Trust & Verify Issue No. 160 is now available. You can download the PDF version by clicking on this link.
On 22 March, VERTIC Programme Director for Verification and Monitoring Larry MacFaul and Professor Hartwig Spitzer of Hamburg University presented on preliminary conclusions from their collaborative project on the Open Skies Treaty.
Today, we released Brief No. 30, authored by Alberto Muti. The report addresses information sharing in nuclear security, especially in the context of the 5 April 2016 'Joint Statement on Sustainable Reporting and Information Sharing.'
VERTIC participates in a BWC legislative drafting workshop in Malawi
VERTIC participates in a Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the UNSCR 1540 in Santo Domingo
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in an invitation-only workshop titled “UNSCR 1540 Assistance Database: Use, Lessons Learned and Next Steps”, during 26-27 February, at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC.
Trust & Verify Issue No. 159 is now available. Download it here.
Maria Elena Amadori summaries state party agreement on a Biological Weapons Convention intersessional programme and Aurelie Buytaert discusses the European Union and the BWC. Plus verification watch, notable quotes and an expanded staff news section.
VERTIC’s Senior Legal Officer, Yasemin Balci, participated in a regional conference, organised by the Government of Panama and the Organization of American States, on 6 – 7 February 2018.
VERTIC’s Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in Fact-Finding Visits in Viet Nam and Lao PDR during 29 January through 2 February as part of EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Project 61. These were the third two of ten visits to the project countries through March 2018.
The Remote Warfare Programme, part of the Oxford Research Group, has recently released a briefing paper authored by Katherine Tajer, formerly a researcher with VERTIC's Verification and Monitoring Programme.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, took part in the Wilton Park Conference "The CWC: the fourth Review Conference and beyond" during 22-24 January.
VERTIC’s Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in Fact-Finding Visits in Myanmar and Cambodia during 12-21 January as part of EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Project 61.
VERTIC congratulates the State of Palestine on becoming the 180th State Party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. The State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession with Russia and the United Kingdom (two of the Convention’s depositaries) on 9 January 2018.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation and Larry MacFaul, Programme Director for Verification and Monitoring, participated in the 2017 EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament Conference during 12-13 December in Palais d'Egmont, Brussels.
On 7 – 8 December 2017, VERTIC in collaboration the Namibian Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation hosted a training workshop on International Safeguards, Non-Proliferation and Control of Nuclear Material in Windhoek, Namibia.
National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme staff members Scott Spence (Programme Director), Sonia Drobysz (Senior Legal Officer) and Cédric Apercé (Legal Officer) represented VERTIC at the Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and related side events, during 30 November through 7 December in Geneva.
VERTIC attends the CWC Conference of States Parties
VERTIC's Verification and Monitoring Programme releases a new report on how to accelerate progress on the verification and monitoring of future nuclear disarmament commitments.
VERTIC’s Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in Fact-Finding Visits in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia during 20-24 November as part of EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Project 61. These were the first two of ten visits to the project countries through March 2018.
VERTIC participates in BWC legislative drafting workshop in Côte d'Ivoire
VERTIC’s Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in the Second Project 53 Regional Meeting: Strengthening the National Legal Framework and Provision of Specialized Training on Bio-Safety and Bio-Security in Central Asian Countries, which took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan during 2-3 November.
NIM Legal Officer participates in 2nd OIE Global Conference on Biological Threat Reduction in Ottawa
On 30 October 2017, VERTIC and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) hosted a seminar to discuss views on the possibility of establishing a Group of Scientific and Technical Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification. The meeting was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. At the seminar, VERTIC reported on the results of a series of regional consultations it had convened on the idea and distributed an embargoed publication summarising these discussions.
Senior researcher Noel Stott attended the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference, from 19-21 October 2017. The event was organised by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) in partnership with the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation at VERTIC, assisted officials from a number of Jamaican ministries and agencies to address policy and technical matters on a draft bill to implement the Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention and strategic trade controls thereto.
VERTIC participates in a BWC legislative drafting workshop in Ghana
Trust & Verify Issue No. 158 is now available. In this issue, John Carlson's article 'Nuclear Weapon Prohibition Treaty: A Safeguards Debacle' discusses the potential dangers with the newly adopted treaty from a safeguards perspective. Amongst several concerns, his principal is that it may slow the adoption rate of the Additional Protocol. Painting a bleak picture, Nevine Schepers then writes about the need to revisit Tritium controls.
VERTIC congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for being awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
VERTIC congratulates Samoa on becoming the 179th State Party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Samoa deposited its instrument of accession with the United States (one of the Convention's depositaries along with Russia and the United Kingdom) on 21 September 2017.
VERTIC conducts a workshop on national legislation for the implementation of the BWC in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Today, Larry MacFaul stepped down as the editor of VERTIC's publications series to enable him to focus on his responsibilities as Programme Director for Verification and Monitoring.
In this issue, Matt Korda's article 'Disruptive, Destabilising, and Dual-Use: The Proliferation Risks of 3-D Printing' discusses some basic security concerns related to additive manufacturing. Madison Estes then returns with the article 'Maintaining strategic stability with the development of Conventional Prompt Global Strike systems’
Combating and eradicating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is necessary to achieve the sustainable use of marine capture fisheries. UN member states have pledged to do so by 2020, as part of their commitment towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, spoke at the 1st International Scientific Conference on CBRNe, which took place in Rome, Italy during 22-24 May.
VERTIC is looking to appoint a researcher or a senior researcher to work in its verification and monitoring programme.
Noel Stott, Senior Researcher, participated in the 39th ESARDA Symposium on Safeguards and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, held at the Meliá Düsseldorf, in Düsseldorf, Germany from 16-18 May 2017. He also delivered a presentation in one of the sessions.
Members of the Verification and Monitoring team attended the NPT PrepCom in Vienna, from May 9th to 12th. VERTIC hosted one side-event, discussing the viability of a Group of Scientific Experts on Disarmament Verification. VERTIC also hosted an informal consultation with European states at the VCDNP.
Effective nuclear disarmament verification is an essential precondition for achieving ‘a world without nuclear weapons’. Without verification and the two fundamental principles of transparency and irreversibility, nuclear disarmament activities may not credibly provide the trust and confidence needed by all states in a world where all weapons have been abolished.
In this issue, Madison Estes article 'Rebuilding Trust through Verification Reinstatement in the INF, An Opportunity for Improving U.S.-Russia Relations,' considers recent developments under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Plus: Verification Watch, Implementation Watch, Science & Technology Scan, Verification Quotes and VERTIC News.
VERTIC’s Verification and Monitoring Programme has completed two workshops aimed at gathering views on a prospective Group of Scientific Experts for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (GSE-NDV). The programme held the first workshop, for European states, in Vienna, Austria, on 11 and 12 April 2017. The second workshop, for African countries, was held outside Pretoria, South Africa, on 19 and 20 April 2017.
Katherine Tajer participates in the International Nuclear Safeguards Engagement Program (INSEP): Sub-regional Workshop for SQP Countries.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the Workshop in Support of BWC Action Extended Assistance Programmes, which took place in Geneva on 29 March.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the 7th Annual International Symposium on "Biosecurity and Biosafety: Future Trends and Solutions" in Milan, Italy during 22-24 March.
On 10 March, Andreas Persbo, Executive Director, had his article 'Compliance science: the CTBT's global verification system' published in The Nonproliferation Review.
On 17 March, Andreas Persbo, Executive Director, ventured over to Kings College London to deliver a lecture on 'Verification: Theory, practices and technology.'
VERTIC’s Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in a number of meetings, during 26 January through 3 February, under Project 53 of the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative: “Strengthening The National Legal Framework and Provision of Specialized Training on Bio-Safety and Bio-Security in Central Asian Countries”.
In this issue, Maӱlis David, Ekaterina Konovalova, and Clarisse Bertherat consider the outcome of the Biological Weapons Convention Eighth Review Conference that took place in November last year.
VERTIC is looking to appoint a Legal Officer for the National Implementation Measures Programme, based in our London office. If you are interested in applying, please proceed to our Employment Page where you will find instructions for your application.
An article titled "Shifting the Focus from Annual Outreach Activities to Official Visits to States", by VERTIC's Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, was published in the Winter 2016 (Issue 11) edition of the 1540 Compass.
VERTIC, Nuclear Threat Initiative and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands host side event on nuclear security reporting and the Consolidated National Nuclear Security Report at the IAEA conference on International Nuclear Security.
On 5-9 December 2016, Andreas Persbo, Executive Director, attended the annual Wilton Park conference on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The dialogue assessed challenges, opportunities and prospects for the nuclear non-proliferation regime over the 2020 NPT Review cycle.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated this week in a biothreats training seminar at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris and in an informal workshop on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Geneva.
Earlier this week, Andreas Persbo, VERTIC's Executive Director, travelled to Tokyo, Japan, for a series of meetings.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, co-organised a legislative consultation workshop on the Biological Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 1540 in Sierra Leone, during 28-29 November, with the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium.
