NPT PrepCom 2003 – Canadian Interventions on Disarmament Reporting

Tasneem Jamal

Ernie Regehr and Sarah Estabrooks

Second Prepcom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference

Reporting to NGOs on the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, April 28 – May 9, 2003.

Ernie Regehr and Sarah Estabrooks from Project Ploughshares attended the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference as members of the official Canadian delegation.  Sarah was present as the NGO representative on the delegation and Ernie as Advisor to the delegation.  They have submitted the following report on Canadian interventions at the PrepCom:

Mid-way through the second week of the PrepCom, more than 20 States (listed below) have submitted formal “reports” on their disarmament activities – a significant improvement over the previous year, and a matter of particular interest to Canadian NGOs promoting reporting to hold States accountable for the pace of their disarmament progress.

The reports respond to the decision, made at the 2000 Review Conference, that all States Party submit “regular reports” on their efforts to fulfill the Treaty’s disarmament obligations. That reporting requirement in turn flows from the 1995 indefinite extension of the Treaty, when “permanence with accountability” was recognized as central to ongoing Treaty implementation.

In January 2002 Canadian NGOs, in cooperation with DFAIT, convened a workshop to discuss the objective, frequency, structure, and scope of such reporting. Canada subsequently submitted working papers on reporting to the 2002 and 2003 PrepComs, encouraging the emergence of a culture of transparency and mutual accountability. It also called for the active use of reports to inform the discussions at the PrepComs and Review Conferences and to measure States’ compliance with their Treaty obligations.

The 2003 paper emphasizes the importance of getting more States to contribute reports. No specific format is prescribed, although it is observed that content has generally fallen into categories assessing general developments, national holdings and strategic policies, disarmament initiatives, diplomatic advocacy, commitments undertaken and declarations of compliance with the Treaty. Canada states that a “chief value of reports lies in their encouragement to all States Parties to be active participants in the implementation of the Treaty.”

Not all States have welcomed the emphasis on reporting, with nuclear weapons states (NWS) making a particular point of denying that they are under any special obligation to report. Even so, the UK, US and Russia provided fairly extensive statements, taking care not to call them formal reports, while France was less forthcoming and China even less so. All except China provided significant information on reductions in their nuclear arsenals over the past decade, and the US and Russia provided details of the Moscow Treaty. NWS reporting also included at least partial information on holdings, the operational status of weapons in their arsenals, and doctrine.

Canada’s report is an Article-by-Article account of its implementation efforts, emphasizing the inter-relatedness of all the provisions of the Treaty. Under Article VI, Canada reported that among other things it has welcomed the Moscow Treaty and that it “continues to believe that codification, verifiability, transparency and irreversibility are necessary to mark progress in the reduction of nuclear arsenals.” The report refers to Canada’s support for the New Agenda resolution at the UN General Assembly in 2002 and, among other things, notes that “Canada supports the reduced salience of nuclear weapons and the significant reduction of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, both conventional and nuclear, that has taken place since the end of the Cold War. Canada, as a member of NATO, continues to advocate that the Alliance play a positive role in advancing disarmament objectives, through a continuous step-by-step approach.”

The following States had submitted formal reports as of May 8: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Switzerland.

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