Remarks from NTI President Joan Rohlfing
IPNDV 5th Plenary – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Opening Session – November 29, 2017
I am delighted to be in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires and to have the opportunity to participate in another IPNDV plenary and learn more about the important results from Phase I. I’m also looking forward to developing our approach to Phase II, which I’m sure will further advance new approaches to address various nuclear disarmament challenges.
As you know, IPNDV is a unique partnership of countries both with and without nuclear weaponsfocused on identifying challenges associated with nuclear disarmament verification and identifying potential solutions to address these challenges.
This initiative has only become more important since we launched in 2014. Over the last three years, international political divisions regarding nuclear disarmament have only increased, and disagreements about the best way forward have become more visible and entrenched.
We can all agree, however, that there is significant and important work to do about how to verify and monitor a world without nuclear weapons. We can agree that this work is highly technical and difficult. And based on the Phase I conclusions, we can agree that the path is being cleared, partly through this process.
IPNDV is intended to lay a solid foundation for future arms control agreements. We are doing the difficult “technical homework” over a sustained, multi-year process that will enable future disarmament to take place when the political environment allows it.
My organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, has been very pleased to partner with the U.S. State Department and all of you on this unique and important journey over the past three years.
As its first task, IPDNV took on one of the most important, complex and technically challenging tasks associated with nuclear disarmament verification – namely, how to effectively monitor the dismantlement of a nuclear weapon.
Effective monitoring of such dismantlement is essential to enable nuclear disarmament to take place. And it’s complicated because the countries with nuclear weapons need to provide assurance that the weapons have been safely taken apart, without revealing any sensitive information.
I would like to congratulate you for the important work you have done in this forum to tackle the challenges associated with warhead dismantlement.
We are excited to take all those lessons and move to the next Phase of the Partnership this week. In Phase II we will delve deeper into the monitoring and verification technologies and procedures you have already identified, and address verification issues across the wider nuclear disarmament process.
In particular, we will focus on monitoring and verification issues associated with the 14 step-process for dismantling nuclear weapons. Those steps start when a nuclear weapon is removed from a delivery vehicle at the deployment site, then move through dismantlement, all the way through disposition of the components.
Our goal is complete Phase II within two years so that our results can help inform the 2020 NPT Review Conference.
Later this morning – after the summary from the co-chairs – you will hear more about the some of the key deliverables resulting from Phase I. We at NTI, working side by side with the U.S. State Department, have worked very hard over the summer months to get all of this ready for a successful completion of Phase I.
In particular, the Walkthrough Exercise Summary Report as well as the Phase I Summary Report are two very useful documents that highlight the immense progress all of us have made together. I hope you will have a chance to share it with your governments.
NTI is committed to the Partnership and we are very grateful for the time and effort that each of you personally have put into making the partnership a success. I encourage you to continue this work and help ensure the long-term success of this important endeavor.