VERTIC congratulates Liberia and Nepal on becoming the 176th and 177th States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
VERTIC is pleased to welcome Mr Noel Stott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Security Studies, as a Senior Researcher on Verification and Monitoring. Mr Stott will bring over 14 years of arms control experience to the Centre.
VERTIC is looking to appoint an administrator, based in its London office.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation - along with Akin Abayomi, Rebecca Katz, Brian Conton and Sahr M. Gevao - co-authored the article "Managing dangerous pathogens: challenges in the wake of the recent West African Ebola outbreak". The article has been published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) in Global Security: Health, Science and Policy - An Open Access Journal and is available here.
On 19 October 2016, Andreas Persbo participated in a First Committee side-event on 'Nuclear Disarmament Verification.'
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in an invitation-only Wilton Park conference in Bridgetown, Barbados, during 4-6 October, on 'Strengthening strategic trade controls in the Caribbean: preventing WMD proliferation and safeguarding borders'.
James Revill, Caitriona McLeish, Alex Spelling and Brian Balmer discusses the implementation of Article X of the Biological Weapons Convention. Simeon Dukic and Matteo Zerini examines two nuclear tests ten years apart.
VERTIC's Executive Director, Mr Andreas Persbo, travelled to The Hague, the Netherlands, on 5-7 September 2016 to deliver two lectures; one on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and another on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the resumed Preparatory Committee meeting for the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, during 8-12 August in Geneva.
VERTIC is looking to recruit a Senior Researcher to its London Office. For more information, see our opportunities page.
VERTIC congratulates Angola on becoming the 175th State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the Fifth Consultative Meeting of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium during 7-8 July in Brussels.
Daniel Davies discusses the implications of Brexit on nuclear safeguards. Hartwig Spitzer returns to give an update on recent developments in Open Skies. Plus verification watch, implementation watch and science and technology scan.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the 11th International Security Forum (ISF) in Geneva during 13-15 June.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in an international symposium co-organised by INTERPOL and the FBI on countering terrorism threats to the food supply. The symposium took place in Lyon, France during 10-12 May.
VERTIC's Executive Director, Andreas Persbo, travelled to Chișinău, Moldova, to deliver two lectures on the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials.
On 28 April 2016, VERTIC's Executive Director, Andreas Persbo, travelled to Pretoria, South Africa, to present at a roundtable on the future of nuclear disarmament.
This roundtable considers disarmament verification as a way to end the current stalemate on how to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Trust & Verify No. 152 is now online. In this edition, Hugh Chalmers first discusses whether North Korea can produce tritium for second generation nuclear devices. He then returns, together with Angela Woodward, to consider a future research proposal for space. The issue also includes regular features Verification Watch, Implementation Watch, Science & Technology Scan and Centre News.
All previous issues of Trust & Verify can be found here.
On 6-7 April 2016, VERTIC participated in the African Union's (AU) Review and Assistance Conference on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) in Africa. The meeting was held in the union's new conference centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
VERTIC's National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme completed its second of two workshops this week, during 6-8 April, with the Government of Jamaica on the implementation of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, strategic trade control and UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
VERTIC's National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme completed its first workshop this week with the Government of Jamaica on the implementation of Financial Action Task Force Recommendation 7 through Jamaica's 2013 United Nations Security Council Resolutions Act.
VERTIC's Deputy Executive Director, Angela Woodward, has joined the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network. Other New Zealanders in the group include Mr. Jim Bolger, former Prime Minister 1990–97, and Mr. Geoffrey Palmer, former Prime Minister 1989–90.
VERTIC has released VERTIC Brief No. 26, by Joy Hyvarinen.
This brief provides a guide for developing country negotiators and others with a simple and neutral overview of the various negotiations and decisions related to REDD-plus. Separated into four parts, the brief gives an explanation of key terms and concepts related to REDD-plus; an introduction to REDD-plus that summarises its relationship with land use, land-use change and forestry under the Kyoto Protocol; an overview of developments related to REDD-plus at UNFCCC meetings since 2007; and a set of general negotiation tips for new REDD-plus negotiators.
VERTIC is delighted to launch Verification and Implementation in two new digital formats: .epub and .mobi.
On 11 January 2016, VERTIC Senior Researcher Hugh Chalmers was quoted in an article in Nature News, which discussed the monitoring of the DPRK's alleged hydrogen bomb test on 6 January 2016.
On 7 January 2016, VERTIC Senior Researcher Hugh Chalmers appeared on the BBC World Service Science in Action to explain how the detection of radionuclides in the atmosphere could be used to identify whether or not the DPRK tested a hydrogen bomb on 6 January 2016.
Trust & Verify Issue No. 151 is now online, please click here to download.
The DPRK state-run news agency, KCNA, has issued an official announcement claiming that the country has successfully tested its first thermonuclear weapon. The Vienna-based Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has also detected ‘unusual seismic activity in the Korean peninsula’ detected by its International Monitoring System (IMS). The CTBTO and the international community is working to confirm the nature of this event.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, represented VERTIC at the Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention during 14-18 December in Geneva. This was the last of the meetings during the intersessional process (2012-2015) before next year's Eighth BWC Review Conference.
VERTIC is delighted to announce the launch of Verification & Implementation: a biennial publication bringing together leading practitioners and experts from the field to explain, appraise and propose ideas for strengthening the verification and implementation of international agreements and treaties. Readers of this publication will find practical analysis of verification and implementation issues that can assist them in addressing or researching current challenges faced by the international community.
In November, VERTIC struck up a collaboration with the Sustainable Tropics Alliance, a strategic partnership of leading independent non-governmental organisations working to develop new approaches to low-emission rural development (‘LED-R’) in the tropics.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015, 5:00 - 6:30 PM.
With Mark Hibbs, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
It is our pleasure to invite you to the launch of Verification & Implementation: a biennial series that brings together leading issue experts to provide authoritative thinking on the verification and implementation mechanisms that underpin collective approaches to shared security challenges. It resumes VERTIC’s contribution to the high-level debate surrounding verification and implementation, begun by its Verification Yearbook series.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated and spoke at the 3rd Myanmar-UK/US non-proliferation dialogue in Yangon, during 9-10 December.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the 37th Annual Forum of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). The meeting took place during 30 November to 1 December in San Salvador, El Salvador with the theme of the role of parliamentarians in support of peace and security.
VERTIC's Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, provided expert advice during a legislative drafting workshop for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Bangladesh. The workshop took place in Dhaka 23 to 24 November.
On 16 November, VERTIC staff gave a presentation on progress made under its project on ‘Supporting multilateral verification of nuclear disarmament.’ Both Andreas Persbo and David Keir attended the IPNDV meeting.
The report aims to support the growing demand for a more inclusive approach and a broader scope for the exploration of nuclear disarmament verification.
VERTIC's Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in a conference on universalization of the Biological Weapons Convention in Africa, during 29-30 October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference was organised by the African Union (AU) and the Geneva-based BWC Implementation Support Unit.
VERTIC and its National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme were highlighted in a monograph published on 26 October 2015 by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) based in Pretoria, South Africa. The monograph 'Towards the 2016 Comprehensive Review: Former experts assess UNSC Resolution 1540' was compiled and edited by Nicolas Kasprzyk, Mothepa Shadung and Noël Stott with support from the Government of Norway.
VERTIC's most recent edition of Trust & Verify is available online here.
In this issue, Cindy Vestergaard of the Danish Institute for International Studies, discusses safeguards for the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Plus: Verification Watch, Implementation Watch, Science and Technology Scan, Programme and Publications News, and verification quotes from the past three months.
On 14-15 September, the Institute for Security Studies hosted a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya on enhancing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540) and related instruments in partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat and the African Union (AU) Commission.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, gave a Guest of the Meeting statement today at the BWC Meeting of Experts, which is taking place during 10-14 August in Geneva. He gave his statement, which can be found here, during Working Session 7 on "Strengthening National Implementation".
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, is representing VERTIC at the BWC Meeting of Experts during 10-14 August in Geneva.
The IAEA is not a party to the JCPOA. But if approved by its Board of Governors, the IAEA will be responsible for monitoring Iran’s compliance with the nuclear provisions of the agreement. Much of what the IAEA will do will be virtually identical with what the IAEA has been doing long before Iran and the six powers concluded the JCPOA, namely, implementing safeguards under Iran’s bilateral safeguards agreement pursuant to Iran’s commitment under the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to make or possess nuclear weapons.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in a BWC workshop for new diplomats on 3 August in Geneva.
An article by Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, on legislative implementation of UNSCR 1540 has been published in the Summer 2015 issue of the 1540 Compass.
Joy Hyvarinen and Larry MacFaul examine the UN Sustainable Development Goals and provide commentary regarding their adoption in September.
The United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in New York submitted a set of documents prepared by VERTIC to the United Nations Security Council's 1540 Committee on 28 April 2015, as examples of effective practices for implementation.
Within the framework of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE), a fourth, additional technical assistance visit to Cambodia and the Philippines will take place during the month of June 2015.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the Second Warsaw Conference on "Reducing chemical threats and enhancing chemical safety and security and strengthening the national security and deepening international co-operation" on 28 May.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in events to mark the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva on 30 March.
