13th Article XIV Conference renews efforts for CTBT's entry into force

At the Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, commonly known as Article XIV Conference (AFC), global leaders reaffirmed their commitment to making the CTBT legally binding on an international scale and bringing an end to nuclear testing once and for all.

High-level representatives from CTBT States Signatories and ratifiers gathered for the biennial Conference on 22 September to discuss concrete measures to promote the Treaty's universal adoption.

Speaking at the 13th AFC held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, delivered a message on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres.

“In today’s climate of growing nuclear danger, I call on all States that have previously declared moratoriums on nuclear testing to reaffirm those moratoriums and to take immediate steps to sign and/or ratify the CTBT. I call on States to learn from history rather than revert to it. Let us champion progress over regression."

Her words were echoed by the CTBTO Executive Secretary, Robert Floyd.
“Without universality, there is a sense of unfinished business. We are all here today not just to acknowledge this unfinished business. But to do what we can to move towards getting that business completed.”

Floyd delivered his address following speeches by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Norway and Panama, the incoming co-presidents for the Article XIV Conference, who play a crucial role in galvanising political support for universalisation of the Treaty.

Despite having the backing of the international community, the CTBT must be ratified by all 44 States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty to enter into force. These countries participated in the negotiation of the CTBT from 1994 to 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at that time.

Eight Annex 2 States have not ratified the Treaty, including China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the United States of America, all of which have signed. Additionally, North Korea, India, and Pakistan have neither signed nor ratified.

Delegates from three of these States voiced their support for the CTBT. They included Shuang Geng, China's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Amr Essam, Counselor, the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the UN, and Bonnie Jenkins, the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

In her statement, Jenkins remarked: “The CTBT is not an abstract concept for a theoretical world; it is a firm and certain step towards peace, towards reason, and towards the security of our own citizens and all peoples of the world… There are many challenges between us and entry into force - it requires focus by all of us to overcome these challenges.”

In addition to States Signatories & ratifiers, an Observer State, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations attended the Conference.

Article XIV Conference Final Declaration

Conference participants negotiated and issued a joint declaration, urging the remaining eight Annex 2 States to "sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay."

The Final Declaration characterised the Treaty as a "multilateral instrument for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation" and called upon "all States to maintain all existing moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions." However, it underlined that these steps “do not have the same permanent and legally binding effect to end nuclear weapon testing and all other nuclear explosions, which can only be achieved with the entry into force of the Treaty.”

The Declaration also outlined a series of concrete measures to be taken, including supporting outreach initiatives, and encouraging the remaining Annex 2 States to provide information on practical steps towards signing and/or ratifying the CTBT.

Understanding Article XIV Conference

Under Article XIV of the CTBT, States convene every two years to deliberate on measures designed to accelerate the ratification process and promote the CTBT's entry into force.

Article XIV Conferences consistently produce final documents, demonstrating strong international support for the Treaty. Additionally, these Conferences serve as a platform to update participating States, agencies, and organizations about the progress made by the CTBT's verification regime in its efforts to detect nuclear weapons test explosions.

Today, 27 years since the CTBT opened for signature, the international consensus against nuclear testing is stronger than ever with 187 signatures and 178 ratifications.

Following the 2021 Article XIV Conference, which coincided with the CTBT's 25th Anniversary, The Gambia, Tuvalu, Dominica, Timor-Leste, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka successfully completed their ratification processes – with Somalia signing the Treaty earlier in September.

To view statements from conference speakers, please click here and then scroll down to the List of Speakers.

Flickr Photo Album: 13th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT

2023 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty United Nations, New York

(Left to right) UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, Panama's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, Norway's Foreign Minister, Anniken Huitfeldt and CTBTO head Robert Floyd

High Representative Nakamitsu delivering opening statement

Delegates listening to delivery of statements at Article XIV Conference in New York

Norway’s Huitfeldt, in-coming co-president of Article XIV Conference speaking from stage

Tewaney Mencomo, in-coming co-president of Article XIV Conference, addressing audience

Final Declaration negotiated and issued by Conference participants