First Canadian Peace Organization Report on the NPT Review Conference Print
Peace News
Thursday, 05 May 2005 01:54
First Canadian Peace Organization Report on the NPT Review Conference

The NPT Conference meets at a time when the Treaty faces pressures from
potential proliferators and the compliance record of several non-nuclear
weapons states is in question. At the same time, the nuclear weapons states retain their arsenals, the policies to use them, and programs to upgrade them.
Despite these challenges, the member states parties have not yet agreed to an
agenda for the meeting to enable them to commence substantive work. This prevents the conference from moving to the work of the main committees, where more detailed substantive work takes place. In the meantime, platitudes and declarations are all we're hearing. Report 1: Canada's Opening Statement

The meeting of governments for the seventh Review Conference of the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) commenced May 2 in New
York. But on Sunday May 1st, some 40,000 citizens joined in a march to
Central Park, calling for abolition of nuclear weapons and no more nuclear
excuses for war.

This Review Conference is characterized by the strong presence of
non-governmental participants, with 1752 individual NGO representatives
accredited for the conference, including a large Japanese delegation with
many Hibakusha, and mayors from countries all over the world as part of the
Mayors for Peace delegation. There are 12 representatives of Canadian NGOs
in attendance, from the Canadian Peace Alliance, Voice of Women for Peace,
Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, Lawyers for Social
Responsibility, York University, the Middle Powers Initiative, and
Ploughshares Calgary. The Canadian government delegation includes Ernie
Regehr of Project Ploughshares as Expert Advisor, and Bev Delong of Lawyers
for Social Responsibility as NGO representative (in weeks three and four).
The Hon. Douglas Roche serves on the delegation of the Holy See.

The Review Conference has opened with a general debate featuring statements by states parties, with many Ministers of Foreign Affairs delivering
statements on behalf of their governments. Canada's statement was delivered
by Jim Wright, Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on Monday
afternoon. The statement is available at:

http://reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/RevCon05/GDstatements/Canada.pdf


The Canadian statement outlined Canada's approach to the Review Conference, and its hopes for a 'successful' outcome. This strategy prioritizes a
substantive and balanced outcome, an end to complacency about the current
state of affairs, and concrete measures to advance each of the three Treaty
objectives: non-proliferation, disarmament and for non-nuclear weapons
states in compliance with Treaty obligations, access to nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes.


Canada reiterated its regular calls for an end to the deadlock in the
Conference on Disarmament and a return to work there; the entry into force
of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, particularly by those states whose
ratifications are conditions of entry into force; and compliance with the
International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards including the Additional
Protocol for strengthened safeguards. These measures are all included in the
text of the 2000 Final Document, and Canada called for progress on already
agreed obligations.


In addition, Canada put forward several proposals to address the crisis of
credibility in the Treaty. At the core of this proposal is a series of
measures to deal with the Treaty's 'institutional deficit', or the
limitations inherent in its structure. Canada proposed an annual one week
Meeting of States Parties to provide a regular policy forum and an ability
to call emergency meetings when necessary, requiring a standing bureau to
call such meetings.


Two additional elements of this accountability agenda were put forward,
including the submission of regular reports by all states parties, and the
participation by all levels of civil society in Treaty reviews. Canada's
particular interpretation of the reporting mandate holds that states report
on ALL articles of the Treaty, "Based on the intertwined nature of the three
pillars and our conviction that all States Parties are responsible for
promoting the implementation of the entire Treaty." Transparency is
described by Canada as an "essential contribution to confidence-building,
and we need to restore confidence in the NPT community."


The States Parties are meeting at a time when the NPT faces pressures from
potential proliferators and the compliance record of several non-nuclear
weapons states is in question, while the nuclear weapons states retain
nuclear weapons, the policies to use them, and programs to upgrade them.
Despite these challenges, the states parties have not yet agreed to an
agenda for the meeting to enable them to commence substantive work. Absence of agreement on an agenda, prevents the conference from moving to the work of the main committees, where more detailed substantive work takes place. In the meantime, platitudes and declarations are all we're hearing.


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2005 01:54