An update on the Indonesia-VERTIC 'National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security' is discussed in the Arms Control Association and Partnership for Global Security Report: 'The Nuclear Security Summit: Progress Report on Joint Statements' (March 2015).
From 2 to 6 March, the African Union, United States Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) organized a workshop on “Security, the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and Cooperative Threat Reduction in Africa."
In a new blog post republished from the European Leadership Network, Hugh Chalmers discusses the return of the 'P5 Process' to London, its work to date, and the steps it might take to contribute towards a successful 2015 NPT Review Conference.
Read the new post here.
Senior legal officer Yasemin Balci and legal officer Sonia Drobysz participated in a legislative drafting workshop for the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Burkina Faso from 27 to 30 January.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, and David Cliff, Researcher in the Verification and Monitoring Programme, participated in the Wilton Park conference "Nuclear non-proliferation: preparing for the 2015 NPT Review Conference" during 15-19 December.
Scott Spence, Programme Director for National Implementation, participated in the Second Myanmar-US/UK Nonproliferation Dialogue in Yangon during 4-5 December.
VERTIC attended the Meeting of States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention during 1-5 December in Geneva, Switzerland as well as the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weaons Convention held in the same week in The Hague, the Netherlands.
A Chinese version of the 'National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security' is now available on the VERTIC website. The Kit was developed by VERTIC at the request of the Indonesian government, and presented by the Vice President to the third Nuclear Security Summit which took place in The Hague during 24-25 March.
This VERTIC report, commissioned by the Network for Social Change’s Remote Control project, analyses the impact of cyber assets and threats on states’ security strategies and international stability. The report aims to provide an introductory approach to the subject that can help inform the development of concepts, planning and policy-making on cyber security issues.
Hugh Chalmers, Researcher for the Verification and Monitoring Programme, gave a presentation on the implementation and verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to a roundtable organised by the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In a new blog post kindly reposted from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Newsbrief, Hugh Chalmers discusses the challenges facing both Iran and the IAEA in resolving all past and present issues under their Framework for Cooperation.
Read the new post here.
On 3 November, representatives of the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom briefed the UN Security Council's 1540 Committee, at its 62nd formal meeting, on VERTIC's 'Legislative Guide to National Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)'. The Guide was developed by VERTIC's National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme, with generous financial support from Canada's Global Partnership Program and the UK Foreign Office's Strategic Programme Fund.
Two chapters written by Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, have been included in the second version of 'The Chemical Weapons Convention: A Commentary'. The Commentary was published by Oxford University Press in August and is now available here. The editors are Walter Krutzsch, Eric Myjer, and Ralf Trapp.
Within the framework of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE), the third and final technical assistance visit of an international consortium to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines is taking place during the month of November 2014.
To mark the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires UN member states to adopt measures to prohibit and prevent non-state actors from engaging in activities involving nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, Chatham House organised an event on the resolution on Wednesday 5 November.
VERTIC Research Assistant Alberto Muti presented to the IAEA Safeguards Symposium on VERTIC's assistance with national implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the database of national implementation approaches that has emerged from this work.
In this issue, Hartwig Spitzer considers developments in the implementation of the Open Skies treaty, and how the agreement has functioned during the conflict in Ukraine. Plus: Verification Watch, Science and Technology Scan, Events and Publications, and VERTIC programme news.
A Portuguese version of the National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security is now available on the VERTIC website.
VERTIC's Legal Officers Yasemin Balci and Sonia Drobysz participated in the Third EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference held in Brussels, Belgium this week.
Yasemin Balci, Legal Officer, and Scott Spence, Acting Programme Director, are representing VERTIC at the Meeting of Experts to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) during 4-8 August in Geneva, Switzerland.
Three weeks ago, VERTIC hosted a conference at Wilton Park examining arms control and disarmament verification.
Read the post here.
Ambassador Lyall Grant of the UK Mission to the United Nations highlighted the 'National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security' in his speech to the UN Security Council, during an open debate to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Resolution 1540 on 7 May.
On 25 March, VERTIC participated in a conference held at Cairo University on Egyptian approaches to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The conference was co-organised by the faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs and the British American Security Information Council (BASIC).
VERTIC has published a 'Legislative Guide on National Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)'.
Vice-President Boediono of the Republic of Indonesia presented the 'National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security' to the Nuclear Security Summit today in The Hague. The Summit took place during 24-25 March.
In today's blog post, Scott Spence, Acting Programme Director for National Implementation, writes about Indonesia's contribution to the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague this week - a 'National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security'. For more, click here.
On 18 March, the Malawian government organised an awareness-raising workshop on national implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in collaboration with VERTIC. Malawi signed the BWC in 1972, but did not ratify it until April last year. Since ratification of the Convention, Malawi has proceeded with taking important steps to implement the BWC at the national level, including the organisation of this workshop for government officials from various ministries and agencies.
From 1-4 March, VERTIC Senior Researcher Hassan Elbahtimy took part in a conference organised by the Centre for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich, on the history of NPT negotiations. The conference was titled ‘The Making of a Nuclear Order: Negotiating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ and investigated the motives, intentions, incentives and disincentives that shaped the decisions of specific governments to be part of, or refuse participation in the new regime.
Yesterday (5 March), the National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security (Kit) developed recently by VERTIC at the request of the Indonesian government—to assist countries in implementing nuclear security-related legislation—was featured as a highlight in a new joint report by the Arms Control Association and the Partnership for Global Security.
Nepal, together with UNRCPD (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs through the Regional UN Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific) and the BWC Implementation Support Unit, organized a workshop on the national implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). The workshop was held in Kathmandu from 20 to 21 February 2014.
When the six powers and Iran announced in Geneva on November 24, 2013 that they had agreed to an “initial step” toward comprehensive resolution of the nuclear crisis, some critics glumly predicted that a final deal would never materialize. It was more likely, they asserted, that Western states keen to curb Iran’s nuclear program would face ever-greater pressure to lift sanctions, fortifying Iran’s resolve to resist long-term limits on sensitive nuclear activities. Ultimately, according to this dusky scenario, Iran would outlast its adversaries, sanctions would wither, and Iran would emerge with a rejuvenated economy and with its nuclear program back on track.
Read the full blog post here.
On 5 December 2013, VERTIC and the Vienna Centre for Non-proliferation and Disarmament held the first in a series of seminars on the role of intergovernmental organisations in arms control and disarmament verification.
VERTIC organised a two-day workshop in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire as part of its Additional Protocol Project. The workshop was titled: ‘Facilitating the adoption and implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol in Côte d’Ivoire’ and took place on 16 and 17 of December 2013.
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, and Legal Officer, Bilqees Esmail, represented VERTIC at this year's Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention during 9-13 December in Geneva, Switzerland.
Burkina Faso and Benin, together with UNREC (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs through the Regional UN Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa) and the BWC Implementation Support Unit, organized two workshops on the national implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, represented VERTIC at the 18th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention during 2-4 December. High on the agenda of this year's conference was Syria's accession to the Convention and the status of verification of the destruction of the country's chemical weapons stockpile. The Conference also re-appointed by acclamation Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü for a second term of office as OPCW Director-General.
VERTIC wishes to make an appointment at the Programme Director grade, following a potential internal promotion. Note that this recruitment may be cancelled should either no suitable candidates apply or other conditions change.
For more, see our recruitment page.
VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, and Legal Officer, Sonia Drobysz, participated in the Expert Meeting on the National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during 20-21 November.
The European Union (‘EU’) has provided €800,000 in funding for the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (‘VERTIC’) to lead Project 8 of the EU’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (‘CBRN’) Centres of Excellence (‘CoE’) initiative, entitled ‘Prerequisite to strengthening CRBN national legal frameworks.’
In this week's blog post, Dominic Bright enquires how poisoning of elephants in Zimbabwe has relevance for national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in a 'Taller para la Implementación Nacional de la Convención sobre Armas Biológicas' in Quito, Ecuador on 14 October. He then led a three-day workshop (15-17 October) with the objective of drafting amendments to Ecuador’s Arms Control Law and revised Penal Code to implement the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Ecuador, including biological weapons prohibitions and measures for the non-proliferation of particularly dangerous biological agents and toxins.
VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in a "Seminar on Biological Material and Biosafety in the Framework of the Biological Weapons Convention" during 9-11 October in Santiago, Chile.
Scott Spence, VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, gave a presentation today on the national implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 at the 129th Assembly of the Interparliamentary Union.
VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, discussed Syria on 6 September, on a panel at the Fourth Summer Programme on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, held at the T.M.C. Asser Institute for International Law in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 2 to 6 September 2013.
Today, VERTIC has released a briefing paper on the IAEA’s safeguards function.
Andreas Persbo had the pleasure of serving his second term as the Director-General of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). He played the role in a simulation set up by the CTBTO’s Capacity Development Initiative (CDI).
Read his account here.
This week's blog post provides an update on the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE). VERTIC's NIM programme is currently leading the implementation of one CoE project and contributing to another.
