Australia National Statement
to the 49th Session of the CTBT Preparatory Commission
13 November 2017
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Resident Representative to the CTBTO
Let me start by thanking you for your work as Chair of the Preparatory Commission. And I would also like to thank Executive Secretary Zerbo for his comprehensive opening remarks.
The vital importance of the CTBT and the value of its verification regime were again demonstrated on 3 September this year when the DPRK conducted its sixth nuclear test.
And – as we made clear at the 4 September meeting of this Commission: Australia utterly condemns that test, and the DPRK’s flagrant defiance of successive United Nations Security Council resolutions.
This latest provocation by North Korea makes resoundingly clear – once again – the urgent need to ensure that the CTBT enters into force.
To that end, Australia reaffirms its commitment to the CTBT as a core element of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament framework. And we call upon all states that have not yet done so – particularly Annex 2 states – to ratify the CTBT without delay.
The very prompt availability to the international community of data and information on the 3 September test has again proven the technical effectiveness of the IMS and IDC, and the organisational effectiveness of Dr Zerbo and the CTBTO team – it was a job well done.
At the same time, the DPRK’s latest test reminds us that a high level of vigilance is crucial, and that full functioning of all existing IMS stations – and further strengthening of the CTBT’s verification capability – are of high importance.
Australia’s Foreign Minister – the Honourable Julie Bishop – was pleased to take part in the biennial CTBT Article XIV Conference, in New York on 20 September.
In this connection, I thank the Permanent Representatives of Japan and Kazakhstan for all their hard work as Article XIV co-coordinators. And I would like to register Australia’s full support for the Permanent Representatives of Belgium and Iraq as they take on their important Article XIV co-coordinator roles.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Provisional Technical Secretariat on the highly successful Science and Technology Conference held in June this year.
Australia supports the future convening of S&T conferences as a means of further developing the Treaty’s verification regime.
Australia is pleased to support adoption by the PrepCom of the reports of Working Groups A and B, including the 2018-2019 Program and Budget proposals. Our thanks to the Chairs of Working Groups A and B, and to the Advisory Group, for all their hard work.
The effectiveness of the CTBT as a technical forum requires the engagement of all State Signatories. So we believe that all State Signatories should have equal opportunity to engage constructively in the Treaty and its bodies. For this reason, Australia encourages members of the Middle East and South Asia regional group to find consensus on a candidate to nominate for the role of PrepCom Chair for 2018.
Australia appreciates the steps the PTS has taken to improve gender balance in the CTBTO. And we commend Dr Zerbo for his commitment to the Gender Champions initiative. Australia encourages continued attention to this important issue to achieve more balanced representation in the PTS, including in senior management and technical roles.
In closing, I am very pleased to announce that Australia has undertaken to host – in late 2018 – a Workshop on the Signatures of Man-Made Isotope Production. We do this by recognising the importance of studying radionuclide background emissions to ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of the CTBT verification regime, and the substantial public health benefits provided by nuclear medicine.
Thank you, Chair.