1. On the 20th anniversary of the opening for the signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), we, the members of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a diverse cross-regional grouping of non-nuclear weapon states – Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – reaffirm our strong commitment to strengthening the nuclear test ban regime, including its early entry into force as well as to advancing global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
2. The CTBT has long been a goal of the international community as enshrined in the Preamble of the NPT. For the last twenty years, the CTBT has underpinned the global norm against nuclear testing and developed a world-class verification system which allows real-time monitoring across the globe. The commitment of the international community to the objectives of the CTBT and its early entry into force is well established.
3. In this context, we recall that only the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has conducted nuclear tests in this century. The widespread condemnations, including ours, in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on 6 January 2016 are testament to the normative strength of the Treaty.
4. The NPDI calls for each of the eight remaining Annex 2 states to sign and/or ratify the CTBT without waiting for others to do so first and thus contribute to building mutual trust. In order to support defusing regional tensions, regionally coordinated ratification could also be considered. Entry into force of the CTBT is an achievable, essential step towards global disarmament that can and should take place without delay.
5. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, we call on all States to acknowledge and continue the global de facto moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions and refrain from any action that would undermine the CTBT’s object and purpose.
6. On this occasion, we express our strong concern that the CTBT still has not entered into force after twenty years. We stress the importance of all countries which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay.
7. Although valuable, a voluntary moratorium on nuclear test explosions is however no substitute for a permanent and legally-binding commitment to end nuclear testing and all other nuclear explosions. This can only be achieved by the entry into force of the CTBT.
8. The NPDI fully supports the Article XIV process aimed at facilitating the early entry into force of the Treaty, and is committed to the declarations issued at Article XIV Conferences.
9. We commend the accomplishments of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO), in particular, its strong progress in establishing the International Monitoring System (IMS) and International Data Centre at the core of the CTBT’s verification regime.
10. The system has proved its effectiveness by detecting North Korea’s nuclear tests, as well as its value for civil and scientific uses by strengthening tsunami warnings and other disaster alerts internationally. Therefore, we encourage states that have not yet done so to complete the IMS stations in their territories as soon as possible and, furthermore, encourage states that have not yet joined the CTBT to support the IMS.
11. The NPDI reaffirms our commitment to support the completion of the verification regime and urges all State signatories to do likewise. International cooperation in readying all elements of the CTBT’s verification regime includes the establishment of all remaining IMS stations, the contribution and analysis of data by National Data Centres, establishment of an effective On-Site Inspection capability and support for exercises that build awareness of, and confidence in, all aspects of the CTBT’s verification regime.
12. The NPDI sees nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as mutually-reinforcing processes. The CTBT advances both. A permanent and legally-binding commitment to end nuclear weapons testing and all other nuclear explosions is in the overwhelming interests of all countries. In this context, the NPDI is ready to work with Article XIV Co-coordinators in considering practical options expressed in their December 2015 Action Plan for firmly establishing the norm against nuclear testing in a manner consistent with international law.
13. The NPDI is committed to realizing the early entry into force of the CTBT and will continue to work tirelessly to this end. Entry into force of the CTBT is an essential step and we implore all countries to join us in this endeavour.