In this week's blog post, Sonia Drobysz highlights the discussions on strengthening the international nuclear security legal framework during the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security.
VERTIC Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, and Legal Officer, Sonia Drobysz, participated in the IAEA Nuclear Security Conference during 1-5 July. The conference took place at IAEA Headquarters at the Vienna International Centre, with over 1300 registered participants from 125 countries and 21 intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.
In this week's blog post Russel Moul discusses climate change monitoring systems and the impact of impending budget cuts.
In this week's blog post, Sonia Drobysz discusses the latest attempts in the US to implement several international nuclear security instruments into domestic law.
In this week's blog post, Angela Woodward considers the role for civil society in oversight of WMD legislation.
Somalia has deposited its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapon's Convention (CWC) with the UN Secretary General and will become a State Party as of 29 June 2013. This will bring the membership of the CWC to 189 States. Congratulations to Somalia!
Last Friday, Andreas Persbo delivered a presentation to the Open Ended Working Group on Multilateral Disarmament, which is presently convening in Geneva, Switzerland.
In this week's blog post, Katherine Tajer considers CISPA and the future of cybersecurity law. Read the post here.
VERTIC co-organized joint universality workshops in Angola with the British Embassy to Angola and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The workshops, which had the objective of advancing Angola’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), took place on 22 and 23 April in Luanda.
Earlier this week, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrapped up their 15th bi-annual Nuclear Policy Conference. This conference, widely recognised to be one of the highlights on the nuclear arms control and disarmament agenda, spans two days and attracts some 800 participants from 46 countries. The conference was lively. Printing off all Twitter comments alone would consume at least 100 pages of paper.
Read the full blog post here.
The Third Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is being held in the World Forum in The Hague, the Netherlands during 8-19 April. States Parties to the CWC have gathered to discuss the operation of the Convention and to take decisions on a number of matters critical to its future. Items on the agenda are the deadline for the destruction of chemical weapons, verification of the Convention, achieving its universality, the status of its national implementation, and international cooperation and development.
Malawi deposited its instrument of ratification in Washington DC on 2 April 2013, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 170. Congratulations Malawi!
Guyana deposited its instrument of ratification in Washington DC on 26 March 2013, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 169. Congratulations Guyana!
Shortly before Christmas 2012, I was present at a luncheon hosted by the London embassy of the Republic of Korea. A few hours earlier that day the DPRK had launched, and publicised the launch of, a space rocket apparently capable of delivering a nuclear warhead which, as far as the diners knew at the time, North Korea still did not possess in a developed form. Despite bellicose comments from some around the table, the arguments around the lunch table were evenly divided between ‘this changes nothing’ and ‘we are witnessing the birth of a new nuclear weapon-owning state.’
Read the full blog post by David Keir with Andreas Persbo here.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Morocco related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Nauru deposited its instrument of accession in Washington DC on 5 March 2013, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 168.
Andreas Persbo travelled to Berlin, Germany, on 21-22 February 2013 to deliver remarks to the the Berlin Framework Forum: Creating the Conditions and Building the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.
In this week's blog post David Keir reflects on the infrasound detection capability of the CTBT monitoring system and the meteor which entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia on 15 February 2013.
VERTIC seeks a multi-skilled Office Manager or Administrator who is enthusiastic about the challenge of working in a dynamic and expanding non-governmental organisation. In the last few years, the organisation has experienced growth in activities and staffing mostly associated with start-up ventures.
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in a Biological Weapons Convention seminar in Bogota during 14-15 February.
The Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation released today an updated estimate on DPRK's test.
On 12 February 2013, the DPRK announced that it had conducted its third nuclear test. Hours before the announcement, however, data started to flow from various monitoring stations indicating seismic activity in North Korea. This gave considerable credibility to the assertion that the DPRK conducted an explosive test possibly of a nuclear nature.
Read the full post here.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted a nuclear test at noon local time today, according to an official announcement by its state-run news agency.
In this week's blog post, Yasemin Balci looks at the chemical weapons case of Bond v United States, which will be heard by the US Supreme Court on appeal.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Lebanon related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Cameroon deposited its instrument of accession in Washington DC on 18 January 2013, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 167.
Scott Spence, VERTIC’s Senior Legal Officer, attended the ‘UNSCR 1540 Civil Society Forum - Opportunities for Engagement’, which took place in the Vienna International Centre (the VIC) during 8-10 January. He reflects on this important event in this week’s blog post.
In this week's blog post, Russell Moul revisits the question of Syria's chemical weapons and muses on verification options.
Read the full post here.
VERTIC wishes to make up to two appointments to its National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme at either the Associate Legal Officer, Legal Officer or Senior Legal Officer grade, depending on the post-holder’s qualifications, skills and experience.
Scott Spence, VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, presented today at the UNSCR 1540 Civil Society Forum - Opportunities for Engagement.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Canada and Denmark and a policy paper from Uganda, related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Yasemin Balci, Legal Officer, gave VERTIC's statement to the 2012 Meeting of the States Parties to the BWC today.
In this week's blog post, Lasha Tvaliashvili looks at regional trends in the adoption of implementing legislation for the CWC.
The Marshall Islands deposited its instrument of accession in Washington DC on 15 November 2012, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 166.
In this week's blog post, Scott Spence provides his thoughts on how civil society actors, such as VERTIC, can contribute to the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
On 19-20 November 2012, Andreas Persbo travelled to Vienna, Austria, to participate in a two-day discussion of a nuclear weapon free world.
Today, Andreas Persbo moderated a panel on the Nexus between Science and Verification at the CTBTO Advance Science Course ‘Around the Globe and Around the Clock: The Science and Technology of the CTBT.’
What to do with radioactive waste? Many countries around the world, developed countries in particular, rely heavily on nuclear power, and all face the dilemma of what to do with all the radioactive waste generated.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of States Parties will convene in Geneva in one month’s time. Amongst other items the meeting will discuss “Strengthening national implementation”, which is a standing item for each meeting in the 2012-15 intersessional period. What is the current status of BWC States Parties’ national implementation, at least in terms of their national regulatory frameworks? Angela Woodward takes you through some interesting statistics drawn from VERTIC’s BW legislation surveys.
Today, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has published the first round of an exchange of views on the legality of IAEA inspections in Iran. The exchange is between Dan Joyner, Professor of Law at the University of Alabama, Christopher Ford, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Andreas Persbo, VERTIC’s Executive Director.
Follow the debate on ‘Iran and the bomb: The legal standards of the IAEA’ on the Bulletin website.
Two new appointments were made today at VERTIC.
Rocío Escauriaza Leal, VERTIC’s Legal Officer co-authors a publication on the BWC with Rafael Perez Mellado, Scientific Adviser on non-proliferation of biological weapons at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Niue related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
The plenary body of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO will meet next week, on 22-24 October 2012, to consider, amongst other things, the bids to take over after Ambassador Tibor Toth. Who might be elected?
Read the full post here.
In this week's blog post, Yasemin Balci discusses the biological weapons case of US v Bachner and highlights the recent review of the US control list for certain biological agents and toxins.
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, attended the International Nuclear Law Association Inter Jura Congress in Manchester, UK during 8-10 October.
On 8 August, Scott Spence, VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, blogged on the topic of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles and the questions they raise under international law. He now turns to their biological weapons stockpiles and the related but different questions under international law.
It is with much sadness that VERTIC has today learned of the passing of the long-time arms control practitioner and former VERTIC consultant Dr Jozef Goldblat.
In this issue, the NIM team discusses legislative measures related to proliferation concerns surrounding H5N1 research. Plus, as usual: Verification Watch, Science & Technology Scan, Verification Quotes, Programme News, and reflections by the director. Plus: Verification Watch, Science & Technology Scan, Verification Quotes, Programme News, and reflections by the director.
The safeguards resolution of the IAEA General Conference has, for many years, been one of the highlights and great dreads of the conference. Member states anxieties and excessive wrangling over its text tends to ensure that the final day of the conference ends around midnight. While this adds to the excitement of the conference, it is also a very costly undertaking. Sitting in the conference hall in the middle of the night surely raises questions as to whether it is all worth it.
Read the full post here.
Since the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, there have been calls for increasing safety levels in nuclear plants worldwide. The incident in Japan was the fourth significant accident in the 55-year history of nuclear reactor operation. The first occurred in 1957 at the Windscale reactor in the UK. Two decades later, in 1979, a reactor at Three Mile Island in the USA was severely damaged, though radioactive material releases were slight. The third incident is well-known: the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the destruction of a reactor by steam explosion, fire and core disruption had significant health and environmental consequences, mainly due to fission product release and dispersion, as well as a human death toll at the site itself.
Ten years ago the United Nations Secretary-General released the “United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education” (A/57/124, 30 August 2002). The study was prepared over two years by an eminent group of experts drawn from Egypt, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Poland and Sweden and informed by wide-ranging consultations with civil society. Its findings highlighted the importance of empowering individuals, through such education, to contribute to achieving disarmament and non-proliferation measures and, ultimately, general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
VERTIC's NIM Programme has published two new fact sheets on national implementation measures for the international instruments to control and secure nuclear and other radioactive material. These are Fact sheet 11 on the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and Fact sheet 12 on the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources.
