20 Years Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): Ministerial Meeting at VIC

Published: June 20, 2016; 17:30 · (Vindobona)

Marking the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a Ministerial Meeting was held at Vienna International Center. Hosting some 40 international organizations, Austria is a hub for the promotion of peace, safety and security, sustainable development and the fight against crime, drug abuse and terrorism.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): Participation Types / Picture: © Wikipedia / Canuckguy et al.

“The world must ban nuclear tests once and for all and put the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into effect. I very much regret that this treaty has not yet entered into force as eight ratifications are still outstanding. Both the global verification system and the organisation itself stand ready to assume their mandated tasks. A universal and effective CTBT is indeed of the utmost importance to international safety and security”, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz stressed in his opening speech.

Austria is particularly active in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“Austria is proud of hosting the CTBTO in Vienna, and all the more so as the organisation plays a core role in Austria’s efforts aimed at a world free of nuclear weapons”, Sebastian Kurz stressed.

Vienna has developed into a venue for international dialogue. Not only were the nuclear negotiations with Iran successfully completed in Vienna in 2015, but the city also hosts a number of other relevant major conferences.

Held in Vienna in autumn 2014, for instance, the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was successfully completed with the adoption of the “Humanitarian Pledge”, which has already been signed by 128 states.

According to a survey prepared by Ernst & Young, Vienna as home and headquarters to international organisations is also a very relevant economic factor.

Some 6,000 staff from all over the world, one quarter of which are Austrians, work with these international organisations.

For the Austrian economy, the aggregate demand generated by the annual expenditure of approximately 725 million euros translates into a positive impact of some 1.4 billion euros.

According to estimates, the advertising effect generated by the successful completion of the nuclear negotiations with Iran in Vienna in July 2015 and the Syria talks that have been held in Vienna since autumn 2015, ranges at around 100 million euros.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is the UN organisation that monitors adherence to the treaty, verifying whether states carry out nuclear weapons tests. The objective pursued under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is a global ban on all forms of nuclear tests.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996[1] but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty yet.

Obligations under the CTBT

Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

The Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996.

It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states.

As of March 2015, 164 states have ratified the CTBT and another 19 states have signed but not ratified it.

The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These "Annex 2 states" are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time.

As of 2015, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it.

Three countries have tested nuclear weapons since the CTBT opened for signature in 1996. India and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998. North Korea carried out four announced tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and 2016. All four North Korean tests were picked up by the International Monitoring System set up by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission. A North Korean test is believed to have taken place in January 2016, evidenced by an "artificial earthquake" measured as a magnitude 5.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey.