Norway chairs meeting on verification of nuclear disarmament

Foreign Minister Børge Brende opened the second plenary meeting of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) in Oslo today. The partnership, which was established earlier this year, plays a key role in international disarmament efforts.

‘We need measures that can bring about real, genuine disarmament. Being able to verify that disarmament is actually taking place is crucial for ensuring confidence in international disarmament agreements. There is still a need to develop new technologies and methods for disarmament verification,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. ‘Nuclear disarmament requires the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.’

Utenriksminister Børge Brende åpner det andre plenumsmøtet i Internasjonalt partnerskap for kontroll av kjernefysisk nedrustning. Foto: Rune Bjåstad, UD
Foreign Minister Børge Brende opened the second plenary meeting of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) in Oslo Credit: Rune Bjåstad, MFA, Oslo

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. The principal aim of the IPNDV is to find solutions that enhance the capacity of nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear-weapons states alike to monitor the destruction of nuclear warheads. Since 2007, Norway and the UK have worked together to develop groundbreaking verification systems and methods. This collaboration between two IPNDV countries shows that cooperation between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear-weapons states is both possible and necessary.

The aim of the IPNDV meeting in Oslo is to ensure that progress is made in international verification work. The Norwegian-British initiative will be presented, as will various technologies and procedures that are used. IPNDV seeks to increase participants’ understanding of the technical challenges involved in verifying nuclear disarmament and to promote cooperation in solving these challenges. The solutions adopted have to take into account considerations of transparency and disclosure and at the same time the needs of nuclear powers not to disclose highly classified information.

‘Verification is an area in which we can make concrete progress for nuclear disarmament. This is a technically complex area that requires great expertise. Research and the development of new technologies and methods are essential if verification is to succeed. Norway has valuable experience in this area that we can share with others,’ Mr Brende said.  

The IPNDV is a partnership between 27 countries and the EU, and is supported by the think tank Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). All five nuclear weapon states that have joined the NPT are participating in today’s meeting. The US delegation is headed by Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose.