This series, launched in 2003, replaced the former VERTIC Briefing Papers. VERTIC Briefs are published on an ad hoc basis, on subjects of immediate interest. They are often produced for, and distributed at, major international conferences. To order a print copy of a VERTIC Brief, please contact Katherine Tajer.
Iran's nuclear fuel cycle: a technical outline
Nuclear disarmament verification: the case for multilateralism
In this brief, the case for multilateral involvement in nuclear disarmament verification is discussed, with reference to VERTIC’s ongoing capacity-building effort with non-nuclear-weapon states and intergovernmental organisations. This project has been running since 2011, with the objective of consolidating a role for the IAEA in disarmament verification, as well as reviewing the requirements of verification technology.
Challenging times for sustainable fisheries
Multilateral verification: Exploring new ideas
David Cliff and David Keir
VERTIC Brief no. 17, January 2012
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.
The CTBT: Verification and Deterrence
Verifying multilateral regimes: uncertain futures
VERTIC Brief no. 15, August 2011
This brief summarizes the discussions and conclusions of participants attending VERTIC’s recently-held 25-year anniversary conference. The meeting, ‘Uncertain futures: where next for multilateral verification?’, discussed the operation and future direction of multilateral verification regimes. It was hosted by Wilton Park in Steyning, West Sussex, from 1-3 June 2011.
Chemical and biological weapons use in the Rome Statute: a case for change
Kara Allen with Scott Spence and Rocío Escauriaza Leal
VERTIC Brief no. 14, February 2011
The Rome Statute is intended to encompass ‘the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.’ International law, custom, and jurisprudence show that the use of chemical and biological weapons falls within this category. However, the treaty does not contain a clear ban on the use of either type of weapon.
Perspectives on the 2010 IAEA General Conference
Arms Control and Disarmament Programme
VERTIC Brief no. 13, December 2010
In September 2010, the International Atomic Energy Agency held its 54th General Conference. This paper summarizes diplomatic manouvering at the Conference, and assesses its impact on future conferences.
Verification implications of the 2010 NPT Review
David Cliff with Hugh Chalmers and Sonia Drobysz
VERTIC Brief no. 12, December 2010
Towards a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East
Sameh Aboul-Enein and Hassan ElBahtimy
VERTIC Brief no. 11, May 2010
Putting the CTBT into Practice
Malcolm Coxhead and David Jepsen
VERTIC Brief no. 10, December 2009
This Brief examines the practical application of the various elements of the CTBT verification regime, their interplay, and suggests a model for technical interaction among States Parties to facilitate verification.
Report on VERTIC’s Technical Coordination Meeting: For legislative assistance facilitators and providers in the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons fields
VERTIC Brief no. 9, March 2009
This Brief contains some of the ideas, themes and conclusions that emerged during the Technical Coordination Meeting for legislative and technical assistance facilitators and providers, hosted by VERTIC on 29 January 2008. The meeting aimed to discuss approaches to developing the capacity of states, to hear experiences of providing assistance, to discover lessons learned, and finally, to consider ways in which facilitators and providers could liaise or collaborate with each other in the future to achieve the overall objective of a safer, more secure world.
News from Open Skies: A co-operative treaty maintaining military transparency
VERTIC Brief no. 8, March 2009
This Brief outlines the main provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies and discusses the interest of the original and new States Parties in the agreement. It focuses primarily, though, on events since 2005: the first Review Conference, preparations for use of additional sensor categories, the flight allocation for 2008, and the outcome of treaty implementation—that is, support for monitoring of arms control treaties and military transparency in a co-operative setting.
On-site inspections for the CTBT: long-running discussions achieve progress
VERTIC Brief no. 7, July 2008
This Brief examines explores the elaboration of inspection procedures for the on-site inspections (OSI) mechanism of CTBT. In particular the author gives an overview of the elaboration process of the Operational Manual and the difficulties encountered for reaching consensus on key issues. The paper also highlights the forthcoming major inspection exercise which is due to take place from in Vienna, Austria and in Kazakhstan, from the 25 August to 30 September 2008.
