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  LIbrary Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Working Paper, 1999

A Working Paper Submitted by Canada


Further enhancing the strengthened review process for the Treaty

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Canada attaches fundamental importance to the concept of a strengthened review process' as initiated by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. The purpose of such a process is "to assure that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized."

We should strive to ensure that the Review Process, which consists of the Preparatory Committees, the Review Conference and any other steps or mechanisms agreed by the States parties, is able to work substantively throughout its five-year cycle (i.e. not just at the formal Review Conferences themselves).

The effective implementation of well-designed strengthened review process is central to the full observance of the principle of 'permanence with accountability'. The exercise of accountability, poses two basic questions: for what are states parties accountable? and, how is that accountability to be exercised? The Preparatory Committee should carefully examine both of these questions with a view to taking decisions at the 2000 Review Conference to strengthen further the review process. Any consideration of measures to strengthen further the Review Process should enhance the 1995 Decision.

Accountability: For What?

The 1995 Decision on "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty" makes clear that States party see themselves as accountable for "assuring that the purpose of the Preamble and provisions of the Treaty are being realized." This is reinforced by paragraph four of that Decision to the effect that the Preparatory Committee is "to consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality (emphasis added). The 'Principles and Objectives (1995)' or any future 'Principles and Objectives' document thus do not establish requirements for accountability; rather they "identify the areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought in the future" (paragraph seven).

Accountability: How?

Given the purpose stated above how can the Review Process best be strengthened further? There are two areas in which this could be done:

A. Organizational Structure of the Review Process:

The "cluster" approach as further modified in 1985 compels consideration of implementation issues in a confusing and overlapping manner. Canada suggests the 2000 Review Conference should consider replacing the 'cluster' approach with an approach focused on a straightforward review of implementation of 'the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty', article by article. Such an approach could be complemented by a decision or decisions to establish 'subsidiary bodies... for specific issues relevant to the Treaty, so as to provide for a focused consideration of such issues' (paragraph 6 of the 1995 Decision).

B. The Preparatory Committees :

Several ideas directly relevant to the conduct of the PrepComs should be considered: Preparatory Committees should organize their work as suggested above, i.e. focused on the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty; Preparatory Committees should be able to treat timely, high profile issues on a consensus basis (per Canada's proposal at the 1998 and 1999 Preparatory Committee sessions); Preparatory Committees should be able to establish by consensus subsidiary bodies to the Preparatory Committee for the duration of a Session of the Preparatory Committee; Preparatory Committees should be able to establish by consensus subsidiary bodies to carry out intersessional studies between Sessions of the Preparatory Committee; Preparatory Committees should consider flexibility as to their duration, e.g. 'Normally for a duration of 10 working days' but with a possible extension to a duration of 15 working days; Preparatory Committees, as non-negotiating forums, should summarize their deliberations and forward them to successive Sessions culminating in I recommendations' to the Review Conference itself.

C.The Review Conference:

Each Review Conference should look backward and forward substantively. For its backward look, it should produce a review document. For its forward look, it should produce by consensus a new Principles and Objectives document. Each Review Conference should also consider the vitality and integrity of the Review Process itself. When States Parties consider it necessary, a Review Conference could produce a decision on further enhancing the Strengthened Review Process.