NGOs Urge Reinforcing the Norm Against Nuclear Testing

Noting that CTBT entry into force is, unfortunately, still many years away, a number of U.S.-based NGOs are actively pursuing a campaign aimed at UN Security Council members and other “Friends of the CTBT” states to pursue a non-binding UN Security Council resolution and a parallel UN General Assembly measure to reinforce the norm against testing.

On Feb. 11, the Arms Control Association and the Stimson Center co-hosted an event to explain the rationale for such an initiative. At the event (video and transcript of which is available online) they recommend support for a non-binding resolution that:

  • Calls on all states to refrain from testing and calls upon those states that have not ratified the CTBT to do so at the earliest possible time;
  • Declares that the conduct of a nuclear test explosion would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT; and
  • Underscores the need for a continuous, real-time global nuclear test monitoring capability to detect, identify, and locate nuclear test explosions, and recognizes the vital contributions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, including the International Monitoring System and International Data Centre.

In light of: North Korea’s latest nuclear test explosion, the central importance of the CTBT to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and nonproliferation, and the ongoing efforts by several nuclear-armed states to improve their capabilities, the time is right to take this initiative, explained Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center.

Like UN Security Council Resolution 1887, the speakers argued, this initiative would have tremendous political value. It would reaffirm support for the CTBT by key P5 states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), reinforce the global norm against testing in the years ahead, and possibly stimulate action toward ratification by key holdout states.