Aside from the mounting casualty figures and daily reports of violence in the streets of Aleppo and Damascus and elsewhere, media coverage of the ongoing Syrian conflict has directed a lot of attention in recent weeks to the potential use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against his own people – and to what kind of response that might provoke from the West. A quieter development has been the decision to end the United Nations observer mission in the country, set up in April as part of a six-point peace plan brokered by the ex-UN Secretary-General and soon-to-be-ex-envoy of the UN and Arab League to Syria, Kofi Annan.
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in a workshop on 'Implementation of Nuclear Security Legal Instruments' during 28-29 August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In this week's blog post, Andreas Persbo examines the responsibility to protect inspectors deployed in nuclear facilities from physical harm.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Timor-Leste related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
VERTIC has published a 'Guide to National Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540'.
In this week's blog post, Edward Perello examines the recent outbreak of Ebola in Uganda and the national measures taken to stop its spread.
This week, Scott Spence and Meghan Brown highlight the international law implications of Syria's recent confirmation of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
The Meeting of Experts (MX) for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) took place in Geneva from 16 to 20 July.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Samoa related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
The 1540 Compass published the article ‘VERTIC: Legal and Regulatory Assisance’ written by Rocío Escauriaza Leal, VERTIC Legal Officer.
The Arms Trade Treaty is being negotiated this month under the auspices of the United Nations in New York.
Scott Spence, VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, went through an avian influenza virus (H5N1) case study today as a Guest of the Meeting to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts. The Meeting is being held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (16-20 July).
On Wednesday 18 July 2012, VERTIC's Executive Director, Andreas Persbo, delivered a presentation on the verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in Vienna.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Nepal related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts will convene next week in Geneva. National implementation is on the agenda, as a standing item for this inter-sessional process, and VERTIC will give a presentation on this topic as an invited Guest of the meeting.
Today, VERTIC has released a brief discussing the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
This blog post discusses a recent nuclear warhead dismantlement exercise held in Norway, involving students from the University of Hamburg, and also some of the key requirements for a successful verification mission of this kind.
In this issue Tamara Patton looks at using 3D modeling for Verification Design and Sonia Drobysz examines safeguards following the NPT PrepCom.
VERTIC co-organised with UNLirec, the UN Disarmament Branch for Latin America and the Caribbean, a seminar on the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and UNSCR 1540 related obligations.
Last month, the case United States v Bond reached its final stage. Following a decision last year by the US Supreme Court which allowed Ms Carol Anne Bond to challenge her conviction under the ‘Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Implementation Act of 1998’, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has now reviewed her case and upheld her conviction.
Last week, VERTIC and Wilton Park held their second conference on verification, this time focusing on arms control and disarmament verification.
One of the main characters in Tony Scott’s 1998 film ‘Enemy of the State’, Edward Lyle, at one point exclaims, ‘you know the Hubble Telescope that looks up to the stars? They've got over a hundred spy satellites looking down at us’. He then adds, as an afterthought, ‘that's classified’. Well, not any more.
Inadequate biological waste management constitutes a risk that could lead to proliferation of infectious material and accidental outbreaks. International instruments exist to counter these dangers.
VERTIC participated in meetings convened by the Government of Madagascar on the implementation of UNSCR 1540, at the occasion of the UNSCR 1540 Committee’s in-country visit, which took place in Antananarivo and Toamasina, from 22 to 24 May.
VERTIC Senior Researcher, Larry MacFaul, presented to the Wilton Park conference 'Confidence building measures in cyber space: lessons from multilateral security regimes, held between Monday 28 - Wednesday 30 May 2012.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Kuwait related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Yesterday, Andreas Persbo travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to participate in a United Nations Association Scotland and Edinburgh conference on the Middle East.
On 10 May 2012, VERTIC Researcher David Cliff presented to the UK Project on Nuclear Issues annual conference in central London.
As previously highlighted on the VERTIC blog, there has been a storm of controversy surrounding the inclusion of aviation greenhouse gas emissions from flights into and out of the EU in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)—the EU-wide carbon market. A so-called ‘Coalition of the Unwilling’ was formed by 23 non-EU countries including the US, Russia, India and China.
In today's blog post, Angela Woodward, Programme Director of VERTIC's National Implementation Measures Programme, looks at digital documents relating to the 1925 Geneva Protocol that were recently made available online.
On 8 May 2012, VERTIC’s Executive Director, Andreas Persbo, launched our new project on the Additional Protocol before a packed conference room in the Vienna International Centre. The meeting, chaired by Ambassador Susan Burk, US Special Representative of the President for nuclear non-proliferation, also featured presentations by other governments or entities offering assistance on the Additional Protocol.
Tuesday 8 May 2012 saw VERTIC host a side-event at the NPT PrepCom meeting in Vienna on the issue of multilateral nuclear disarmament verification. This event – hosted together with ISS Africa and with input from the New Agenda Coalition – included three presentations: one by VERTIC Researcher David Cliff; one by Michiel Combrink, representing the New Agenda Coalition; and one by VERTIC Senior Researcher David Keir.
VERTIC has released a timely report analysing the legal instruments that currently underpin efforts to tackle the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material.
In today’s blog post, Andreas Persbo highlights changes to the VERTIC blog, thanks the outgoing editor, and also gives a preview of what’s in store for next week's NPT PrepCom.
Read the full post here.
Registration is now open for the upcoming VERTIC-Wilton Park conference ‘Verification in the 21st century – technological, political and institutional challenges and opportunities’, to be held from Sunday 17 June to Wednesday 20 June 2012.
Monday 16 April 2012 saw VERTIC Researcher David Cliff appear on a Voice of Russia radio panel discussion to discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis in the wake of recent talks held between Iran and the ‘P5+1’ group of countries in Istanbul.
The US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on 26 April to discuss "Biological Security: The Risk of Dual-Use Research". VERTIC's NIM Programme work was raised by Dr Daniel Gerstein, Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology, US Department of Homeland Security.
This week in the VERTIC blog, Hugh Chalmers looks back at the progress made at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit and wonders if there is any way to clear the fog surrounding national nuclear security practices.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Belarus, Liberia, Oman and Serbia related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Yesterday, VERTIC researcher David Cliff appeared on Voice of America, giving commentary on the up-coming talks with Iran.
On 30 March, Andreas Persbo participated in the second meeting of the International Law Association’s Committee on Nuclear weapons, non proliferation & contemporary international law. He delivered a short presentation on some of the legal issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme. The same session also heard a presentation on the latest IAEA report on Iran by Professor Daniel Joyner of the University of Alabama School of Law.
In this issue Gregory Briner looks at the implications for climate change monitoring after the 'COP17' conference in Durban, David Keir ponders the use of robotics in nuclear warhead dismantlement verification, and Scott Spence addresses the evolution of the VERTIC National Implementation Measures programme.
This week in the VERTIC blog Andreas Persbo celebrates the public release of a number of documents from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards.
VERTIC is very pleased to welcome Dr. Neil Selby to the International Verification Consultants Network. This exclusive network of prominent arms control and environment experts assists the Executive Director in his strategic planning, and also gives advice on VERTIC publications.
As the Netherlands inform scientists that research into avian flu will need an export permit before publication, Yasemin Balci examines the legal basis of such a measure in both national and European legislation.
Between 7-8 March 2012, VERTIC, working alongside the African Institute for Security Studies (ISS), convened a meeting in South Africa to discuss issues surrounding the potential role of relevant intergovernmental organizations in nuclear disarmament verification. The meeting, held near Johannesburg, was well-attended by representatives from a number of non-nuclear-weapon states and an intergovernmental organization. VERTIC is grateful to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their financial support for this meeting, and the project under which it was held, as well as to all who participated. More details about this project can be found here, and in VERTIC’s Brief No. 17: ‘Multilateral verification: Exploring new ideas’. A second meeting is to be held in London in August 2012.
Can the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) detect illicit nuclear testing with a high degree of confidence? This question was the topic of conversation on March 2, 2012, when the EastWest Institute, in partnership with London-based VERTIC, hosted a seminar on the verification capabilities of the current Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Moderated by EWI’s Jacqueline Miller and Andreas Persbo, Executive Director of VERTIC, the seminar featured presentations by experts Jenifer Mackby and Edward Ifft on technical advancements that have direct bearing on the CTBT’s robust and multifaceted verification regime.
Last year China announced that it was taking preliminary steps towards implementing a nation-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cap-and-trade scheme. As trial projects begin in seven cities and provinces, it seems the world’s largest emitter of GHGs may soon join the EU as the second global actor to implement cap-and-trade. Following in the EU’s steps has given China the benefit of hindsight, and the nation is under no illusions as to the volatility and complexity of carbon trading. Such schemes require firm control and robust monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), as the EU discovered when the value of their carbon credits plummeted to a four-year low in January. Is the current Chinese MRV infrastructure up to the task?
An RSS feed has been added to the VERTIC website, which is accessible through the RSS button on the bottom right of the home page. Our visitors with RSS readers will get automatic updates on the latest VERTIC news and blog postings.
