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International Treaties and Agreements

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) is a treaty to limit the spread (proliferation) of nuclear weapons.

The treaty came into force on 5 March 1970, and currently there are 189 states party to the treaty, five of which are recognized as nuclear weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council).

Four non-parties to the treaty are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its own nuclear weapons program.

North Korea acceded to the treaty, violated it, and in 2003 withdrew from it.

The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although the concept of "pillars" is not expressed anywhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as a three-pillar system, with an implicit balance among them:
  • 1. non-proliferation,
  • 2. disarmament, and
  • 3. the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
    Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

    The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.

    It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but it has not entered into force.

    It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states.

    As of September 2011, 155 states have ratified the CTBT and another 27 states have signed but not ratified it. The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it.

    These "Annex 2 states" are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time.

    As of April 2009, nine Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it. On 3 May 2010, Indonesia stated it had initiated the CTBT ratification process.

    Biological Weapons Convention

    The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BWC, or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BTWC) was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. It was the result of prolonged efforts by the international community to establish a new instrument that would supplement the 1925 Geneva Protocol.

    The BWC was opened for signature on April 10, 1972 and entered into force March 26, 1975 when twenty-two governments had deposited their instruments of ratification.

    It currently commits the 163 states that are party to it to prohibit the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.

    Outer Space Treaty

    The Outer Space Treaty, formally known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. 

    The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967, and entered into force on October 10, 1967. 

    As of 1 January 2008, 98 countries are states-parties to the treaty, while another 27 have signed the treaty but have not yet completed ratification.

    Antarctic Treaty System

    The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population.

    The main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961. The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58. 

    The 12 countries had significant interests in Antarctica at the time: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries had established over 50 Antarctic stations for the IGY. The treaty was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific cooperation that had been achieved "on the ice".

    The treaty, entering into force in 1961 and currently has 48 signatory nations, sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation and bans military activity on that continent. 

    The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters have been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since September 2004.

    Seabed Arms Control Treaty

    The Seabed Arms Control Treaty (or Seabed Treaty) is a multilateral agreement between the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and 84 other countries banning the emplacement of nuclear weapons or "weapons of mass destruction" on the ocean floor beyond a 12-mile (22.2 km) coastal zone. 

    It allows signatories to observe all seabed "activities" of any other signatory beyond the 12-mile zone in order to ensure compliance.

    The full name of the treaty is the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof.

    Maastricht Treaty

    The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty on European Union, (TEU)) was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty.

    Upon its entry into force on 1 November 1993 during the Delors Commission, it created the European Union and led to the creation of the single European currency, the euro. The Maastricht Treaty has been amended to a degree by later treaties.

    The treaty led to the creation of the euro, and created what was commonly referred to as the pillar structure of the European Union. This conception of the Union divided it into the European Community (EC) pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) pillar, and the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar.

    The first pillar was where the EU's supra-national institutions — the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice — had the most power and influence. The other two pillars were essentially more intergovernmental in nature with decisions being made by committees composed of national politicians and officials.

    Simla Agreement

    The Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan at 12:40am on July 2, 1972. It followed from the war between the two nations in the previous year that had led to the independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh.

    The agreement laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. It also conceived steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations. Most importantly, it bound the two countries "to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations". 

    The Kashmir dispute again came to the core-issue when India and Pakistan signed the controversial Shimla Accord in July 1972 in the wake of the Indo-Pak war on 1971. The accord converted the 1949 UN "Cease-fire Line" into the Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India which however did not affect the status of the disputed territory:

    "In Jammu and Kashmir, the line of control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations."

    The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in India as the Panchsheel, are a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between by China and India in 1954. They were enunciated in the preamble to the "Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India", which was signed at Peking on 29 April 1954.

    This agreement stated the five principles as:
    • 1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
    • 2. Mutual non-aggression,
    • 3. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
    • 4. Equality and mutual benefit, and
    • 5. Peaceful co-existence.

      Indo-Soviet Treaty

      The Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation was a treaty signed between India and the Soviet Union in August 1971 that specified mutual strategic cooperation.

      The treaty was a significant deviation from India's previous position of Non-alignment in the Cold War and in the prelude to the Bangladesh war, it was a key development in a situation of increasing Sino-American ties and American pressure. The treaty was later adopted to the Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship and cooperation in 1972

      India's relation to the Soviet Union initially after the former's independence was ambivalent, guided by Nehru's decision to remain non-aligned, and his government's active part in the Commonwealth of Nations. However, in February 1954, the U.S. administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the decision to provide arms to Pakistan, followed a month later by Pakistan joining the SEATO and subsequently the CENTO. These agreements assured Pakistan the supply of sophisticated military hardware and economic aid.

      Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation

      The Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation was a treaty signed between India and the Soviet Union in August 1971 that specified mutual strategic cooperation.

      The treaty was a significant deviation from India's previous position of Non-alignment in the Cold War and in the prelude to the Bangladesh war, it was a key development in a situation of increasing Sino-American ties and American pressure.

      The treaty was later adopted to the Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship and cooperation in 1972.

      Montreal Protocol

      The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion.

      The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).

      It is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050. Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation, with Kofi Annan quoted as saying that "perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol". It has been ratified by 196 states

      Law of the Sea treaty

      The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982.

      The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

      The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th state to sign the treaty.

      To date, 161 countries and the European Community have joined in the Convention. However, it is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.

      START - I  Treaty

      START (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

      The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994. The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers.

      START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence.

      Proposed by United States President Ronald Reagan, it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty.

      The START I treaty expired 5 December 2009. On 8 April 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev. Following ratification by the U.S. Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011.

      START II Treaty

      START II (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and Russia on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. 

      It was signed by United States President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 3 January 1993, banning the use of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

      Hence, it is often cited as the De-MIRV-ing Agreement. It is not currently in effect. On 14 June 2002, Russia withdrew from the treaty in response to U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

      START III Treaty

      START III (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a proposed bi-lateral nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and Russia.

      It meant to drastically reduce the deployed nuclear weapons arsenals of both countries and to continue the weapons reduction efforts that had taken place in the START I and START II negotiations.

      The framework for negotiations of the treaty began with talks in Helsinki between President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin in 1997. However, negotiations broke down and the treaty was never signed.

      New START

      New START (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) (Russian: СНВ-III, SNV-III) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms

      It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification, entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021.

      New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. In terms of name, it is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

      Chemical Weapons Convention

      The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. 

      Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

      The agreement is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is an independent organization based in The Hague, Netherlands.

      Kyoto Protocol

      The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), aimed at fighting global warming. 

      The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

      The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of August 2011, 191 states have signed and ratified the protocol. The only remaining signatory not to have ratified the protocol is the United States. Other states yet to ratify Kyoto include Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan, after Somalia ratified the protocol on 26 July 2010.

      Under the Protocol, 37 countries  commit themselves to a reduction of four greenhouse gases (GHG) (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) produced by them, and all member countries give general commitments. Annex I countries agreed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% from the 1990 level.

      Emission limits do not include emissions by international aviation and shipping, but are in addition to the industrial gases, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which are dealt with under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.


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