14 May 2009, No. 9

Reworking the recommendations
Ray Aceson | Reaching Critical Will

Download full PDF here

On Wednesday evening, after consultations with various delegations, the Chair released a revised version of his draft recommendations to the 2010 Review Conference.

Overall, the revisions weakened the recommendations on disarmament, civil society participation, and education, but have bolstered those on implementing the Middle East resolution. The sections on non-proliferation and nuclear energy have also been adjusted, purportedly in an attempt to create more balance between the three pillars. Each of the three pillars now has an "action plan," as several delegates requested during their general comments on Tuesday.

It remains unclear as to whether the PrepCom will be able to adopt the recommendations the end of its session. The amount of time remaining could possibly allow for a second revised document to be offered Thursday afternoon, giving the PrepCom a last chance to adopt it Friday afternoon. However, if the Committee cannot agree to adopt the revised document on Thursday, it is likely that the Chair will have to forward it to the RevCon as a working paper, despite his aversion to such a solution.

Below is a detailed assessment of the differences between the original recommendations and the revised version, pointing out where recommendations have been strengthened, weakened, or changed to some effect.

The introductory paragraph of the revised text, CRP.4/Rev.1, adds a sentence noting, "[t]he States parties reaffirm the need to maintain a balance between the three mutually reinforcing pillars of the Treaty." It also explains in more depth the methodology of the recommendations, explaining that the recommendations include "elements for [the RevCon's] consideration in evaluating the implementation of the undertakings of the States parties under the Treaty," and "areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought in the future."

Section 1. Universality
The revised section on promoting universality has weaker language on disarmament. Where CRP.4 recommended the RevCon "declare that the Treaty provides a legal foundation for the strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and for the achievement of nuclear disarmament and the ultimate objective of general and complete disarmament under effective international control" (the language of Article VI), CRP.4/Rev.1 simply recommends the RevCon, "[d]eclare that the Treaty remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament."

As per the Algerian delegation's suggestion during the general comments on Tuesday, the language on non-states parties has been changed to recommend the RevCon call on them to join as non-nuclear weapon states and without conditions.

This section also has new language on compliance—adding "[recognizing] consequences for breaches of Treaty violations"— and on nuclear energy—adding "[r]eaffirm that the Treaty fosters the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy."

Section 2. Action plans
Rather than outlining one action plan on nuclear disarmament, CRP.4/Rev.1 includes a three-part action plan for all three pillars.

The "plan" for nuclear disarmament is similar, but contains a few substantial changes that diminish disarmament. While CRP.4 recommended the RevCon "[r]ecognize growing expectations for progress to achieve nuclear disarmament, and indicate support for ongoing and future efforts in these fields," CRP.4/Rev.1 recommends the RevCon indicates support for ongoing and future efforts and recognizes "the importance of practical nuclear disarmament by all nuclear-weapon States."

Likewise, while CRP.4 recommended the RevCon acknowledge that several commitments from 1995 and 2000 have not yet been fulfilled and called for an action plan to implement these commitments, CRP.4/Rev.1 simply recommends the RevCon "[r]eaffirm and update" these commitments, without mentioning they have not been fulfilled. It also divides the original list of disarmament initiatives into two paragraphs: one calling for facilitation of the entry into force of the CTBT and negotiations on a fissile materials [cut-off] treaty and the other calling for discussion on "ways and means to ensure the irreversibility, verifiability, and transparency of disarmament activities" and for recognition of the benefits of reducing operational status, reducing non-strategic nuclear weapons, and reducing reliance on nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, while the original version recommend the RevCon examine "ways and means to commence negotiations, in accordance with article VI, on a convention or framework of agreements to achieve global nuclear disarmament, and to engage non-parties to the Treaty," the updates severely undermine this call by only recommending commencement of "open-ended discussions to identify possibilities available to establish an international legal framework for the achievement of global nuclear disarmament." At least the new language also recommends the engagement of non-states parties "with the aim of attaining a world free of nuclear weapons."