North Korea and the US announced recently that they have reached an agreement whereby North Korea undertakes to stop conducting nuclear and long-range missile tests, and to halt nuclear activities at the Yongbyon facility. Importantly, the DPRK has also announced it shall allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors back to Yongbyon to confirm aspects of this suspension. The UN nuclear watchdog has stated that its inspectors are ready to monitor the key site. Given the fractious relationship the DPRK has had with Agency inspectors, how might this long-awaited return play out, and where might the limits of North Korean cooperation lie?
Short-lived pollutants such as black carbon do not typically enjoy the same attention given to greenhouse gases in multilateral climate change negotiations, despite making a significant contribution to global warming. But recent news suggests that when nations focus on these pollutants, they can agree to powerful mitigation measures in a relatively short time. With financial support from a small number of nations, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will soon implement a programme aimed at tackling these pollutants at their source; the inefficient burning of fuels. According to UNEP, if implemented widely enough this programme alone could halve the global temperature rise projected for 2050. Despite this potential, all financial support for this ‘second front in the fight against global warming’ has come from outside the dominant multilateral climate change negotiating forum. Is there a way to monitor the global levels of black carbon, and if there is how might it widen and improve the support for this new front?
Today, VERTIC hosted the launch of the latest book by Dr John R. Walker, entitled Britain and Disarmament: The UK and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Arms Control and Programmes 1956-1975.
As of 1 January 2012 aircraft operators with flights originating or terminating at airports within the European Community must participate in the European Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowance Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The EU ETS has been in place for energy intensive industrial installations since 2005, and is now the first market-based trading scheme to include emissions from aviation activities. As the expansion covers all incoming and outgoing flights, non-EU states have begun questioning its international legitimacy. Do the monitoring, reporting and verification procedures for the expanded emissions trading scheme shed any light on their concerns?
VERTIC’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr Edwina Moreton will assume the chairmanship of the Board, effective today. The Board has also selected General Hugh Beach as President of the VERTIC Charity.
For those attempting to detect sensitive fissile materials, the nature of their quarry creates significant obstacles to their hunt. Issues relating to safety, security, secrecy and size all work against nuclear inspectors, and are all unavoidably the result of the items of concern. The radiation produced by some materials, and the potentially devastating uses of others, requires such a high level of material isolation that direct interaction by nuclear inspectors is highly unlikely. This makes finding these materials somewhat like looking for a needle in a haystack, without the ability to search through the haystack. And the consequences of missing the needle can be huge. This problem was not over-stated by the former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei when he said: ‘Either we begin finding creative, outside-the-box solutions or the international nuclear safeguards regime will become obsolete.’ Thankfully, recent advances in radiation detection technology show that this call has not gone unanswered.
The National Implementation Measures team has created a new version of the ‘Sample Act for National Implementation of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Related Requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 1540’ for countries with a civil law system.
The civil law version of the Sample Act is available in French and Spanish.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Djibouti related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Although its demise is often foretold, the nuclear non- proliferation regime remains an essential part of the overall international security architecture. It is important that it remains so given the projected rise in the number of countries investing in nuclear power programmes. With this possible increase of states with nuclear power, and the associated extra facilities that would need to be safeguarded, the need for a robust and efficient International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system is becoming an increasing imperative.
Late January 2012 saw a high-level International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation – led by the Agency’s head of safeguards, Herman Nackaerts – travel to Iran with the goal of resolving ‘all outstanding substantive issues’ relating to the country’s controversial nuclear activities. The visit came amidst an upswing in tension between Iran and Western countries over an EU ban on Iranian oil imports, and just a few months after the IAEA issued a 12-page summary of ‘Possible Military Dimensions to Iran’s Nuclear Programme’. In his November 2011 report on Iran to the IAEA Board of Governors (to which the 12-page summary was annexed), the IAEA’s Director general, Yukiya Amano, noted the Agency’s ‘serious concerns’ that Iran's nuclear programme was not of an entirely peaceful nature. Having ‘carefully and critically’ assessed the ‘extensive information available to it’ – and having found that information ‘to be, overall, credible’ – Mr Amano’s report stated that Iran appears to have carried out ‘activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.’ Prior to the end of 2003, the report said, these activities seemed to have taken place under a ‘structured programme’. According to indications in the information available to the Agency, some activities relevant to weapons development continued after 2003, and it was judged that some activities may still be ongoing.
Today, VERTIC released a briefing paper on the subject of ‘Multilateral verification: Exploring new ideas’. This paper, by David Cliff and David Keir, outlines new thinking in the realm of multilateral disarmament verification and considers the arguments for incorporating multilateralism into future verified disarmament processes.
Scientists in the Netherlands and the United States may have changed avian flu into a superflu virus. With a human mortality rate of 60%, avian flu was already a highly dangerous disease. But the new version is also highly contagious, potentially spreading from human to human as easily as the seasonal flu. Although the scientists were eager to publish their results, security experts doubted whether the findings should be disclosed, stating that publication of the study could serve as a recipe for biological weapons. What does the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) say on the silencing or sharing of scientific developments?
Following the conclusion of the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), it is clear there has been no significant progress towards formally verifying compliance to the convention. Considering the impact of what little progress that was made at the conference, and what steps can be taken to improve confidence in the convention, is therefore all the more important.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Chad, Eritrea, Mauritania and Namibia related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Collecting sufficient quantities of fissile material is often considered the most challenging step towards acquiring nuclear weapons. As such, controlling the techniques used for accumulating highly-enriched uranium is a crucial aspect of nuclear non-proliferation. Laser enrichment, a third-generation technology offering a cheap and efficient route to enriched uranium, has recently moved one step closer to becoming a commercially-viable reality. Provided this technological development reaches a successful conclusion, it is worth considering the potential proliferation risks involved. What could both national and international authorities put in place, in terms of verification and safeguarding, to mitigate the risks posed?
After an intense two weeks of negotiations in Durban, the seventeenth UN climate change conference came to a dramatic close on the 11th of December. The quantity of decisions and reports produced is a clear indication of the intimidating workload which kept delegates negotiating in to the final moments of a two-day extension. With the conference outcomes in hand, the final blog post of 2011 will wrap up this year’s coverage of climate change negotiations by reflecting on issues raised by previous posts.
On 8 December 2011, Andreas Persbo traveled to Vienna, Austria, to deliver a talk on the interface between science and diplomacy to the CTBTO Advance Science Course on Science and Diplomacy. A write-up from the CTBTO is available on its website.
Mr. Persbo's presentation is available here (PDF, 356 KB).
VERTIC held a 25th anniversary event in Geneva, which included the official launch of the expansion of its NIM Programme into legislative drafting assistance for the comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
VERTIC gave a statement today during the afternoon session of the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC.
Earlier this month China announced the opening of a Beijing-based air quality monitoring centre to the public, and the adoption of stricter air quality monitoring standards. This announcement comes on the back of a social media campaign launched by high-profile figures within Chinese society. These recent changes raise questions of the transparency of China’s environmental monitoring system.
Read the new post here.
Yasemin Balci (Associate Legal Officer) participated in the 16th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention held from 27 November to 3 December in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO) recently announced the approval of a budget for the next on-site inspection (OSI) exercise. With a budget of US$10,300,000, this exercise will be a significant step towards strengthening the organisation’s OSI capabilities. The first such exercise, held in September 2008, revealed a number of important issues that will have to be resolved before the CTBTO’s OSI capabilities reach full strength. What is the aim of OSI exercises, and why are they important for the overall development of the CTBTO’s verification capabilities?
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation for Algeria and the Netherlands related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meet this week, the 35 member-state representatives will have some important decisions to make. Last Tuesday’s IAEA report on Iran has yet again stirred intense debate over the nature of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and the appropriate policy responses. While certain states may advocate particular responses to the disclosures contained in this document, ultimately the appropriate multilateral response will come through the Board of Governors. In the light cast by the clear and detailed case against Iran contained within the Director General’s report, what could or should the Board of Governors do?
Today saw VERTIC Researcher David Cliff deliver a statement to a cross-regional workshop on the ‘Role of the CTBT in Regional and Global Security’ in Istanbul, Turkey. The workshop has been jointly organised by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation and the Turkish government.
VERTIC has been identified as a legislative assistance provider in the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force's 'Report of the Working Group on Preventing and Responding to Weapons of Mass Destruction Attacks: Interagency Coordination in the Event of a Terrorist Attack Using Chemical or Biological Weapons or Materials'.
Scott Spence, Senior Legal Officer, and Rocio Escauriaza Leal, Legal Officer participated in the 'Regional Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean on the
Seventh Review Conference and National Implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention', during 9-11 November 2011, in Lima, Peru.
Stanford Professor Siegfried Hecker, a regular visitor to North Korea, recently highlighted the possibility that the isolated nation might turn to further nuclear testing. The South Korean government also fear this possibility. Why might North Korea return to nuclear testing? And if they do, how easy will it be to detect?
