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Seminario CTBT per i diplomatici di New York

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al seminario CTBT per i Diplomatici di New York —


dear colleagues,

ladies and gentlemen,

it is indeed a pleasure to be here today to participate in this seminar.

As you know, Italy has been appointed as Chair of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission for the year 2018 and we are fully engaged in constructively collaborating with the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) and all States Signatories, in a climate of mutual support, with a view to pursuing our common goal, i.e. the universalization and ultimate entry into force of the CTBT.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a major building block of the current multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, having as its cornerstone the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), its universalization and the interdependence of its three pillars (disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy).

At the foundation of this architecture lies the idea that the goal of a nuclear-weapons-free world, i.e. the so called ultimate goal of a “global zero”, can be reached gradually, through a series of concrete and progressive steps, aimed at enhancing mutual confidence and at furthering the perception of a solid international security.

Confidence-building measures that support arms control, non-proliferation and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction are extremely important as they help to overcome lack of trust and to reinforce international cooperation.

There is no doubt that such confidence-building measures also include the entry into force of the “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty”, which entails “the cessation of all nuclear weapons test explosions and all other nuclear explosions”, as set in the preamble of the Treaty.

By banning any kind of nuclear testing and providing the world with a truly global, hi-tech monitoring system for nuclear explosions, the Treaty prevents the possibility of developing nuclear bombs or of acquiring more powerful ones. It also prevents the huge damage that radioactivity may cause to the environment and to mankind.

The relevance of the CTBT for and the contribution of its Organization to the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament are widely acknowledged. The call for the entry into force of the Treaty is an evident proof of this.

Today, in an international scenario where nuclear threats give rise to renewed tensions, we cannot afford to relent on our efforts towards the universalization of the CTBT and, ultimately, its entry into force. Quite the reverse.

If, in the meantime, the determination of all relevant States to abide by their respective moratoria on nuclear tests is essential, Italy as Chair of the Preparatory Commission plans to continue to advocate for a prompt signature and ratification of the CTBT by those States that have not yet done so.

Signatory and Ratifying States need to feel a strong sense of ownership and involvement with respect to the Treaty and to work in order to engage non-Signatories. Each and every State, indeed, needs to feel to be part of a common project, a project that is to everybody’s advantage. To this end, it is key to further spread the awareness of the CTBT’s political relevance and practical usefulness.

At the same time it is also crucial to keep supporting the completion of the CTBT verification regime from an operational viewpoint. This can only be achieved through an active collaboration between States Signatories and the PTS, aimed at ensuring the timely installation, certification and technical updating of International Monitoring System stations worldwide and also at providing the PTS with the necessary funds to ensure the continuous improvement of its monitoring capacity. The invaluable role of the CTBTO and of its Monitoring System was indeed once again proved by its data on the DPRK’s latest activities, which enabled the international community to respond appropriately and swiftly.

It is against this general backdrop that the PrepCom Chair has started to discuss with the PTS and the CTBTO membership some ideas and proposals, with a view to working together to support the universalization of the Treaty and to give the Organization’s importance and visibility fresh momentum.

Several outreach activities are being discussed, so as to pursue a tighter coordination among Vienna, Geneva and New York. We are thus trying to organize some specific events during the Conference on Disarmament and on the margins of the second NPT PrepCom in Geneva. Along the same lines, it would be useful to take advantage of the 9th CTBTO Ministerial Meeting that will take place in New York in September, to carry out some outreach activities targeting civil society, with specific reference to young people, academia and scientists, but also NGOs working for disarmament. We also plan to get in contact with the newly established Group of Governmental Experts (UNGA Resolution 71/67), which will convene in Geneva in 2018 and 2019 and has the task of considering the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament, to highlight the contribution provided by the CTBT verification regime.

From a technical viewpoint, we need to work to expand civil and scientific benefits of the verification regime and to continue offering capacity building opportunities to States Signatories. At the same time, the interaction between the PTS and organizations from States Signatories dealing with natural and environmental hazards could lead to a synergistic approach that would aid the completion of the verification regime. On the same line, strengthening the cooperation between the PTS and National Data Centers (NDC) as well as the NDC-to-NDC cooperation would provide valuable feedback to the International Data Center in the process of event characterization.

Excellencies, dear colleagues,

the current threats to global peace and security make it more important and pressing than ever to renew all efforts towards the universalization and ultimate entry into force of the CTBT.

Our shared commitment towards this end is crucial. Each and every one of us has a role to play in this respect.

I invite all of you to work together to turn political momentum into action and, eventually, reality.

Thank you.