U.N. launches new initiative for CTBT to enter into force

The U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs recently announced a new initiative to advance the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty's entry into force.

UNODA launched the Group of Eminent Persons on September 26, on the eve of the Eighth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT. GEM is compromised of no less than seventeen global leaders, high-ranking diplomats and senior political figures.

The members of the GEM, which includes Janos Martonyi, the foreign minister of Hungary, and Marty Natalegawa, the foreign minister of Indonesia, met at the U.N. headquarters in New York to complement and support efforts to promote the treaty's entry into force and to reinvigorate international attempts to achieve this goal.

Lassina Zerbo, the CTBTO's executive secretary, said the members of JEM will bring fresh momentum to the ongoing dialogue.

The CTBT bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere, including in the atmosphere, underwater, underground and on the Earth's surface. The treaty would make it very difficult for countries to develop nuclear bombs for the first time or for countries with nuclear weapons to make them more powerful. The treaty would also prevent the extreme damage caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to animals, plants and humans.

For the CTBT to enter into force, the U.S., Pakistan, Israel, Iran, India, Egypt and North Korea must join the treaty.