On behalf of the Jamaican delegation let me congratulate you on your election as Chair of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Jamaica is confident that under your able and expert guidance, the work of this important meeting will set the stage for a strengthened review process of the NPT in 2005.
Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary for Disarmament Affairs, and the staff of the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, are to be commended for their assistance in ensuring the successful functioning of this Preparatory Committee.
The delegation of Jamaica associates itself with the statement made earlier by the Permanent Representative of Indonesia, His Excellency Mr. Makmur Widodo, on behalf of the states members of the Non Aligned Movement.
This session of the Preparatory Committee is taking place at a critical juncture in the international disarmament agenda. In May 2000, we ended the Sixth Review Conference on a fairly optimistic note having managed to reach agreement on the Final Document emanating from that Conference. We are therefore disappointed that there has been limited, if any, progress on the 13 practical steps agreed to in that Final Document.
The close links between the threat of use of weapons of mass destruction and the need to universalize the commitments enshrined in international disarmament treaties have been underscored by the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Access by unscrupulous persons to nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction has to be juxtaposed against the reality that the world has not made any real progress towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. We share the concern expressed by Mr. Dhanapala in his opening address, that the world is moving much closer to the likelihood of the occurrence of a nuclear disaster.
Let me reiterate Jamaica's full support for the aims and objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in seeking to eliminate the spread and use of nuclear weapons. We are heartened by its almost complete universalisation.
In further support of the goal of nuclear disarmament, Jamaica was pleased to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in November 2001 and looks forward to the Treaty's entry into force. Jamaica is currently giving its active support to promoting the aims and objectives of the CTBT and its Preparatory Commission within the CARICOM area. Jamaica also supports the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in strengthening the global safety and verification regime.
As a State Party to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, Jamaica firmly supports the maintenance of the nuclear weapon free zone for the Latin American and Caribbean region. We also continue to follow with interest the initiative toward enhancement of a nuclear weapons free zone within the southern hemisphere through cooperation among the various regions covered by the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Raratonga, Pelindaba and Bangkok.
Among the positive outcomes of the 2000 Review Conference which Jamaica welcomed in particular, was the endorsement of the IAEA regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials. The fact that states were urged to maintain these standards, and that the particular concerns of small island developing states and other coastal states with regard to the transshipment of radioactive materials by sea were recognized, was, for us, important acknowledgement of the responsibility of the international community to protect the marine space of en route coastal states from the risks inherent in the transport of these materials.
Marine pollution and its transboundary implications can have disastrous effects on the fragile ecology of small island developing states such as Jamaica. This problem is exacerbated by the semi-enclosed nature of the Caribbean Sea within which we are located. Jamaica is extremely concerned with the environmental risks to which we are exposed by the maritime transport of nuclear waste and other radioactive material through Caribbean waters. We therefore reiterate the need for the strengthening of measures and international regulations to protect states from these risks. While we can appreciate the steps taken by states to prevent the likelihood of accidents, it can only be emphasised that if a disaster were to occur, the result would cause untold damage to our environment with consequent implications for our already fragile economies.
Jamaica therefore underscores the need for the international community to consider the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework that would promote state responsibility in areas dealing with disclosure, liability and compensation in case of accidents.
Jamaica also reaffirms the need for the states involved in the transshipment of hazardous waste to provide relevant information to affected states regarding the transshipment of such material. We recognize the need for safety and security relating to these shipments and the right of states under Article IV of the NPT to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We believe, however, that these considerations should not be inimical to the sustainable development of other states.
Jamaica welcomes the affirmation given by some states that all possible steps are being taken to provide the necessary information and assurances of safety to countries affected by the transshipment of radioactive and hazardous material. Jamaica urges all similarly concerned states to adopt this approach to the sharing of pertinent information. It is our view that in the context of the international security situation, this sharing of information will assist in the enhanced monitoring and surveillance of all activity within our areas.
In this context, Jamaica welcomes the convening in 2003 of the Second Review meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. It is our hope that this review meeting will address the wider issues related to the transport of nuclear materials and provide an impetus to the application of the existing international legal instruments which govern the transport of nuclear material by sea and by other means.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me assure you of the support and cooperation of the delegation of Jamaica during the work of this Preparatory Committee.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations
April 9, 2002