The Bahamas ratifies the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

The Bahamas meets the CTBTO. From left to right: Acting Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marilyn Zonical, Permanent Secretary of National Security Missouri Sherman-Peter, CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth,

On 26 November, the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Brent Symonette, announced that he had signed the instrument of ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The instrument had been sent to the United Nations headquarters in New York on that same day.

The ratification of the Bahamas brings the total number of Treaty ratifications to 141. The Bahamas signed the CTBT on 4 February 2005.

The announcement was made at the opening of a workshop on CTBT cooperation for States in the Caribbean region, held in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, on 26-28 November 2007. The workshop was particularly important since several of the countries in the Caribbean are yet to sign and ratify the Treaty. Of the 11 countries that in addition to the Bahamas participated in the workshop, six have already ratified the Treaty (Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Suriname), whereas five have yet to sign and ratify it (Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago). Issues that were being discussed included the promotion of the entry into force and the universalization of the Treaty, how to enhance ways to strengthen capacity building in the region, and the CTBT verification regime and its related technologies as well as their civil and scientific applications.

The workshop was organized jointly by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the Government of the Bahamas, and financed by the Government of Austria.

To date, 177 States have signed the CTBT. To enter into force, however, the Treaty must be signed and ratified by the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty. These States participated in the negotiations of the Treaty in 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Thirty-four of these States have ratified the Treaty, including the three nuclear weapon States France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. The ten remaining States are China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States of America.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions. A verification regime is being built to monitor compliance with the Treaty. 337 facilities world-wide will monitor the underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Today, more than 215 facilities send data to the International Data Center at the CTBTO in Vienna.