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Remarks to the Conference on Disarmament – Discussion on Nuclear Disarmament Verification
As Delivered by Ambassador Bruce Turner
August 15, 2023

Remarks to the Conference on Disarmament

Discussion on Nuclear Disarmament Verification

As Delivered by Ambassador Bruce Turner

Thank you again, Mr. President, for organizing today’s important session. And I want to thank our excellent panelists as well. This was a live example of the kinds of interactive exercises we need to be having more regularly.

Verification is the bedrock of effective and enduring nuclear disarmament, and the United States is committed to verifiability as a central and indispensable disarmament principle. An array of past and ongoing multilateral partnerships, working groups, and exercises play an immeasurable role in preparing for this work.

One of these key efforts, the UN Group of Governmental Experts Established to Further Consider Nuclear Disarmament Verification Issues (the GGE), recently concluded its work after two years of substantive discussions among a diverse group of experts. I would like to extend my congratulations to Norway, and the capable Chair of the Group, Mr. Osmundsen, for ably steering this GGE to a successful conclusion and adoption of a consensus report. We look forward to its presentation later this year to the General Assembly.

The work of this group serves to inspire further efforts in the field of nuclear disarmament verification. One of the more interesting proposals to come from the GGE process is that of Brazil for the formation of a Group of Scientific and Technical Experts to address issues in this vital area. I think Mr. Osmundsen referred to this. The United States continues to support exploration of this concept, in particular the modalities for its establishment and working methods, as well as a possible mandate for such a group.

Mr. President,

We have also heard this morning about another vital project designed to advance thinking and understanding of these important concepts, the French-German Nuclear Disarmament Verification, or NuDiVe exercises, held in 2019 and 2022. We would like to congratulate the French and German organizers for successfully planning and executing these two exercises. The lessons learned from this project directly contribute to increasing global capacity in this area, which in turn enhances the ability of all states to participate effectively in nuclear disarmament verification efforts. Delegations will get a chance to experience many of these lessons through the innovative virtual reality tool developed as a result of the exercises.

Without question, such new and innovative verification tools can play an essential role in any future nuclear disarmament agreements. As we in the United States, together with our allies and partners, continue to navigate the challenges associated with future nuclear disarmament, we have always recognized the need for inventive thinking on nuclear disarmament verification.

With that in mind, the United States launched the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, or IPNDV, in 2014. Today the Partnership includes 31 countries – many in the room today – plus the European Union.

Mr. President,

Since its creation nearly a decade ago, the Partnership has succeeded in bringing together states with and without nuclear weapons to foster collaborative engagement on the technical challenges facing future nuclear disarmament verification and to identify potential solutions to those challenges. The Partnership has been a leader in the collaborative development of conceptual and practical understanding of key verification concepts.

As a result of the IPNDV’s work, which has included tabletop exercises and other real-world verification simulations, the Partnership has produced an impressive and valuable toolkit that can strengthen future arms control regimes.

There are also other efforts, for example, the Quad Nuclear Verification Partnership between Norway, Sweden, the UK and the United States, that have built on the work of the UK-Norway Initiative and previous UK-US arms control exercises. The work of the Partnership has tackled real-world considerations related to the inclusion of non-nuclear-weapon States in nuclear disarmament verification.

And the work does not stop there. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, or AVC, is working hard with U.S. interagency counterparts and with partners and allies to analyze and address the full range of complex issues at play. The AVC Bureau provides funding to preserve critical verification assets and to promote the development of new verification technologies through a special program we call the “V Fund.” The V Fund allows AVC to build partnerships with allies and like-minded organizations interested in advancing nuclear disarmament verification.

Today, given the increasingly fraught security landscape, our challenges seem to be growing by the day. But that only highlights why work on nuclear disarmament verification is so important. Efforts like the IPNDV, the GGE, and exercises like NuDiVe, can help find solutions to navigating the obstacles to a future world without nuclear weapons.

In other words, I believe we are building an effective and workable approach to nuclear disarmament verification. We urge every CD member state to continue to support and advance this work, and to remain open to new ideas for charting a viable path to achieving our common goal.

I thank you.