Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
57th Preparatory Commission Meeting
Australian National Statement
Delivered by HE Mr Richard Sadleir, Resident Representative of Australia to the CTBTO
10 November 2021
Thank you, Chair.
Australia extends our appreciation to you for your outstanding leadership over the past year and assures you of our support at this 57th Meeting of the Preparatory Commission.
We are pleased to acknowledge and welcome Dr Robert Floyd at this first meeting of the Preparatory Commission as the new Executive Secretary.
Dr Floyd you are most welcome.
Let me also thank Ambassador Kruger, the Chair of Working Group A, and Dr Batyrbekov, the Chair of Working Group B, for all your professionalism and hard work in the lead-up to this meeting.
Ambassador Kruger thank you for your dedicated service here.
Australia acknowledges the ongoing commitment of all States Signatory to the CTBT and continued efforts to promote the Treaty’s entry into force.
As we look ahead to the NPT RevCon in 2022, the international community has a valuable opportunity to take stock of the crucial role the CTBT plays, even prior to its entry into force, in making the world safer and more secure.
But, the fact that the treaty is still yet to enter into force, remains a source of frustration.
We applaud Italy and South Africa for their co-chairing of this year’s well attended and highly successful Article XIV Conference, underpinned by a high-quality final declaration.
The Article XIV Conference remains a critical platform to foster cooperation aimed at promoting further signatures and ratifications.
For our part, as co-chairs of the Friends of the CTBT and as a committed advocate for the CTBT, we will continue to push towards entry into force as quickly as possible.
We support firmly the establishment of a Chief of Cabinet position within the office of the Executive Secretary at the D1 level. For the reasons articulated by Dr Floyd, we believe this new position will support the Executive Secretary and the PTS in their important work.
The CTBTO has responded to the challenges of the COVID era and proved itself flexible and adaptable in its work practices, however it is imperative that we return fully to substantive discussions, particularly in Working Group B, to advance the organisation’s important technical work.
We urge early consensus on the guidelines for holding non-scheduled sessions of the Commission which would allow States Signatory to convene and to respond to issues whenever necessary.
It remains the collective responsibility of Subscribing States to ensure the International Monitoring System is both financially and technically supported in order to ensure it is ‘fit for purpose’ upon the CTBT’s entry into force.
Australia is proud to host the third largest number of facilities in the IMS network and to collaborate with colleagues across the globe to strengthen the verification regime.
We must continue to work together to advance all aspects of the verification regime and the capabilities of the people at the heart of it. As well as the staff of the Secretariat, IMS station operators, national data centre staff and future inspectors need to be well trained to maximise the effectiveness of the verification tools that we are building.
The information gathered by the IMS on North Korea’s testing activities has been essential in shaping global responses. But North Korea’s actions have also underlined the urgent need to bring the Treaty info force. We call on North Korea to comply with the clear views of the international community on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Australia remains committed to maintaining and enforcing sanctions against North Korea until it takes clear steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.
Australia supports the adoption of the 2022-23 program and budget and encourages all States Signatories to pay their assessed contributions on time and in full.
In this 25th anniversary year of the opening of the CTBT for signature, the Treaty’s contribution to global security in establishing an international norm against nuclear testing is undisputed – yet there remains more to do. Australia calls on all States – particularly Annex 2 states - that have not yet done so to ratify the treaty without delay.