Adoption of procedures and mechanisms relating to compliance under the Kyoto Protocol: a guide
VERTIC Brief no. 6, November 2005
This Brief examines the implications, both practical and legal, of the options for adoption of the procedures and mechanisms relating to compliance under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The options are by COP/MOP decision, amendment to the protocol or by some other approach. It is possible that the options can be combined.
Larry MacFaul argues that the most judicious way forward is for the procedures and mechanisms to be adopted by COP/MOP decision at COP/MOP 1. A process for adoption by amendment may also be initiated but the potential consequences of this course of action, as outlined in this paper, will need to be carefully evaluated. Consideration should also be given to the possibility of including this issue in the negotiations on the post-2012 regime. Adoption could be included in a legal instrument or amendment which establishes commitments for the post-2012 regime. Again this should be additional to adoption by COP/MOP decision at COP/MOP1.
Kyoto Protocol national systems and registries: countdown to 2008
VERTIC Brief no. 5, December 2004
Larry MacFaul examines the compliance and eligibility requirements facing parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change in the run-up to its first commitment period (2008-2012). These requirements relate to the estimation and reporting of emissions. The development of national systems for emissions estimation and registries for accounting parties' emissions tading units provide the basis for meeting these requirements. To establish their systems and registries states need significant capacity and resources. So far, parties have made consider progress in developing them. However, to meet the eligibility requirements and be deemed in compliance there is much to do and only a short while to do it before the Kyoto Protocol deadlines take effect.
Biological weapons: minding the verification gap
VERTIC Brief no. 4, Febuary 2004
The BWC is the cornerstone of international efforts to control the development and proliferation of biological and toxin weapons. VERTIC Brief no. 4 explores the strengths and weaknesses of the BWC, focussing on attempts to improve its ineffective verification and compliance system. The paper considers the political context of the failure to negotiate a verification protocol establishing an international Organization for the Prohibition of Biological Weapons (OPBW). It also examines progress on the minimalist work programme agreed by the resumed session of the Fifth BWC Review Conference in 2002.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: virtually verifiable now
VERTIC Brief no. 3, April 2004
Ben Mines provides a progress report on the establishment of the verification regime for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty banning nuclear tests in all environments. The paper reveals the steady development of a system which promises significantly greater verifiability than that envisaged by its designers. Dr Mines argues that full implementation of all aspects of the verification system should be pursued, even without entry into force of the treaty, in order to help refute claims that the treaty is unverifiable and to signal to treaty hold-outs that its supporters are intent on seeing its promise realised.
93+10: strengthened nuclear safeguards a decade on
VERTIC Brief no. 2, April 2004
The Brief considers the progress made in strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards ten years after the so-called 93+2 programme was launched in 1993 following the discovery of Iraq's clandestine attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. It analyses steps taken by the IAEA itself under its existing legal authority and the status of attempts to have all States adopt Additional Protocols to give the Agency wider powers of information-gathering and inspection. The paper also assesses the challenges facing the Agency in rationalising the old and new safeguards regimes through what it calls 'integrated safeguards'. The Brief concludes with some recommendations on how nuclear safeguards might be further strengthened.
Verification of a nuclear weapon-free world
VERTIC Brief no. 1, May 2003
In this first VERTIC Brief, Trevor Findlay considers the requirements for verifying complete nuclear disarmament. He describes the verification tasks that will need to be accomplished while ‘getting to zero’, including those related to nuclear weapons, nuclear research and development and manufacturing capabilities, nuclear-capable delivery systems and fissionable material. The Brief also considers the institutional components of the verification and compliance regime that are likely to be required, ranging from a substantial technical secretariat to a strengthened United Nations Security Council. Special attention is paid to the ‘breakout’ problem—the sudden re-emergence of a nuclear weapon state in a denuclearised world—and the possible responses. Finally, the paper considers what it terms the ‘necessary precursors’ for building an effective verification system for a nuclear weapon-free world, all of which exist in embryonic form at present but which must be greatly developed and enhanced if ‘getting to zero’ is to succeed.