On Africa Day, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo pays tribute to African commitment to nuclear disarmament

Celebrating the unity of the African community

Vienna, 25 May 2017

Africa Day on 17 May is an annual occasion to celebrate the creation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963. A special event organised by the Africa Group was held at the United Nations in Vienna and featured the display of national dresses, a range of national dishes and musical performances.

The Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo, a Burkina Faso national, addressed  the event and emphasized the important role Africa plays for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Their leadership in banning all nuclear testing serves as an example to the international community: Of Africa’s 54 States, 51 have signed the CTBT, and 45 have also ratified it by now. The continent is also the world’s most recent and largest nuclear-weapon-free zone. The Pelindaba treaty entered into force in 2009 and prohibits the testing, research, development, manufacturing, stockpiling, acquisition, possession, control and stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territories of its Member States.  Africa also plays a key role in the CTBT verification regime by hosting numerous monitoring facilities. Once complete, 38 monitoring facilities will be located in 24 African States.

“In many respects, Africa has been leading the charge against nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, making our work easier and more visible.”Lassina Zerbo
CTBTO Executive Secretary
CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
Visitors coming together and tasting a range of national dishes

The Executive Secretary therefore thanked the African countries for their unwavering commitment to the CTBT and their long standing support for the CTBTO. He valued their contribution to nuclear disarmament and stated that the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone constituted a building block for a safer and peaceful world. He expressed his wish to further strengthen this close and strong cooperation in the future.

The event generated much interest and attracted a great number of visitors. It served as an opportunity for all Africans and Friends of Africa to come together and celebrate the unity and solidarity of the African community.