Anti-personnel landmines cause between 15,000 and 20,000 victims globally each year. PHOTO EFE
Spanish Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Policy
Spain is a country that is committed to the multi-lateral system of non-proliferation and disarmament, which make up the central elements of our foreign policy. Spain cannot remain removed from security and stability threats. That is why the fight against proliferation is so present, both in the multi-lateral framework of our foreign policy and in our bilateral relations

Our aim, just as stated in the National Security Strategy, is to "prevent proliferation, to prevent terrorists and criminals from accessing dangerous substances and to protect the population" through strategic lines of action that correspond to the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

In the area of disarmament, the aim is to maintain a balance between the military capacities that are necessary for national security, based on the principle of legitimate defence and the creation of a framework of peace and stability in which mutual trust prevails.

The principles that inspire Spanish policy with regard to non-proliferation and disarmament are the following: protecting peace and stability, promoting human rights and creating the security conditions necessary for people, institutions and States to develop.

Spain has subscribed to and ratified the main non-proliferation and disarmament treaties and conventions and actively and constructively participates in the relevant organisations and forums. Specifically, Spain is a State Party of the fundamental treaties in this field, and it participates in all the regimes and initiatives stated below.

 

a) Treaties

 

The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, known as the Geneva Protocol, prohibits the use of chemical and toxic weapons. It was signed in Geneva in 1925, after the events of World War One, and it came into force in 1928.

 

The Non-Proliferation Treaty. Signed in 1968, it came into effect in 1970 and was renewed indefinitely in 1995. The NPT is the central element of the non-proliferation regime, as it was created in order to prevent new States from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons, promoting cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and working towards nuclear disarmament.

The Treaty acknowledges the countries that had carried out a nuclear test before 1967 as "Nuclear Weapon States" (USA, Russia, France, UK and China). The verification of the NPT is delegated to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which subscribes to the States Parties' Global Safeguard Agreements (different information and inspection activities that this Body carries out in the member States).

Spain is also Party to an Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement, which reinforces the verification system. The Additional Protocol model was approved in 1997 and aims to guarantee, not just of the lack of deviation from the nuclear material declared, but also of the non-existence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The Spanish government signed the Additional Protocol on 22 September 1998, and it came into force on 30 April 2004. Nuclear activity in Spain is entirely subject to international verification by EURATOM, where the IAEA "delegates" the task within the European Union. International Atomic Energy Agency

EURATOM

 

The Biological Weapons Convention (BTWC). This was signed in 1972 and came into force three years later. The Convention, which was ratified by Spain on 1 June 1979, prohibits the complete category of biological weapons. The scope of the Convention is defined in its first article, where every State Party commits to not develop, produce, store or acquire by other means and to never retain, under any circumstances, all the microbial agents and other biological or toxic agents, as well as their means of delivery, that are not justified for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes. 


The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into force in the year 1997. Spain was the first EU country to sign it, ratifying it on 3 August 1994. Pursuant to its first article, each State Party undertakes never, under any circumstances, to: develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone; never to use chemical weapons; to engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons; to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited for a State Party under this Convention.

The verification of the CWC is entrusted to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), with headquarters in The Hague. Pursuant to the Convention, regular inspections are undertaken in the States Parties in order to verify their adherence. On 13 May 1997, Spain established the National Authority for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (ANPAQ)   which is responsible for the management of this Treaty (Royal Decree 663/1997).

 

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
prohibits any type of nuclear explosion test (including underground explosions). The CTBT is not in force yet, because for this it needs to be ratified by all 44 States listed in its Annex 2 of the Treaty. Spain signed the treaty on 24 September 1996 and ratified it on 31 July 1998.

The verification of the CTBT is the responsibility of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). By virtue of the mandate of the General Assembly of United Nations, and of certain provisions in the Treaty, the CTBTO exists provisionally in the form of the Preparatory Commission, based in Vienna, which is responsible for setting up a network of 321 monitoring stations able to detect nuclear explosions by means of seismological techniques, infrasounds and radionuclides. The Spanish National Geographic Institute's Sonseca (Toledo) seismological station of is included in this network.

 

b) Export control regimes

 

There are guidelines for the granting of licenses for the exporting of sensitive and dual-use technology, as well as related material (nuclear, chemical, biological or of launch vectors). Furthermore, they allow for information to be exchanged regarding the proliferation and denial of dual-use goods, equipment and technology export licences that are included on lists that are periodically updated. They also allow for policies to be made in this scope between relevant countries. There are informal groups that work by means of consensus, created by political agreements. Spain participates in all of these groups.

 

Zangger Committee: has the aim of avoiding nuclear proliferation by means of establishing national controls on the exporting of certain sensitive products in the nuclear realm. Zangger Committee

 

Nuclear Suppliers Group: This is a group of States that has the aim of contributing to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons by means of applying Guidelines to the export of nuclear and related products, without impeding international trade and cooperation in the nuclear sphere. The first group of Guidelines is applied to an initial list referred to as the "Trigger List" which includes nuclear material and equipment for nuclear use, as well as related technology. The second group of guidelines is applied to a list of dual-use equipment, material and technology that could also be used in nuclear activities or in the nuclear fuel cycle in a facility that does not adhere to the IAEA safeguards. Nuclear Suppliers Group

 

Australia Group: The work of this group is permanently presided over by Australia and is based around controlling the exportation of chemical substances, biological agents and related equipment that could act as precursors to weapons. It has various lists of products upon which it enforces this control (chemical precursors, dual-use chemical equipment, pathogenic agents for plants and animals and dual-use biological equipment).  Australia Group

 

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR): This is a forum aimed at the control of the exportation of technology associated with the manufacturing of missiles. The aim of the MTCR is to prevent the proliferation of long range and heavy loaded missiles that act as weapons of mass destruction vectors. In addition to the missiles, associated technology and subsystems are also controlled. 34 countries participate in this forum. The point of contact is Paris. MTCR

 

Wassenaar Arrangement: This seeks to establish controls on the export of conventional weapons, as well as military and relevant dual-use products and technology. The 42 participating countries adhere to two control lists: the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and the Munitions List. The Wassenaar Arrangement Secretariat is located in Vienna. Wassenaar Arrangement

 

The Spanish control system of exports with regard to defence and dual use goods is structured around the Interministerial Regulatory Board on Foreign Trade of Defence Materials and Dual Use Goods. Over time it has been acknowledged internationally as an efficient system, in which the partners of other international export control regimes of which Spain is a part of can trust. Foreign Trade

 

c) Initiatives of an Operational Nature in which Spain Participates

 

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).  This is a global effort to prevent the illegal trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their launch vectors and related material to and from States and non-State actors, placing emphasis on the interception of illegal traffic as a mechanism against proliferation. The PSI was launched in 2003 on the foundations of eleven interception principles. When a country adheres to these principles, it undertakes to coordinate and exchange information with other partners and to develop legal mechanisms on a national level. Some twenty countries make up the central nucleus that founded the PSI, including Spain. Since then, the principles have been taken on by other countries, making a total of 90 countries. PSI

 

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). This is an initiative that was launched jointly in 2006 by the presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation. It aims to develop international cooperation in the framework of preventing nuclear terrorism. From 2010 until 2013, Spain held the role of technical coordinator for the Implementation and Assessment Group. GICNT

 

Disarmament, Arms Control and Trust Measures

 

Spain also participates in all international efforts regarding conventional disarmament, and is a State Party to the fundamental treaties. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects was amended on 21 December 2001 and is generally known as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCCW). This Convention, and its annexed protocols, aims to protect the civil population and its combatants, for humanitarian principles, against the particularly harmful effects of certain weapons. Just as the name of the convention highlights, to reach this humanitarian aim, specific bans or restrictions are imposed on the use of certain conventional weapons. The Convention, along with Protocols I, II and III came into force on 2 December 1983. The amended Protocol II came into force on 3 December 1998. Protocol IV came into force on 30 July 1998, and Protocol V on 12 November 2006. More information


The Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Treaty) (1997) came into force on 1 March 1999. Each State Party undertakes to never, and under no circumstances, directly or indirectly employ, develop, produce, acquire by one way or another, store, conserve or transfer anti-personnel mines. Furthermore, Spain has been undertaking a committed role with international and regional initiatives with regards the clearance of the remnants of war, demining and attending to victims. In recent years its contribution to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action, the Organization of American States Voluntary Fund and the Fund for Action against Mines in the Balkans is particularly noteworthy. The International Demining Centre (IDC) has been giving demining courses on a yearly basis More information

 

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008) completely bans the manufacturing, transferring, use and storage of cluster munition. It entered into force on 1 August 2010. Spain ratified the Convention in 2009, and it was the first country to complete the destruction of its military arsenals of cluster bombs.

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed in Paris in by the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. It entered into force on 9 November 1992. This treaty was the legal framework for the progressive reduction of the levels of conventional weaponry in Europe. More than 60,000 units of conventional weaponry limited by said treaty were destroyed, and more than 4,000 land inspections have been carried out. The CFE established a system to control conventional weaponry in Europe based on numeric limitations, taking into account diverse geographic areas. This allowed for the consolidation of a balanced, stable situation thanks to a verification and information exchange system between the States Parties. OSCE

 

The Treaty on Open Skies makes up part of the Confidence and Security Building Measures agreed by the OSCE countries. It came into force in 2002, establishing a programme of aerial surveillance flights over its State Party. These are carried out by means of aircraft equipped with sensors, cameras, horizontal bar radars and infra-red cameras. OSCE

 

Vienna Document 2011 (VD11) Derived from VD90, V292, VD94 and VD99 as a supplement to and improvement of these. It constitutes the materialisation of the OSCE's negotiation efforts in the field of Confidence and Security Building Measures in Europe. It is politically binding. Its content includes measures regarding reducing risks through consultation and cooperation mechanisms by means of non-regular military activities, exchanging information and observational visits to military facilities and activities being undertaken. It establishes notification mechanisms for the military activities and manoeuvres of a certain entity; restrictions and notifications of annual calendars regarding activities; and compliance and verification mechanisms. In the Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting, there is a review of the degree of compliance of the States Parties, of which there are currently 53, including Spain. OSCE

 

European Union Strategies

Within the framework of the European Union, and thanks to the intense coordination work between the Member States in the field of non-proliferation and Disarmament, two strategies have been developed. The first of these is the EU's 2003 strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Strategy 1

The second is the EU's strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and ammunition, adopted by the European Council in 2005. Strategy 2

  

Summary
With the mechanisms created from the mid-20th century until now, the proliferation process has been able to be delayed. Spain, through active participation in different multi-lateral forums, has led the search for balanced formulas between security, trust and technical progress. Spanish foreign policy will remain in force against the new threats to international peace and security, and it will continue to demonstrate its full capacity to take on the responsibilities that fall upon Spain in the realm of non-proliferation and disarmament.   

 

More information

Spain's Statement at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

Minister's speech at the Conference on Disarmament. 28 February 2017.

Minister's speech at the Conference on Disarmament. 28 February 2018.

Spain's Statement at the 2018 NPT Review Conference.

 

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