NPT Preparatory Committee, Improving the effectiveness of the strengthened review process, U.S. Statement by M. Scott Davis

U.S. Statement by M. Scott Davis
Acting Director Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs
Department of State
United States of America

Improving the effectiveness of the strengthened review process
First Session of the Preparatory Committee
2015 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
May 10, 2012 

Strengthening the Effectiveness of the Review Process

Mr. Chairman, the United States welcomes this discussion of procedural reform.  In the run-up to the 2010 Review Conference, the United States was admittedly lukewarm on the issue of procedural reform.  Our primary aim during the 2010 review process –  as it will be during this review process –  was to insure that the RevCon reaffirmed the centrality of the Treaty to international peace and security and reached consensus on ways to advance together each of the Treaty’s three pillars.

While we appreciated then, as now, that procedure can impact substance, we were concerned in the run-up to 2010 that procedural reform could distract and detract from the fundamental substantive challenges to the Treaty.  We argued that a successful RevCon required a bolstering of political will, rather than procedural reform.  We also noted that, if the 2010 RevCon succeeded in reaching consensus on matters of substance, the United States would believe that Parties were in a better position to focus on procedural reform.  The 2010 RevCon did succeed, and I would therefore like to indicate that my Delegation is prepared to engage on this topic.

The 2010 RevCon made clear that Parties can act together to support and advance this Treaty, and we believe that the responsible reform of procedure can assist Parties in that task.  We welcome dialogue with other Parties on ways to make the process more efficient and effective, with a view to arriving at consensus recommendations at the third PrepCom and a consensus decision at the 2015 RevCon.  The principal constraint that we attach to this prospect is that any procedural reform be cost neutral.  I expect that NPT Parties can agree that our budgets can ill-afford increases in the cost of the NPT review process.

With that in mind, Mr. Chairman, I would like to note that the United States welcomes the paper authored by the PrepCom Secretary General, Thomas Markram, which provides a summary of recent reform proposals and his perspective on possible proposals that might gain support during this review process.  The paper is well-researched and well-considered.  While we await specific proposals from this paper, we can note firm U.S. support for dispensing with summary records in favor of the use of digital audio recordings.  Such a solution would save Parties an expense that approaches one million U.S. dollars over the full review cycle and allow us to benefit from modern technological efficiency.  My Delegation is also particularly interested in ideas that would allow the more effective use of meeting time during the review process.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.