Reaching a world free of weapons of mass destruction is a key Norwegian objective. Much has been said about nuclear weapons during this session of the First Committee and what is needed in this regard. What we need in order to rid the world from the threat of other types of weapons of mass destruction is more straightforward. We simply need to ensure full universality and compliance to the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In addition, full compliance of Security Council Resolution 1540 is essential to attain our disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. Norway has allocated considerable funds for the promotion of this resolution and works closely with UNODA on its implementation.
The BTWC will next year complete another cycle of an inter-sessional program of work. Since the successful 2006 Review Conference, States Parties have explored in pragmatic ways how further to strengthen the BTWC.
Norway has been fully engaged in this process, and worked closely with Indonesia and the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) in implementing key area of the current inter-sessional program of work. Our focus has been biological safety and security and enhanced capacity in diseases surveillance.
We greatly appreciate this close partnership and the close cooperation with WHO and independent institutions like Det Norske Veritas (DNV).
The upcoming Review Conference is an opportunity to further strengthen the convention and Norway looks forward to work closely with the forthcoming president in order to secure a positive outcome of the review.
From a Norwegian perspective we would like to highlight some topics we think could be visited by next year’s Review Conference. These topics could be:
The possible strengthening of the interaction between State Parties and civil society
- The possible strengthening of the ISU
- The holding of Annual Meetings of State Parties with authority to make decisions
- Implementation of article X
- Continued efforts in biological safety and security
- A revision of the existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)
Norway has cooperated closely with Switzerland and Germany in cooperation with Geneva Forum by conducting a series of workshops on the promotion of Confidence Building Measures in 2009-2010.
This is motivated by our strong desire to have a discussion on a revision of the existing CBMs at the upcoming meeting of State Parties and next year’s Review Conference in order to increase the universality, transparency and functionality of the CBMs.
Ideally CBMs should become a legally binding obligation after the Review Conference in 2011. While this might be difficult to achieve, we should at least look seriously into steps on how to encourage all State Parties to provide an annual report, containing all relevant information in relation to compliance of the BWC. In this respect it is highly encouraging that a record number of States Parties submitted their CBMs this year.
The Chemical Weapons Convention has since its entry into force been shown that multilateralism can achieve important results. Norway welcomes the new Director General Ahmet Üzümcü and looks forward to work closely with him in further consolidating the CWC regime.
A pre-condition for the CWC to achieve its objectives is full implementation of all provisions of the Convention. Norway reiterates its call for completing the process of stockpile destruction within agreed time limits. Likewise, production facilities must be destroyed or converted according to the provisions of the Convention. While the prime responsibility for destruction lies with the possessor states themselves, non-possessors can also contribute towards this end. As a contribution to the G8 Global Partnership, Norway has been engaged in a destruction cooperation programme with the Russian Federation.
While moving forward to full elimination of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons, our attention should be directed towards the non-proliferation field. It is vital that all States Parties fully implement their non-proliferation obligations and report to the OPCW on all steps taken towards this end. It goes without saying that adequate national legislation and enforcement measures will greatly facilitate international cooperation in accordance to Article XI of the CWC. We recognise that developing countries might need assistance and Norway welcomes the OPCW program for Africa Norway is providing voluntary funding to this program.
Verification is one of the comparative advantages of the CWC. Yet, we must recognise that there is still room for improvements. All States Parties must submit complete and accurate declarations to the Technical Secretariat. Inspections should focus on other chemical production facilities which are of high relevance to the Convention. It is necessary to continue efforts to ensure that the mechanism of challenge inspections is fully operational and is ready to be used when needed.
Lastly, let me reiterate that the use of chemical agents not prohibited by the CWC must not undermine the norm set by the convention.
Norway has co-sponsored the resolution on the promotion of the Hague Code of Conduct. We urge all UN member states to adhere to HCOC and thus contribute to enhanced confidence and stability.
Norway agrees that an arms race in outer space must be avoided. We have supported resolutions in the UN General Assembly and supported work programmes in the Conference on Disarmament to start consultations on measures to prevent an arms race in outer space. In this respect we welcome the work carried out by the EU on a draft code of conduct for outer space activities.