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in a 'Regional Workshop for South-East Europe on the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention' in Belgrade, Serbia during 1-2 November 2011.
As noted last week, a frenzy of submissions and proposals has emerged in the run up to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A particular talking point in the conference, which is to be held in Durban (November 28 – 9 December 2011), will relate to India’s recent submission to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA). This submission suggests some interesting adjustments to common verification practices under the Convention.
VERTIC has today released Brief No. 16 on ‘The CTBT: Verification and Deterrence’.
The 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban is fast approaching. After meeting in Panama for the last time before Durban, delegates from two fundamental negotiating strands produced texts to facilitate negotiations. With less than five weeks remaining, the resulting texts will give the Conference of Parties a lot to discuss. However, it seems they will be unable to promote the outcome which many developing states hope for; realising a second commitment period (CP2) under the Kyoto Protocol (KP).
Scott Spence, VERTIC's NIM Programme Senior Legal Officer, contributed the chapter 'National implementation through an effective legislative framework' in the UNIDIR/UNODA publication for the BWC Seventh Review Conference: 'Improving Implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention - The 2007–2010 Intersessional Process'.
Rocio Escauriaza Leal, VERTIC’s Legal Officer, contributed to the September issue of L'Observatoire de la Non-Prolifération/The Non-Proliferation Monthly (nº63) - issued by CESIM.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Paraguay and Uruguay related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
On 23 September 2011, over 160 ministers and senior officials convened at the United Nations in New York for the seventh biennial Article XIV Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Their two-fold purpose was deceptively simple. First, to “urge all States to remain seized of the issue at the highest political level.” Second, to encourage holdout Annex II States to commit themselves to signing and ratifying the CTBT “at the earliest possible date, thus ridding the world once and for all of nuclear test explosions.” Guinea was the latest to ratify the treaty mere days beforehand, rounding up a list of 155 ratifications and 182 States Signatories. However, this small victory is obscured by the lack of significant movement on other fronts.
Burundi deposited its instrument of ratification in London on 18 October 2011, becoming a State Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and bringing the membership of the BWC to 165. By joining the Convention, Burundi has set an example for the other 15 African States which haven't yet joined the BWC.
Zahoor Ahmed's article on 'National implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention – The case of India and Pakistan', published by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) is now available on our website.
On Friday 14 October 2011, VERTIC’s Executive Director Andreas Persbo delivered a presentation on nuclear disarmament irreversibility, the subject of a newly-released VERTIC report, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. The New York gathering was organised to mark the twin launch of VERTIC’s report, ‘Irreversibility in Nuclear Disarmament: Practical steps against nuclear rearmament’, and a companion report on irreversibility by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Both reports were written under grants from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Scott Spence, VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, participated in the symposium 'Biosecurity and Biosafety: Future Trends and Solutions' in Milan, Italy during 12-14 October.
The development of confidence-building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan was recently given a boost by a July meeting of the Colombo Group in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Group, comprised primarily of South Asian security experts, engaged in a mock exercise to explore the verified dismantlement of surplus short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs). This activity, which involved participants from both states, hoped to identify the fundamental issues involved in conducting practical dismantlement exercises in order to build towards an actual verification agreement. As India’s Prithvi I SRBM and Pakistan’s Haft I SRBM approach obsolescence, this is an ideal time to ascertain whether their removal from service can be used to build trust between both states.
An op-ed recently published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists suggests that there might be a new way to detect underground nuclear test explosions. The authors, a group of scientists from Ohio State University, have been working on turning a troublesome vulnerability of a common system into something useful. Their findings suggest that data from Global Positioning Systems (GPS), commonly used in navigation, could be used to augment existing detection techniques by detecting airborne shockwaves created by underground test explosions. The location of such explosions can then be narrowed down by comparing data on these shockwaves collected from nearby GPS receivers. This seems like a fascinating potential use of existing technology. However, there is an important issue which could prevent it from becoming a reality.
In this issue Sonia Drobysz looks at recent changes in the IAEA safeguards system, while Rocio Escauriaza Leal writes on the challenges and opportunities associated with efforts to secure universal acceptance of the Biological Weapons Convention. Plus, Verification Watch, Science & Technology Scan, Verification Quotes, Programme News and reflections by the Executive Director.
Read the full issue here.
Before the introduction of satellites, measuring the extent of Arctic sea ice was an arduous task. Historical studies using shipping logs, exhibitions and diaries give a rough indication of the spread of Arctic ice over hundreds of years. Today, a network of satellites monitor the scope of the ice while on-ice and underwater observations determine changes to the depth. The information provided by these techniques paint a dramatic picture of the future of the Arctic region. It is therefore important that they are understood, appreciated, and improved.
As some may have noticed, last week’s IAEA General Conference ended without member states being able to agree on a safeguards resolution. Reuters put the blame on some member states, quoting two Western envoys. This story was picked up by Global Security Newswire on 27 September. While there is some truth to the story, it doesn’t pick up on all the complexities of the debate.
We have recently had an e-mail outage lasting from 7:10 am on Friday until about 10:00 am on Monday. Our landlord changed internet providers but failed to forward the relevant information to our IT consultants, leading to a complete loss of communications.
Earlier tonight, the IAEA General Conference ended with the adoption of resolutions on application of safeguards in the Middle East and nuclear security, but failed on safeguards and postponed discussions on Israeli nuclear capabilities.
Read the full post here.
Day four of the IAEA General Conference saw some interesting developments. The general debate concluded with the final country statements. Following this, the plenary moved onto other agenda items: the resolution on the DPRK, examination of credentials and the appointment of the Board of Governors.
During the third day of the 55th IAEA General Conference, country statements concluded, safeguards were deliberated, and discussions were held on nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima accident. With only two days of discussion left, some progress has been made on finalising texts. However, contentious issues remain regarding a nuclear security resolution and the language used to describe the Additional Protocol.
Today at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, country statements continued in the plenary. These statements focused on safety, the Middle East and safeguards implementation issues. At the same time, the Committee of the Whole held its first session during which discussions on the safeguards resolution began. Safeguards were also discussed at length during a side event hosted by the Swiss government.
Read the new post here.
This morning the 55th regular session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference opened in Vienna. VERTIC intern Kate Farrell and pro-bono consultant Sonia Drobysz report on the first day of the conference.
Read the full report here.
Today, VERTIC Senior Researcher Dr David Keir made a presentation to the 54th IAEA General Conference in Vienna, addressing the issue of multilateral disarmament verification - a subject area that the VERTIC Arms Control and Disarmament Programme is particularly active in.
The presentation looks at the importance of verification itself, and the benefits that multilateral involvement in verification can provide. It looks back to the UK-Norway Initiative, a collaborative research effort that VERTIC has in the past been closely involved with, and forward to the potential future roles of non-nuclear-weapon states - and international organizations – in nuclear disarmament verification processes.
‘By promoting inclusiveness and equity, effective multilateralism can create order and legitimacy in international affairs’, Dr Keir said. ‘Effective multilateral disarmament verification research has the potential to build trust among parties, to find a consensus on the key technical and procedural sticking-points, to generate ways of resolving those issues, to further the disarmament cause and to bring new states into the disarmament fold.’
The presentation is available in full here.
The Guardian recently reported that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) blocked a planning application from REG Windpower to build a wind farm near Eskdalemuir. The MoD prevented construction because the vibrations from the wind farms would disturb seismic monitoring activities at Eskdalemuir. Although this frustrated REG Windpower, the Eskdalemuir monitor is part of the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS). Preventing interference with this system is important, and the MoD has a strong reason to deny the application. The MoD would object to any new turbines within 50 km of the station to ensure monitoring is not disturbed. Wind power developers are free to build outside of the 50 km zone. The problem is that Eskdalemuir is an ideal space for wind farms because it is open and sparsely populated. Unfortunately, those are the same qualities that make it an excellent seismic monitoring site.
Read the full post by Isadora Blachman-Biatch here.
Dr. David Keir joined the arms control and disarmament programme in early September 2011. He brings a wealth of technical expertise into the organization.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Cameroon and Trinidad and Tobago related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
At the end of November, South Africa will host representatives from up to 194 states for the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). The first Kyoto Protocol (KP) commitment period will expire next year. There is now significant pressure from developing states for a second commitment period to extend this, the only legally-binding set of emission reductions. However if South Africa hope to realise the conference motto of ‘Working Together, Saving Tomorrow’, they must respond to this pressure with great subtlety.
Read the post by Hugh Chalmers here.
The United States Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) recently conducted a study which highlights potential improvements in national methods of biological pathogen surveillance and detection. The paper is entitled ‘The NYC Native Air Sampling Pilot Project: Using HVAC Filter Data for Urban Biological Incident Characterization’. It shows that commercial heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, installed in many modern buildings, could be used to improve existing methods for monitoring the spread of airborne biological agents.
Read the post by Isadora Blachman-Biatch here.
From 18-22 July, 2011, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Republic of Ukraine held a regional training course for customs authorities in Eastern Europe. 20 participants from 16 states gathered in Kiev to explore technical aspects of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) transfers regime. Opening the training course, Mr Ruslan Nimchynskyi, Acting Head of Arms Control for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, noted that the fullest exchange of chemicals for peaceful purposes requires effective implementation of the CWC transfers regime.
