H. E. Ambassador Raymond O. Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties
to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Main Committee III
13 May, 2010
As it’s the first time I take the floor in this Committee, please accept our congratulations on your assumption of the Chairmanship of main Committee III, as well as best wishes for the successful conclusion of your task. I take the floor on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We assure you of our full support as you guide our deliberations.
The matter of nuclear safety is of vital importance to the Caribbean. At the very core of nuclear safety for us, while not negating its other aspects, is the transboundary movement of radioactive materials.
The transhipment of nuclear waste through the Caribbean Sea poses an existential threat to the environmental and economic sustainability of the territories throughout our area, but even more so, to the small island developing states of the region.
The cessation of transport of radioactive materials through the Caribbean region is and remains the ultimate desired goal of CARICOM. We remain greatly encouraged by the endorsement given by the 2000 Review Conference, to the IAEA regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials and its definitive recognition of the concerns of small island developing states and other coastal States, pertaining to the transportation of radioactive materials by sea and view this as an acknowledgement by the international community of the overriding responsibility to protect the marine environmental space navigated en route, including coastal states, from the inherent risks in the transport of these materials.
CARICOM remains confident that these responsibilities and obligations will be strictly adhered to, despite the efforts of a few to disregard our concerns. We are indeed encouraged by on-going efforts of the IAEA in seeking to ensure high standards of safety. These efforts include the adoption of the Code of Practice on the International Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Waste and the annual resolution adopted by the IAEA General Conference on “Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety”.
We also use this opportunity to call on all States to fully implement the provisions of these instruments. Moreover, States engaged in the transportation of these hazardous materials should enact the necessary domestic legislation to give effect to the provisions of the IAEA Transport Regulations. CARICOM therefore reiterate previous calls for on-going dialogue between shipping States and Member States of our region prior to the transshipment of radioactive materials. Such dialogue would undoubtedly assist in providing certain assurances to those States likely to be most affected by any accident due to the shipment of these materials.
CARICOM is aware and appreciate the steps undertaken by States to mitigate the likelihood of accidents. At the same time, the implications surrounding the colossal damage that would be done to the fragile ecosystems of the region and the calamitous impact on our small and vulnerable economies should an accident occur, cannot be overstated. We therefore reiterate our call for a comprehensive regulatory framework to promote State responsibility with respect to disclosure, prior informed consent, liability and compensation in the event of an accident.
At the same time Mr. Chairman, CARICOM also remains cognizant of the right of States under Article IV of the NPT to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Whilst recognizing the right of “innocent passage,” as enshrined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, we advocate that these rights must be balanced with the need to protect and preserve the marine environment.
Finally Mr. Chairman, we believe it important to make mention of The Second Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia which was held on April 30 here in New York. We urge this Review Conference to take careful note of the outcome document of that Conference which includes information on the transport of nuclear and other hazardous materials. CARICOM expects that language to this effect will be reflected in the final document of this 2010 NPT Review Conference.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.