Report examines implementation of CTBT

The U.N. Association - U.K. issued a report on Tuesday that found that the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has yet to be entered into force.

U.N.A.-U.K., the U.K.'s leading source of independent U.N. analysis, determined that despite being signed by 183 states and ratified by 159, the treaty has not been enforced. Rebecca Johnson, the co-chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the author of the report, examined the origins, history and politics surrounding the treaty.

Johnson emphasizes the importance of the CTBT in embedding critical norms worldwide on the prohibition of testing, stresses the treaty's part in enabling a reduction of nuclear salience globally and assesses prospects in the future for the treaty entering into force. She said the U.S. must ratify the treaty to get some of the other states on board with the CTBT.

"U.S. ratification will be key to unlocking the accession of many of the eight remaining states that must sign and/or ratify the CTBT for full entry into force," Johnson said. "The key to U.S. ratification will be a change in political approach. The administration needs to move away from the defensiveness of technical overload combined with pork-barrel vote-buying, to a strategy that makes a clear, simple, publicly engaging national security and humanitarian case that puts opponents in the Senate on the defensive if they try to justify obstructing this U.S. security objective any longer."

The CTBT established a global verification regime for nuclear testing and prohibited nuclear explosions in all environments, including underwater, underground, atmospheric and outer space. Johnson said the treaty's monitoring system and international headquarters proved their worth in detecting and identifying seismic events and releases of radioactivity, whether intentional or accidental.