The first of three Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) sessions opens in Vienna 30 April in the run-up to the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Some 130 States Party to the NPT are expected to attend the two-week meeting at the Austria Center. They will address substantive and procedural issues related to strengthening the authority and implementation of the Treaty and making recommendations in this regard for adoption by the Review Conference.
With near universal adherence, the NPT is regarded as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Its objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to further the goal of achieving general and complete nuclear disarmament, and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In recent years, however, the NPT regime has come under stress on multiple fronts. It is expected that this first PrepCom session, in beginning to lay the groundwork for the 2010 Review Conference, will address these challenges while also bearing in mind the package of decisions and resolution adopted in 1995 and the Final Document agreed in the 2000.
Although the IAEA is not a party to the NPT, it is entrusted with key roles and responsibilities under that Treaty. Article III, in particular, tasks the IAEA with verifying that non-nuclear weapon States party to the NPT fulfil their nuclear non-proliferation undertaking, "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." The IAEA also facilitates and provides a channel for endeavours aimed at "the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes", in the context of Article IV.
Ever since the first NPT Review Conference in 1975, States Party to the NPT have reiterated that IAEA safeguards play a key role in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In the 2000 Final Document, they reaffirmed that the IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring, in accordance with its Statute and the IAEA´s safeguards system, compliance with States´ obligations under Article III.l of the Treaty.
The 2007 PrepCom session, chaired by Ambassador Yukiya Amano of Japan, signals the start of the formal preparations for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Review Conferences are held every 5 years. This is the first time a NPT Preparatory Committee session is being held in Vienna - the same year in which the IAEA is commemorating its 50th anniversary.