What is the Article XIV Conference?

Why is this conference important?

This high level conference provides an opportunity for foreign ministers from among 183 countries that have already signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to call upon remaining countries to do so without delay. They also agree on a number of steps to promote the Treaty’s entry into force in the next couple of years.

Why is it called the Article XIV conference?

Its official name is the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The conference is named after Article XIV of the CTBT, which regulates the entry into force of the Treaty. The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after all required States have ratified it.

When and where does the conference take place?

The 2017 conference will take place on 20 September 2017 at UN headquarters in New York, United States. The conference is held every two years. Previous conferences took place either in Vienna, Austria, or in New York, U.S.A., in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Who calls for the conference?

The UN Secretary-General is requested by a majority of ratifying States to convene the conference. As the depositary of the Treaty, the UN Secretary-General then sends a letter of invitation to all States to participate. When States have ratified the Treaty, they deposit their ratification documents, the so-called instruments for ratification, with the office of the UN Secretary-General at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Who chairs the conference?

The conference will be chaired by the Foreign Ministers of Belgium and Iraq. Their countries will lead the process to promote the Treaty’s entry into force for the next two years until the next conference. Belgium and Iraq will take over the chairmanship from Japan and Kazakhstan, which chaired the conference in 2015, and led the entry-into-force process until the conference in September 2017. Since 2007 it has always been two countries – one from the North and one from the South – co-chairing the process, symbolizing the global nature of the Treaty and its verification regime.

Who can participate?

All States can participate and address the conference, including ratifying States, signatory States and non-signatory States. Pakistan, a non-signatory State, participated in previous conferences. Inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations can attend as observers. The conference is open to the media.

What can be expected from the Article XIV conference?

Countries speaking in the debate are expected to urge signatory States and non-signatory States to sign and ratify the Treaty. Many are expected to stress the importance of the Treaty as a key element of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and highlight the demonstrated effectiveness of the Treaty’s verification regime. Ratifying and signatory States will together issue a Final Declaration calling for the entry into force of the Treaty, proposing concrete steps to achieve this objective. At the 2015 conference, the Final Declaration was endorsed by around 100 States including the following Annex 2 States: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States.