fact that it has yet to enter into force, the CTBT has become the de facto global norm,

Commending the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) for the great progress that has been achieved in the build-up, testing and successful operationalization of the Treaty’s verification regime: The International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Centre (IDC) and On-Site Inspections (OSI),

Recognizing the need to make these accomplishments more widely known,

Noting the unequivocal support expressed at the recent 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by States Parties to the CTBT and its entry into force,

And recognizing the ever present risk of backsliding by states parties to the CTBT in response to the delay in the entry into force of the CTBT,

The GEM declares:

1. It is in the interest of all States that no further nuclear tests occur. Such tests may trigger other tests, exacerbate tensions and pose dangers to peace and stability at the regional and international levels.

2. The CTBT is the central legal instrument through which all states can and should manifest their commitment to refrain from nuclear testing, and thereby help strengthen non-proliferation and the process of disarmament and international peace and security.

3. In order to bring the CTBT into force, to achieve a reliable end to all nuclear testing and to raise much needed new hope for disarmament and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, all Annex 2 States that have not yet done so should sign and ratify the Treaty without delay. Whatever benefit any one of them may perceive in not being legally bound by the Treaty, is greatly outweighed by the risk that other states could use the absence of a legally-binding test-ban to undertake a test.

4. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the only Annex 2 State to have violated the non-testing norm in the twenty first century, having conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Most recently, the nuclear test conducted on 12 February 2013 caused great international concern as expressed by the United Nations Security Council in Res. 2094 (2013). In order to avoid further endangering peace in Northeast Asia, the DPRK is urged to sign and ratify the Treaty and refrain from undertaking any further tests.

5. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, the GEM calls on all States to maintain the voluntary moratorium on nuclear test explosions and refrain from any action that would defeat the objective and purpose of the Treaty.

6. The Group of Eminent Persons renews its resolve to promote the entry into force of the CTBT at the national, regional and global levels.

*The following members of the Group of Eminent Persons were in attendance at the Seoul GEM Meeting: Hans Blix, former 1 Director General of the IAEA; Des Browne, Vice-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Rachmat Budiman, Ambassador of Indonesia to the CTBTO, Ambassador Gabor Csaba, Ambassador of Hungary to the Republic of Korea, Cristian Diaconescu, Former Chief of Staff and Adviser to the President of Romania; Sérgio de Queiroz Duarte, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary Emeritus of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO; Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Ho-jin Lee, Principal Vice-President of the United Nations Association of the Republic of Korea; Sha Zukang, former UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs; and, Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO.