APLN Policy Brief 57
Effective verification will be absolutely essential to achieving nuclear disarmament. Developing effective verification may seem an impossible challenge, but there is substantial experience to build on, including IAEA safeguards and bilateral arms control processes. Examining the specific steps required to progress disarmament, we are not starting with a blank sheet, many verification missions are similar to those existing or under development today. International collaboration in developing new verification applications will contribute to the confidence and trust required to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The elimination of nuclear weapons is probably the single most important challenge facing the world today. Since the end of the Cold War political leaders and the public have lost sight of the dangers presented by nuclear weapons. The avoidance of nuclear war to date has been due in no small measure to good luck, but this cannot be expected to last indefinitely. As long as nuclear weapons exist there is the risk they will be used, if not intentionally then by mistake, miscalculation or rogue action. And while these weapons exist additional states are motivated to acquire them, increasing the risk they will be used.
About the Author
John Carlson AM is Counselor to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington, and Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute, Sydney. He was previously Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (1989–2010), Chairman of the IAEA’s Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation (2001–06), and founding Chair of the Asia–Pacific Safe-guards Network (2009–12).
Image: Joyce Lee/APLN.