Read the post by Kate Farrell here.
On 20 July 2011, the UN Security Council again held a debate on whether climate change is a threat to international peace and security. If it found so, the Council would be free to use its powers under the UN Charter to address it. The first such meeting in four years revealed new issues and cast a different light on the more familiar ones. What was the outcome of these discussions, and how did the Council see its role?
Read the post by Rebecca Pryce here.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Moldova, Saint Vincent and Turkey related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
VERTIC released today Brief No. 15 'Verifying multilateral regimes: uncertain futures'.
On 1 August 2011, new amendments to the MARPOL 73/78 convention under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) came into force. The new amendments which were signed on the 26 March 2010 affect both annexes I and VI of the MARPOL 73/78 convention, whose name is shorthand for the ‘International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978’. The amended annexes regulate maritime activities with the aim of preventing crude oil pollution and reducing air pollution.
Read the full post by Isadora Blachman-Biatch here.
A zone free of weapons of mass destructions has long been a stated desire of many, if not all, of the governments in the broader Middle East. However, bitter disagreement pervades on how to reach this goal. A recent round of discussions in Brussels has showed that discussion is possible, but also clearly highlighted that the road towards the objective remains mined with difficult obstacles.
Read the post by Isadora Blachman-Biatch here.
As a student of nuclear weapons proliferation, I have often hoped that one day I would be referred to as a ‘nuclear weapons specialist’. During the first student-led warhead dismantlement simulation, held in Oslo between 13-17 June 2011, I was somewhat prematurely asked to become exactly that. Along with 19 other students, I spent five days at the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology outside Oslo as a citizen of a fictitious country, negotiating a verification protocol for a conceptual warhead dismantlement treaty known as the ‘Maghda Agreement’.
Read the full post by Hugh Chalmers, here.
Today, space-based satellite monitoring systems face a problem. Their sensors, which are become ever more sophisticated, produce more information than can be easily transmitted back to earth. Installing better computing equipment on the satellites could break this bottleneck. But can today’s complicated chips withstand one of the great hazards of orbit, space radiation?
Read the full post by Rebecca Pryce here.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti and Saint Kitts and Nevis related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
On 9 June the IAEA Board of Governors opted to refer Syria to the UN Security Council, the first such referral since Iran’s case was sent to the United Nations five years ago. The Security Council will now discuss the matter, and probably soon.
Read the full post by former VERTIC intern Mikael Shirazi here.
Paul van den IJssel, President-designate of the Seventh Review Conference for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), was quoted last week as saying that he is pleased that the BWC does not receive as much attention as other treaties, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Robert Kadlec, the biosecurity adviser under former President George W. Bush noted, the community has ‘had no Prague speech ... [or] biological summit on this issue.’
To read the full post, click here.
Angela Woodward and Rocio Escauriaza Leal participated in the “Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Conference Week for East Asia and the Pacific” that took place from 27 June to 1 July in Makati City, Philippines.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from the Philippines, Fiji and the Republic of Korea, related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
In this issue Nicholas Sims looks ahead to the Seventh Review Conference of BWC states parties in December, while Mikael Shirazi and Andreas Persbo discuss the importance of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol in preventing the clandestine development of uranium enrichment facilities. Plus, Verification Watch, Verification Quotes and a special Science & Technology Scan with a travel report on the CTBT’s 2011 Science & Technology Conference by Kristiane Roe Hammer.
In this post, VERTIC intern Kristiane Roe Hammer recounts her experience as lead inspector in a mock warhead dismantlement exercise held recently in Norway.
Read the full post here.
In this post, former VERTIC intern Jospeh Burke looks at what progress has been made in the implementation of the recently-established Green Climate Fund - designed to streamline funding for climate mitigation actions around the world.
Read the full post here.
A recent article, making use of Google Earth imagery, on the environmental website Mongabay, has called attention to the damaged forests of Sarawak (a state in Malaysian Borneo), comparing their poor health with the apparently pristine forests just across the border in Indonesian and Bruneian territory.
The Wilton Park conference "Uncertain futures: where next for multilateral verification?" took place during 1-3 June with over 50 participants from many regions of the world and from intergovernmental organisations, governments and civil society. It was part of VERTIC's 25th anniversary celebrations.
The Wilton Park conference "Uncertain futures: where next for multilateral verification?" took place during 1-3 June with over 50 participants from many regions of the world and from intergovernmental organisations, governments and civil society.
The Wilton Park conference "Uncertain futures: where next for multilateral verification?" begins. It is part of VERTIC's 25th anniversary celebrations.
A summary of the conference 'Countering Biological Threats' was released today.
Mozambique deposited its instrument of accession in London on 29 March 2011, becoming a State Party to the BWC and bringing the membership of the BWC to 164. By joining the Convention, Mozambique has set an example for the other 16 African States which haven't yet joined the BWC.
An EU-funded research has developed a chip that can screen water for biological pathogens. The tiny chip renders slow laboratory analysis unnecessary and old-fashioned.
Lord Browne of Ladyton was elected to the Board of Trustees on 11 May 2011.
VERTIC today welcomes the Rt. Hon. James Arbuthnot to the Board of Trustees.
VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, Scott Spence, participated in the conference 'Countering Biological Threats' which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia during 17-19 May 2011.
Today, VERTIC continued its effort to make archived editions of Trust & Verify available to the research community.
Today, VERTIC continued its effort to make archived editions of Trust & Verify available to the research community.
VERTIC mourns the passing of trustee Ronald Nelson, and extends its deep condolences to his family and friends. Dr. Nelson passed away in South Dakota on 9 May, after having suffered a stroke.
Starting today, and leading up to our 25th Anniversary Conference at Wilton Park in June, VERTIC has started to scan and release back issues of Trust & Verify. We hope that the collection will not only illustrate the organisation’s rich past, but also serve as an archive for those who are interested in historical aspects of arms control, peace agreements, and the environment
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Spain and the European Union, related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
The recently-disclosed existence an Iranian manufacturing facility involved in the production of centrifuge components for uranium enrichment serves as a useful illustration of the verification problems associated with the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. Whilst not a breach of its duties under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the revelation does not build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iranian nuclear program and illustrates the value of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol in allaying proliferation concerns.
Read the post here.
VERTIC NIM Programme staff participated in several CWC and BWC events during the week of 9-15 April.
VERTIC was invited to participate in the 2011 ‘Space Security Conference: Building on the Past, Stepping Towards the Future’. The conference was held at the UN Office in Geneva, 4-5 April 2011. It was organized by UNIDIR and the Secure World Foundation with support from the Simons Foundation and the Governments of Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.
In this issue Acahala Chandani Abeysinghe reviews progress in the climate negotiations while John Carlson discusses the Additional Protocol. Plus the regular features.
On 31 March 2011, VERTIC sponsored an event on ‘next steps for nuclear negotiations after New Start’, which asked the question ‘What prospects for US-Russia talks and the entry into-force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty’? The office of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) gave the meeting a room in the US Senate Visitor Center.
On Monday, 28 April 2011, Andreas Persbo delivered a presentation entitled ‘Bringing the Test Ban Treaty into Law’ to about 200 delegates to the Carnegie Endowment Nuclear Policy Conference. The panel also included:
- Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute
- Vallampadugai Arunachalam, former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of India
- Timothy Morrison, Office of Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (speaking in his personal capacity)
Larry MacFaul represented VERTIC’s ACD Programme at a conference on ‘Fissile Material Treaty: Possibility and Prospects’. The conference was organized by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) and was held in Islamabad between 20-22nd March 2011.
Scott Spence, VERTIC's Senior Legal Officer, has posted a new blog entry on Libya, CW and amendment of the Rome Statute to explicitly expand the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction to chemical and biological weapons use in international and domestic armed conflict. The blog entry is available here.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Brunei, related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
VERTIC released today Brief No. 14 'Chemical and biological weapons use in the Rome Statute: a case for change'.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added legislation from Andorra and Poland, related to national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, to VERTIC's BWC Legislation Database.
Mr. John Carlson has joined VERTIC’s International Verification Consultants Network (the IVCN). This network advises the Executive Director on strategic issues, and has a role in reviewing all public VERTIC products. From time to time, the network also works as paid consultants to the organization.
On 1 February 2010, Andreas Persbo participated in a panel discussing Iran’s nuclear programme. The meeting was organized by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and held in central Oslo, Norway.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added Ecuador's implementing legislation to the BWC Database.
Rocío Escauriaza Leal, VERTIC’s Legal Officer, participated in an OSCE workshop with the aim of identifying the proper role of the OSCE in facilitating the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
Today, we transmitted the first draft of our report on irreversible nuclear disarmament to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland.
VERTIC's NIM Team has added Holy See and additional South African legislation to the BWC Legislation Database.
In this issue (available here), Scott Spence discusses the role of legislation in preventing and responding to chemical terrorism, while Andreas Persbo looks at the potential for arms control confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan.