Zangger Committee and the NPT

At the first Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1975, a brief paragraph in the final document referenced the work of the Zangger Committee without naming it.

This paragraph stated:

"With regard to the implementation of article III, paragraph 2 of the Treaty, the Conference notes that a number of States suppliers of material or equipment have adopted certain minimum, standard requirements for IAEA safeguards in connection with their exports of certain such items to non-nuclear-weapon States not party to the Treaty (IAEA document INFCIRC/209/Rev.3). The Conference attaches particular importance to the condition established by those States, of an undertaking of non-diversion to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as included in the said requirements."

In 1980, the Review Conference produced no consensus final document. However, in 1985, the Final Document contained a short reference to the Committee's activities, again without naming it. This time the Conference in effect endorsed the main activity of the Zangger Committee by indicating that further improvement of the trigger list should take account of advances in technology.

In 1990, the Zangger Committee was mentioned by name and the conference provided a brief description of its aims and practices. While the Conference did not adopt a final document, Main Committee II agreed on language pertaining to a number of ideas and proposals concerning the implementation of the Treaty in the areas of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and safeguards. Main Committee II observed that Zangger Committee members had met regularly to coordinate the implementation of article III, paragraph 2, and had adopted nuclear supply requirements and a trigger list. It recommended that this list be reviewed periodically to take into account advances in technology and changes in procurement practices, a recommendation that the Zangger Committee has continued to pursue. Main Committee II also urged all States to adopt the Zangger Committee's requirements for any nuclear cooperation with a non-nuclear-weapon State not party to the Treaty.

At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, the work of the Zangger Committee was also referenced in Main Committee II and, more specifically, in the working group established by Main Committee II to consider export control issues. While the Conference did not adopt a final declaration similar to those of previous conferences, a consensus text on the Zangger Committee was attained. (The unofficial text emerging from this exercise was subsequently published in the IAEA document INFCIRC/482 for information purposes.) The working group noted that a number of States suppliers had formed an informal group known as the Zangger Committee and had adopted certain understandings. It invited States to consider applying these understandings and recommended that the list of items and the procedures for implementation be reviewed from time to time. The working group further noted that the application by all States of the understandings of the Zangger Committee would contribute to the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime. At the same time, it called for international consultations among all interested States.

The Conference approved, inter alia, decision 2, which contains a set of "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament", and decision 1, which provides the basis for the adopted "Strengthening of the Review Process for the Treaty" of the implementation of the Treaty.

Decision 2 contains several principles of particular relevance to the work of the Zangger Committee, in the fields of safeguards and export controls. In particular, principle 17 calls upon all States to promote transparency in nuclear-related export controls through cooperation and dialogue. Members of the Committee have worked to promote transparency through international seminars and other forms of dialogue.

At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, language on the Zangger Committee was negotiated in a working group on export controls, established by Main Committee II, as part of a wider package, which contained thoughts for the improvement of dialogue and cooperation, comprising also elements of coordination in the framework and with the participation of the IAEA. This reference to the Zangger Committee became linked to other issues not related to export controls. The Conference ended before agreement could be reached on these issues.