June 20, 2019

Utrecht, the Netherlands

Hester Somsen

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands


Remarks by Ms. Hester Somsen

Director of the Security Policy Department of Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the IPNDV Working Group Meeting

20 June 2019, Utrecht

Very happy to be here for the final plenary session of the IPNDV Joint Working Group Meeting in Utrecht.

As I understand, much work has been done over these three days in the different working groups, and I hope that this meeting has been a useful step in settling on the outcomes of Phase 2 of the IPNDV

You have heard much from my colleagues about history this week, so I will focus a little bit on the future during this closing plenary.

After all, Utrecht is thanks to its history an inspirational city, as you were told. But also an aspirational city. NL won Eurovision songfestival, Utrecht ambition to hold the Eurovision songfestival in 2020. As you know the competitors are judged by an expert jury and by the public at large. The same is true for IPNDV.

Very glad to see the focus on different exercises and walkthroughs here at the meeting. IPNDV work can be difficult to understand, or highly abstract/conceptual in nature.

But initiatives such as the French/German exercise in Julich, where participants focus on a very specific step in the dismantlement process, will hopefully help us to achieve more tangible results.

So I would encourage you, when you discuss your plans for the third Phase of IPNDV, to really focus on possibilities for practical work. What exercises could be important to test all the models that IPNDV has developed so far? What scenario, or scenarios, could be used for walkthroughs and simulations that could help us think of new verification models and regimes?

We have also tried to contribute in this sense, by asking our applied sciences research center TNO to dive into detection methods for high explosives. I hope many of you will attend the demonstration tomorrow, and I hope that it will be useful.

I would also encourage you, in your outlook on Phase 3, to be ambitious, and to really keep in mind the question of outreach.

IPNDV is a success, but we have to keep moving forward and set goals that challenge ourselves.

And, we need to be able to tell the wider disarmament community what we are doing, and get their support. We have to keep our eyes on the wider context of our work here, especially the context of the NPT.

We consider IPNDV, and verification in general, a crucial element of the implementation of our NPT commitments. But we also need to be able to convince those countries that are not in this room of that.

That means going to those countries with our results and achievements, and asking for their feedback. It also means that we listen to what they tell us about our products, and perhaps even find more ways to involve them in some of the IPNDV activities such as exercises.

Let me conclude by reiterating that it is a pleasure to have you all here. On behalf of NL I would thank you all for making the journey to Utrecht – some from really far – and to making this meeting a success.