Experts Meet to Learn from CTBT Negotiation Process

From 13 to 14 June 2009, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) and the Process of International Negotiations Program (PIN) hosted an event titled “Evaluating the Process of the [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty] CTBT Negotiations.” The conference took place at the historic Schloss Laxenburg at Vienna, Austria, and focused on analyzing the CTBT's negotiations in order to investigate what techniques could be utilized to promote the Treaty and other arms control agreements in the future. 

The event was attended by a diverse group of academics and diplomats including Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, who served as Chair of the CTBT negotiations from 1993 to 1996, and who has served as the Special Representative to Promote the Ratification Process of the CTBT since 2003. While many topics were addressed, all presenters agreed that it is currently a crucial time for the CTBT, and that the Treaty’s future will be determined largely by the United States Senate.

Pierce Corden, Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, and Rudolf Avenhaus

Jaap Ramaker: Use lessons from the past

Ramaker discussed the factors surrounding the creation of the CTBT during its negotiations: ”Because nuclear negotiations centre on national security, they are extremely difficult to complete.” Prior commitments towards ending nuclear testing, such as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the Partial Test Ban Treaty paved the way for the creation of the CTBT, Ramaker stated. Individual moratoria on nuclear testing and the timetable created by the UN General Assembly Resolution 5065 were vital and acted as a catalyst for the creation of the CTBT. Ramaker maintained that many of the lessons of past CTBT negotiations could be used to promote the Treaty in the future.

Johnson: The Importance of Public Opinion

Schloss Laxenburg

Rebecca Johnson, executive director of the Acronym Institute, discussed the findings of her recently published book, “The Negotiation of the CTBT and the End of Nuclear Testing.” She emphasized the vital role that civil society plays in promoting non-proliferation and disarmament agreements. According to Johnson: “In CTBT negotiations, the role of big States was equally as important as public opinion.” This view was shared by Ramaker, who related how the nuclear test conducted by France in 1996 caused an increase in public opposition to nuclear testing that fueled the creation of the CTBT.

On-Site Inspections

The OSI inspection team led by Rebecca Johnson negotiates with the inspected state party delegation led by Ambassador Jaap Ramaker.

Member States of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will be able to request an On-Site Inspection (OSI) after the Treaty enters into force. In order to demonstrate the types of negotiations that would take place during an OSI, Mordechai Melamud, Chief of the Operation and Training Section of the CTBTO’s OSI  Division, and Paul Meerts of the Netherlands Institute for International Relations, conducted an OSI negotiation simulation. Two groups were created: the Inspection Team and the Inspected State Party. After lengthy discussions, both parties were able to arrive at a consensus on multiple issues. The successful simulation demonstrated that basic negotiating techniques can enhance the detecting abilities of an OSI.

Use the Political Momentum for Entry into Force

The conference highlighted the increase in international political momentum for the CTBT’s entry into force.  Determining the correct negotiating techniques for future discussions will be an important factor for promoting the signing and ratification of the Treaty in all countries that have yet to do so.

Nine countries have yet to ratify the Treaty to that effect: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and the United States, who have already signed the Treaty, whereas the DPRK, India and Pakistan who have not yet signed it. 180 States worldwide have signed the CTBT to date, of which 148 have ratified; see interactive map