The language on security assurances, formerly in the non-proliferation section, has been moved to the disarmament section but remains identical.

The non-proliferation section has been strengthened. It now recommends the RevCon reaffirm that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is "a threat to international peace and security," which is established language, rather than simply a "global challenge".The paragraph on export controls adds quite a bit of substance, including a recommendation on transparency, dialogue, and cooperation and another calling for recognition of the importance of national rules and regulations on nuclear-related transfers.

There is also additional language on the IAEA, including a call for affirmation of "the need for full cooperation with the [IAEA] to resolve any outstanding verification issues," which follows a new paragraph on the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. CRP.4/Rev.1 also recommends the RevCon "[r]eaffirm the importance of acceptance of the Agency's full-scope safeguards," and welcome the IAEA's efforts to "increase the Agency's ability to detect undeclared nuclear activity" rather than just welcoming the IAEA's efforts to strengthen safeguards.

Nuclear energy
Section 4 of CRP.4 covered nuclear energy, safety, and security. In CRP.4/Rev.1, ways to "advance peaceful uses of nuclear energy" has been given its own action plan and "ways and means to strengthen nuclear safety and security" is now a separate section.

The action plan on nuclear energy "notes" rather than "welcomes" the "growing applications" of nuclear technology, though it still reaffirms the "inalienable right" to nuclear energy of states parties.

Rather than stressing "the need to intensify consideration of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle," the new version recommends stressing "the importance of extensive and transparent consultations in the consideration of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle." The rest of the language in this paragraph is the same as in the original.

Another paragraph has been added to include language on cooperation programmes to assist new-nuclear energy states develop adequate infrastructures.

Section 3. Nuclear safety and security
Maintaining much of the original language, the revised recommendations do not include the note that acquisition of nuclear materials by non-state actors "could potentially jeopardize the Treaty." This section also no longer includes a recommendation to urge "careful consideration of measures of control and monitoring of global stocks" of weapon- usable materials "and the capacity to produce such materials" or to support efforts to "enhance the security of stockpiles" of such materials or to minimize their use in the civilian nuclear sector.

Section 4. Regional initiatives
Most of the language on nuclear weapon free zones remains the same, though in the new version the new Central Asian NWFZ is "noted" rather than welcomed. The new version adds a recommendation noting the importance of the UNDC's guidelines for NWFZ, but it takes away the recommendation to "[n]ote the existence of strong support for the creating of a [NWFZ] in the Southern Hemisphere," replacing it with a call to consider establishment of new zones "in regions with nuclear facilities and materials" and to note the importance of establishing WMDFZs.

Section 5. Middle East
Previously folded into the section on regional initiatives, the Middle East resolution now has its own section. Rather than describing the 1995 resolution as being "integrally linked" to the extension of the NPT, it is now "an essential element" of the decision to extend the Treaty.

The new version does continue to recommend consideration of a conference on implementing the resolution, though it no longer specifies the nuclear weapon states as the potential convenors. The rest of the section goes much further than the original language, adding a recommendation to establish a subsidiary body to Main Committee II at the RevCon "to consider practical steps to promote the earliest implementation" of the resolution and to consider appointing a special coordinator to hold consultations with the countries in the region and report to the review process, which has been suggested by Egypt and supported by other delegations, including the Russian Federation.

Section 6. Withdrawal
The two short paragraphs on withdrawal remain identical to the originals.

Section 7. Strengthening the review process
The new version eliminates the recommendation for consideration establishment of a "uniform, practical and cost-efficient reporting system for the implementation of the Treaty." This section otherwise remains the same.

Section 8. Civil society; education
The new version significantly diminishes the recommendations on both subjects. It only recommends "noting" rather than "considering" the proposals for enhanced participation of NGOs in the review process. It also recommends "consideration" of the UN Secretary-General's recommendations on disarmament and non-proliferation education rather than "encouraging" states to implement them, for which the original text called.

[PDF] ()