On 27 July 2010, the European Union made a special contribution to the budget of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. The contribution, almost €5.3m, aims to improve the CTBTO’s auxiliary seismic station network and strengthen on-site inspection verification and noble gas monitoring. The money will also enable the CTBTO to provide technical support to countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean region. This will allow them to take part in and contribute to the CTBTO’s verification regime.
The EU acted under its Strategy on Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The strategy aims, in part, to strengthen ‘political, financial and technical support to verification regimes’. This also includes the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. The cash injection is the largest ever EU contribution to the organization, and comes at a time of high strain on national budgets.
In a statement the EU held that ‘the nuclear tests announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in October 2006 and May 2009 not only demonstrated the importance of a universal ban of nuclear tests, they also underscored the need for an effective verification regime’. ‘A fully operational and credible CTBT verification regime will provide the international community with reliable, independent means to ensure that this norm is respected’, the statement concluded.
The CTBTO budget for 2010 is about €92m. The EU contributes about 40 per cent of that. The EU’s voluntary donation of over €5m is above this annual contribution.
Treaty compliance will eventually be monitored by 337 remote stations using four different types of sensor technology (seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide). These are tied into a global communications network providing the Preparatory Commission with near real-time data. An on-site inspection is the last verification tool, which will only be used in cases of suspected non-compliance.
Sources: EU Strategy on Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 10 December 2003; CTBTO Press Release, 27 July 2010.