Arms Control and Disarmament Programme: completed projects

Project on strengthened nuclear safeguards (2000-06)
 

VERTIC promotes the strengthening of the nuclear safeguards regime operated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is based in Vienna, Austria. Nuclear safeguards are designed to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material from peaceful purposes to weapons purposes and are the principal means for verifying compliance with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Improvements to safeguards include the adoption and implementation of Additional Protocols to the existing comprehensive safeguards agreements that states have signed with the IAEA.

VERTIC's research focuses on the progress of implementing the Additional Protocol, as well as the attempt by the IAEA to achieve integrated safeguards to improve effectiveness and efficiency. VERTIC also monitors the progress of other safeguards-related issues, including the Trilateral Initiative involving Russia, the US and the IAEA, and attempts to initiate negotiations on a fissile material 'cut-off' treaty at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.

In its work VERTIC cooperates with the international safeguards community, including the IAEA, the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) and the International Safeguards Division (ISD) of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), along with national safeguards offices, including including the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO).

Prospects for a standing United Nations verification mechanism for weapons of mass destruction (2003-2005)
 

Since the end of United Nations inspections in Iraq in March 2003, which took place just prior to the coalition invasion, there has been increasing debate about the future of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). The organization, which was established specifically to carry forward the unfinished work of monitoring, verifying and dismantling the remains of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, has not been permitted to re-enter the country since the end of the war. The Security Council is divided over its fate, with some members, notably France and the United Kingdom, suggesting that it be transformed into a permanent, standing UN WMD verification body. VERTIC's project is examining the feasibility of this idea, beginning with the broader issue of whether there is a need for a permanent body.

Interim report on standing WMD verification mechanism for the UN

On 10 May 2005, Trevor Findlay, Director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, presented an interim report on'A Standing United Nations WMD Verification Body: Necessary And Feasible' to NGO representatives and delegates at the NPT Review Conference in New York. The study examines the options for establishing a standing United Nations monitoring, verification and inspection body to deal with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issues.

The report, begun while Trevor was Executive Director of VERTIC, is one of four reports originally commissioned from VERTIC by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission in Sweden. Following Trevor's appointment to the Canadian centre (based at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa), the study became a cooperative project between the two centres.The final report was published in December 2005.

Publications and online resources

'Interim report: A standing United Nations WMD Verification Body: Necessary and Feasible'. Presentation by former VERTIC Executive Director Trevor Findlay to NGO representatives at the NPT Review Conference, New York, May 2005.

Verification Yearbook 2004

The lessons of UNSCOM and UNMOVIC
Trevor Findlay

Verification Yearbook 2003

UNMOVIC in Iraq: opportunity lost
Trevor Findlay and Ben Mines

• 'A Standing United Nations WMD Verification Mechanism?' Presentation by Trevor Findlay, Executive Director of VERTIC, to a Regional Meeting, sponsored by the Japanese Government, with United Nations High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, Kyoto, Japan, 6 July 2004
• 'Preserving UNMOVIC: the Institutional Possibilities' by Trevor Findlay in Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 76, March/April 2004

VERTIC's Iraq Weapons Inspections Database provides access to a searchable database that details each of the inspections conducted by the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors between 27 November 2002 and 17 March 2003, when the inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq.

Implementation of the 1997 Ottawa Landmine Convention (1999-2002)
 

Researchers: Angela Woodward
Past funders: Landmine Monitor, Government of Belgium, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Ministry of Defence

VERTIC has been involved in promoting and supporting effective implementation of the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines since the treaty’s entry into force in 1999. Research on the project has concentrated on the verification and compliance mechanisms; including the implementation of Article 7, which obliges states to report on their compliance; Article 8 relating to the treaty’s compliance provisions; and the requirement under Article 9 to adopt national implementation legislation. VERTIC works closely with states parties, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and Landmine Monitor. VERTIC contributed to the annual Landmine Monitor report for several years.

Guide to reporting under Article 7

In 2001 VERTIC published a Guide to Reporting under Article 7 of the Ottawa Convention. Based on consultations with states parties, international and non-governmental organisations, and with the assistance of Landmine Action (UK), the guide was designed to assist states parties in meeting their legal obligation to report annually to the UN Secretary-General on their activities under the treaty. The guide also suggested areas where voluntary reporting might be useful. It illustrated best practice for completing Article 7 report forms, including recommendations on the type, format and amount of information that should be provided. The publication was intended to be useful to officials completing the forms and to those tasked with assembling the necessary information. The guide also included a CD-ROM containing the blank report forms. 

Funding for the production and publication of the guide was provided by the Government of Belgium. The guide was presented to the Second Meeting of States Parties held in Managua, Nicaragua in November 2001. 

Copies of the guide may be obtained in hard copy from VERTIC or downloaded from this website. It is also available in other UN languages from the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs.

Guide to fact-finding missions

Article 8 of the Ottawa Convention details procedures that may be used to help resolve a concern about compliance with the treaty. The procedures include issuing a request for clarification, using the good offices of the UN Secretary-General and dispatching a fact-finding mission to collect relevant information for assessment at a meeting of states parties. As none of these procedures has yet been used, despite credible cases of suspected non-compliance being raised in meetings of states parties, there remains some uncertainty as to how they will be implemented. 

VERTIC has contributed to discussions among states parties and interested organisations on the issue by producing aGuide to Fact-Finding Missions under the Ottawa Convention. Published in 2003, the guide is intended to assist states parties in their advance planning and preparations for receiving a fact-finding mission, as well as suggesting activities they may wish to carry out immediately prior to, during and after receiving an actual mission. It also provides information on how fact-finding missions relate to the rest of the Ottawa Convention and when and how such missions may be initiated and organised.

VERTIC launched the guide at the states parties’ consultation on the facilitation and clarification of compliance held in Geneva, Switzerland in January 2003. It is available in hard-copy from VERTIC or from the VERTIC website.

Publications

Angela Woodward, Guide to fact-finding missions under the Ottawa Convention, VERTIC, December 2002.
VERTIC, Guide to Reporting under Article 7 of the Ottawa Convention, VERTIC, London, 2001.
Angela Woodward, ‘Verifying the Ottawa Convention’, Verification Yearbook 2001, VERTIC, London, 2001. 
Laurence Baxter and Angela Woodward, with Trevor Findlay, ‘The Mine Ban Treaty and National Implementation Legislation’, Landmine Monitor 2001, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Washington, 2001. 
Angela Woodward, 'The United Nations' Role in Implementing the Compliance Aspects of the Ottawa Convention', Landmine Monitor 2000, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Washington, 2000.
Trevor Findlay, ‘Verification of the Ottawa Convention: workable hybrid or fatal compromise?’, Disarmament Forum, September 1999.
VERTIC, ‘Landmines in International Law: Ratification and National Implementation’, Landmine Monitor 1999,International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Washington, 1999. 
Joe McGrath and David Robertson, ‘Monitoring the Landmine Convention: Ratification and National Implementation Legislation’, VERTIC Research Report No. 5, VERTIC, London, 1999.

Links

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) 
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) 
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Human Rights Watch (Arms Division)
Landmine Action
Landmine Monitor
Mines Action Canada
United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs (UNDDA) (Ottawa Convention website)
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)