Verification and Monitoring projects

Supporting multilateral verification of nuclear disarmament

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Project updates

  • 16/08/2011: Start of Phase I of the project.
  • 27/01/2012: VERTIC releases briefing paper on ‘Multilateral verification: Exploring new ideas‘, by David Cliff and David Keir.
  • 08-09/03/2012: First international experts meeting (Johannesburg, South Africa).
  • 20-21/08/2012: Second international experts meeting (Farnham, United Kingdom).
  • 01/05/2013: Start of Phase II of the project.
  • 25-26/06/2013: Third international experts meeting (Stockholm, Sweden).
  • 25/04/2013: VERTIC releases briefing paper on ‘Nuclear disarmament verification: the case for multilateralism‘, by David Cliff, Hassan Elbahtimy, David Keir and Andreas Persbo.
  • 5/12/2013: First Vienna seminar held, on ‘Verification for Disarmament, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control.’
  • 13-14/01/2014: Fourth international experts meeting (Cape Town, South Africa).
  • 13/02/2014: Second Vienna seminar held, on ‘Results and Lessons from the Trilateral Initiative on the IAEA Verification of Weapon-Origin Fissile Material.’
  • 26/05/2014: Third Vienna seminar held on ‘Dismantling the Iraqi Nuclear Programme: The Inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency, 1991-1998.’
  • 9-11/06/2014: ‘WMD verification: global capacity challenges’ conference held at Wilton Park, UK.
  • 23-24/06/2014: Fifth international experts meeting (Aschau im Chiemgau, Germany).
  • 3-4/09/2014: ‘Verification Solutions’ working group meeting (London, UK).
  • 4-5/03/2015: Sixth and final international experts meeting (London, UK).
  • 15/05/2015: Presentations on project work delivered at NPT Review Conference (see presentations section below).
  • 11/09/2015: Release of Verification Matters 10 and 11 (see public documents below).
  • 16/11/2015: Release of Verification Matters 12 (see public documents below)

The project examines how nuclear disarmament can be verified through multilateral arrangements and explores the potential role that international and multilateral organisations can play in this process.

So far, the bulk of nuclear disarmament verification has been done bilaterally or through informal arrangements. But an emphasis on multilateral solutions is growing. Action 19 of the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference notes the agreement of all parties on the importance of ‘supporting cooperation’ amongst a wide range of actors aimed towards ‘increasing confidence, improving transparency and developing efficient verification capabilities related to nuclear disarmament’.

Action 30 of the same document calls for ‘the wider application of safeguards to peaceful nuclear facilities in the nuclear-weapon states, under the relevant voluntary offer safeguards agreements, in the most economic and practical way possible, taking into account the availability of IAEA resources,’ stressing also ‘that comprehensive safeguards and additional protocols should be universally applied once the complete elimination of nuclear weapons has been achieved.’

This project aims to provide a systematic investigation of the various verification options and solutions for disarmament verification. In particular, it examines how current multilateral verification standards and best practices can be developed and deployed to achieve the effective verification of nuclear disarmament. The project also seeks to engage with non-nuclear-weapon states, in addition to nuclear-weapon states, to assess international attitudes toward the multilateral verification of disarmament—as well as to inform the evolving international debate on this issue.

Key activities

  • The creation of a simulated environment for nuclear disarmament that includes detailed fuel cycle modeling, the development of disarmament scenarios and the modeling of notional dismantlement facilities.
  • The oganisation of six international experts meetings under the project before the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
  • The establishment of a series of public seminars on disarmament verification (held in Vienna, in collaboration with the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation).
  • The organisation of two conferences dedicated to disarmament verification at Wilton Park in the UK.
  • Various publications and outreach activities designed to contribute to the international debate on disarmament verification.

Public documents
A number of public documents, either related by subject matter or published directly under this project, have been produced by VERTIC staff over recent years.

VERTIC staff regularly present on issues pertinent to mulitlateral nulcear disarmament verification. Relevant presentations include the following: