Verification 1996: Arms Control, Peacekeeping, and the Environment

Verification 1996: Arms Control, Peacekeeping, and the Environment

Verification 1996: Arms Control, Peacekeeping, and the Environment

Verification 1996: Arms Control, Peacekeeping, and the Environment


This is the sixth volume in a series of annual reviews of the implementation of arms control and environmental agreements and of peacekeeping activities. Documenting developments in the field during 1995, including the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this collection of essays discusses challenges for 1996: negotiation of a comprehensive test ban; potential difficulties facing the Dayton Agreement; the evolving role and functions of NATO; continuing ethnic conflict in Russia; and slow progress toward agreements protecting the environment, among other issues.


Jayantha Dhanapala

VERTIC's pioneering work on the verification aspects of international arms control and disarmament agreements continues with this issue of Verification, documenting the developments in the field during 1995.

The past year was replete with anniversaries and mega-conferences. The grim observance of the fiftieth anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was counterbalanced by the celebrating of half a century of freedom from global war and the continued existence of the United Nations, despite its acute financial problems and desperate need for structural reform. The UN conferences in Copenhagen and Beijing were milestones in the long and difficult journey of enhancing human security and development and in consolidating the gains we have made since the Cold War ended, so that the airns and objectives of the UN Charter may be truly fulfilled.

In the field of disarmament the historic conference of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons -- the world's most widely subscribed-to disarmament treaty -- adopted, without a vote, a package of decisions extending the treaty permanently, strengthening its review process and establishing principles and objectives to be achieved in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. This outcome, apart from being a uniquely successful, multilateral endeavour, places a heavy onus on the treaty parties and the international community to make the newly strengthened review mechanism work. As the accountability of the parties in relation to their treaty objectives and the commitments made at the 1995 conference is ensured, the scope for verification has expanded, especially with IAEA safeguards also being strengthened under the '93+2' programme.

The irreversible progress toward nuclear disarmament must begin in 1996 with the finalization of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. Thereafter the cut-off of fissile material production and further cutbacks in nuclear arsenals will be on the agenda as we await the verification of START II, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Protocols of the new nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and Southeast Asia. Perhaps the report of the Canberra Commission for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons may provide a basis for a global consensus on how we may finally achieve the elimination of the most destructive of all weapons of mass destruction. Parallel efforts for arms control and disarmament must go on in other areas, including conventional . . .

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