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VERTIC hosts seminar on nuclear disarmament verification during the 2019 Preparatory Committee

Co-hosted with UNODA, the VERTIC seminar on 3 May examined the role of verification in multilateral arms control and the development of verification standards and techniques as a way to re-energise nuclear disarmament discussions.

Speakers included:

  1. Ambassador Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Brazil;
  2. Mr LI Chijiang, Vice President and Secretary-General, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA);
  3. Ms Elena Gai, Researcher, VERTIC;
  4. Joseph F. Pilat, Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and
  5. Jørn Osmundsen, Special Envoy for Disarmament Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More than 30 diplomats and NGO staff participated in the seminar including representatives of nuclear weapons states.

Speakers provided their perspectives on the general principles of nuclear disarmament verification with Ambassador Patriota suggesting that one such principle being its multilateral nature to provide all states with the confidence that the disarmament process is irreversible. He also spoke to the possible lessons that could be learnt from the ABACC experience and reflected on the need for a multilateral scientific or technical expert group on nuclear disarmament verification to be established, perhaps within the Conference on Disarmament.

Mr Li Chijiang outlined four pillars on which to base future verification endeavours: effectiveness; non-discrimination; non-proliferation; and, objectivity.

Ms Elena Gai articulated VERTIC’s position on the role of verification in advancing multilateral nuclear disarmament and outlined several projects that VERTIC has been involved in or is currently implementing.

Mr Joseph F. Pilat discussed how technical exchanges on verification standards and techniques could support the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament. Mr Pilat argued that although verification requirements will ultimately be decided politically, now is the time to develop the tools necessary for the irreversible, verifiable and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

Mr Jørn Osmundsen commented on the importance of resource mobilisation in supporting multilateral arms control. He noted that there is a growing interest in nuclear disarmament verification. However, activities in this regard were based mainly in western countries and that there is, therefore, a need for resources and capacity building.