Presentation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The international nuclear test ban regime under development is based on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has not yet entered into force, as well as on the verification regime associated with that treaty, which is being deployed, through an international monitoring system (IMS), on a provisional and proactive basis.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), together with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is now one of the pillars of the global architecture for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Historical background

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Negotiated between 1994 and 1996 and opened for signature on 24 September 1996, the CTBT has currently been signed by 183 States and ratified by 161 of them (count as at 31 July 2018). In order for the treaty to enter into force, the negotiators have defined a list of countries with nuclear capabilities whose ratification is essential (regardless of the number of States that have ratified the treaty elsewhere). These are the so-called Annex II States. As of 31 July 2018, eight States in this Annex II have not yet ratified the treaty: Iran, the United States, China, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea, the latter three countries also having to take the plunge into signature. It is also the only three remaining States that have conducted nuclear tests since 1998 (India and Pakistan in 1998, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2017).

Established in Vienna in 1997, the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is responsible for preparing for the entry into force of the treaty through the installation and development of techniques necessary for the monitoring and verification of any form of nuclear explosion worldwide.

The commitment of France in favor of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

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France recalls the urgency and the importance to ban all nuclear explosions as stated in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The two first articles of the treaty recall that:

1. 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.
2. 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.

France is the very first Nuclear Weapon State, along with the United Kingdom, to have signed the in 1996 and ratified in 1998 the CTBT. France is committed for the complete ban of nuclear tests, which is one of our first priorities in favor of nuclear disarmament. France calls on all States that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to do it promptly, in order to contribute to international peace and security, as recalled in the United Nations Security Council resolution 2310, adopted on 23 September 2016.

France is actively engaged in favor of nuclear disarmament:

  • as the very first State to have decided the closing and dismantling of its nuclear weapon grade material production facilities;
  • as the one and only nuclear weapon State to have dismantled, in a transparent way, its nuclear test site;
  • as the one and only State to have dismantled its nuclear ground-to-ground missiles;
  • as the one and only State to have voluntary reduced by a third its nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine;
  • as a country that has reduced by a third the total number of its nuclear weapons, missiles and aircrafts linked with the airborne component.

29 August: International Day against nuclear tests

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On 2 December 2009, the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution calls for increasing public awareness “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”. The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorating the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.

The Day is meant to galvanize the United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests for a safer world.

Since its establishment, many bilateral and multilateral governmental level developments as well as broad movements in civil society have helped to advance the cause of banning nuclear tests.

Every effort needs to be made to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT and to preserve its place in the international architecture. In this regard, the Secretary-General appeals to all remaining States whose ratifications are required for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to enter into force to commit to sign the Treaty promptly.

"The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has an essential role within the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. It fosters international peace and security by constraining the development of nuclear weapons. Our collective security demands that every effort should be made to bring this essential treaty into force."— UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.

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publié le 09/05/2019

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