Statement by Minister Byrne at the UNSC Briefing on the CTBT
Statement27 September 2021
It is an honour to chair today’s meeting to mark 25 years since the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). This meeting is a reflection of the importance of the Treaty to global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Ireland is immensely proud of our longstanding and continuing contribution to multilateral nuclear disarmament, dating back to the early days of our UN membership when we put forward the Irish resolutions, which led to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
I thank High Representative Nakamitsu and Executive Secretary Floyd for joining us today. Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate you Dr Floyd on your election as Executive Secretary, and to express Ireland’s strong support for you and the work of the CTBTO.
I would also like to sincerely thank Magdalene Wanyaga for sharing her invaluable insights. Your perspectives and ideas on engaging and mentoring youth to make use of what the CTBT has to offer should inspire us. Over the past five years, the CTBTO Youth Group has reminded policy-makers and leaders of the responsibility we owe to this generation, and the next.
I recognise the Co-Chairs of the Article XIV for the successful Article XIV Conference last week and for the strong statement in support of the entry into force of the Treaty.
Today’s meeting allows us to reflect on the successes of the CTBT, over its twenty-five years, and to renew our collective efforts to pursue the entry into force and universalisation of this key Treaty.
The CTBT has 185 signatories and 170 ratifying States highlighting the strong global support for the Treaty.
It is an essential part of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture and has been crucial in establishing and upholding the international norm against nuclear testing.
Nuclear test explosions had been used to develop or modernise nuclear warhead designs and to demonstrate nuclear weapons capabilities.
These tests have affected the lives and health of generations of people around the globe. They also leave a lasting mark on the environment.
Since 1998, with one exception, all States have respected the strong de-facto international norm created by the CTBT and upheld moratoria on nuclear weapons testing.
Importantly, each of the handful of nuclear tests conducted since the CTBT’s opening for signature have been condemned by this Council, which has imposed sanctions in each case.
By prohibiting all nuclear testing, the CTBT inhibits states from developing new nuclear weapons. It is therefore an important step along the path to a world without nuclear weapons, with their devastating consequences for all of humanity.
I fully endorse the recent reiteration by President Biden and President Putin that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, an important recognition of the futility of nuclear weapons and the devastation that a nuclear war would bring.
Five years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the CTBT, this Council adopted Resolution 2310, which affirmed the importance of entry into force of the Treaty and the contribution this will make to international peace and security.
The Resolution repeated the statement of the five permanent Members of the Council that “a nuclear-weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT”. I encourage the five permanent Members to renew and reiterate their commitment to a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing.
The CTBT establishes a unique, comprehensive global verification regime, to monitor compliance. This comprises a global network of monitoring stations, the International Monitoring System (IMS), consisting of 337 seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radio-nuclide monitoring stations around the world.
The global verification regime has repeatedly proven that it works.
The IMS has also demonstrated tangential scientific and practical benefits by enhancing our capacity to detect, analyse and warn about seismic and tsunami activity.
In this way, the Treaty is already contributing significantly to disaster risk reduction and reducing humanitarian need.
The IMS has also made a very real contribution to regional stability as an important confidence-building measure, strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
This has all been achieved without the Treaty’s entry into force.
For Ireland, it is very clear that this Treaty can provide so much more following its entry-into-force, in cementing the international norm against testing and providing reassurances, providing confidence, based on the reliable and independent data offered by the verification regime, that no prohibited activities are being carried out.
I urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay, in particular each of the remaining eight States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty.
This 25th anniversary is an opportunity to demonstrate that the international community can work together, in pursuit of the common good.
Ireland firmly believes that the Treaty’s entry into force will be an important step along the path to a world without nuclear weapons.
We look forward to working with all partners to achieve this aim, as we have done every day since we first joined this United Nations organisation 65 years ago.