Highlighting the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) key role in the global nuclear weapon non-proliferation regime, the first meeting in the preparatory cycle for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference takes place in Vienna for the second time since 2007.
In a statement to the opening day of the meeting, IAEA Assistant Director General Rafael Grossi reaffirmed "the Agency's strong commitment to carrying out its statutory mission and supporting the implementation of the NPT."
Organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference is meeting in Vienna from 30 April to 11 May. The meeting is chaired by Ambassador Peter Woolcott, Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
The NPT is intended to stem the spread of nuclear weapons while promoting the peaceful benefits of nuclear technology. Today 190 States are party to the Treaty, which entered into force in 1970. The Treaty recognizes five "nuclear-weapon states", which are required to negotiate complete nuclear disarmament, while all other Treaty participants are considered "non-nuclear-weapon states", which commit to never acquiring nuclear weapons.
The Treaty text requires its parties to meet every five years "to review the operation of this Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realised." In each of the three years preceding this Review Conference, the Treaty parties gather for a Preparatory Committee to identify and organize the issues the main Conference will address.
The Agency has an important role in implementing a number of the Treaty's main provisions. For example, all non-nuclear-weapon state parties are required to sign a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA to enable the Agency to verify that those nations' nuclear activities are peaceful. Furthermore, the NPT affirms "the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." In addition, the 2010 Review Conference final document and its agreed actions frequently cite the role of the IAEA in furthering the aims of the Treaty.
"In the course of the Vienna PrepCom, the IAEA will display a number of its day-to-day activities, notably through a series of side-events to be held over the next two weeks," said Christophe Carle, a senior official in the IAEA Director General's Office for Policy. "We look forward to the States Parties' discussion of how the IAEA can continue to support this Treaty, which remains central for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament after more than 40 years."