Thus far in this year, Tuvalu and Gambia have ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), bringing the total number of countries who have both signed and ratified the treaty to 172.
Honorary Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Matano signed the instrument of ratification for the CTBT on January 24, and the accomplishment was officially marked in a ceremony on March 31 at the United Nations in New York City. Tuvalu signed the CTBT in September 2018.
“Our Pacific region has suffered from the effects of decades of nuclear testing,” said Tuvaluan Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Kofe By ratifying the treaty, “Tuvalu is reiterating its commitment to the elimination of all nuclear tests, everywhere.”
Meanwhile, the Gambia also ratified the treaty and formally marked the move in a March 24 ceremony at the United Nations in New York City. Gambia signed the CTBT in 2003.
Lang Yabou, permanent representative of the Gambia to the United Nations, stated that with its ratification of the treaty, “he Gambia is bringing the promise of a world free of nuclear weapons tests one step closer to fulfillment, while playing a central role in ensuring long-lasting peace and security in Africa and the rest of the world.” Gambia is one of the total 48 African states that have ratified the CTBT.
Robert Floyd, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), lauded both ratifications.
Tuvalu’s ratification “is particularly significant in a region that has suffered from the serious impacts of nuclear testing on human health and the environment,” Floyd commented. As for the Gambia’s ratification, the CTBTO leader noted that “this is a significant achievement for the African region and the world as we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary year of the treaty.”
Izumi Nakamitsu, UN under-secretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs, also celebrated the two newest CTBT ratifications.
"The CTBT is one of the most widely supported treaties, not just in the disarmament and arms control field but in multilateral diplomacy and is recognized as an essential element of nuclear disarmament and a building block for a world free of nuclear weapons – the United Nations’ highest disarmament priority,” she stated.
The CTBT prohibits all nuclear test explosions of any yield anywhere in the world. The treaty will come into effect when the 44 states listed in Annex 2 ratify the treaty. Of those 44 states, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United States have yet to do so.