Establishment, purpose and activities

Establishment, purpose and activities

THE CTBTO AT A GLANCE

Executive Secretary: Lassina Zerbo (Burkina Faso)
Chairperson: HE Toshiro Ozawa (Japan)
Chairperson on Administration: HE Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez (Sri Lanka)
Chairperson on Verification: Hein Haak (The Netherlands)
Chairperson, Advisory Group: Sir Michael Weston (United Kingdom)
Staff: Some 260 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 70 State Signatories
2014 Budget: US$130.721.700
Treaty State Signatories: 183


Curriculum Vitae of CTBTO's Executive Secretary
Lassina Zerbo

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) was set up in 1996 with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. It is an interim organization tasked with building up the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in preparation for the Treaty's entry into force as well as promoting the Treaty's universality.

The Commission consists of two main organs: a plenary body composed of all States Signatories (also known as the Preparatory Commission), which is assisted by three groups:  a working group on administrative and financial issues, another on verification-related issues, and an advisory group.

The other main body is the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) which assists the plenary body in carrying out its activities. The PTS has three technical divisions: the International Monitoring System Division, the International Data Centre Division and the On-Site Inspection Division. These are supported by a Legal and External Relations Division and a Division of Administration. The CTBTO is financed mainly through assessed contributions by Member States.

Apart from building up the verification regime, the PTS assists Member States in special outreach activities such as Article XIV Conferences or Ministerial Meetings to promote the entry into force of the CTBT. It also conducts a number of workshops to promote the Treaty or to strengthen the verification regime.

Organizational Structure of the PTS

Establishment

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization was established on 19 November 1996 by a Resolution adopted by the Meeting of States Signatories at the United Nations in New York.

Article II of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) provides for the establishment of a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization to achieve the aims of the Treaty, ensure its implementation and to serve as a forum for its members. Since the activities will be very extensive and must be fully operational when the Treaty enters into force, the States signing the Treaty decided that it was necessary to establish an interim organisation - a Preparatory Commission. This Commission would lay the groundwork required and build up the global verification regime to monitor compliance with the Treaty.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization was established
on 19 November 1996 with its seat in Vienna.
Its main purpose is to make the necessary preparations
for the effective implementation of the CTBT.

The first meeting of the Commission was convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 20 November 1996; that is, within 60 days after the Treaty had been signed by 50 States as stipulated by the Annex to the Resolution which establishes the Commission.

The seat of the Preparatory Commission is Vienna, Austria. This is in accordance with paragraph 3 of the Annex which establishes the Commission and states that the location of the Commission will be the same as that of the future CTBTO.

Accordingly, on 18 March 1997 a host country agreement was entered into with the Republic of Austria, which came into force on 1 November 1997. The purpose of the agreement was to recognize the right of the Commission to establish its seat in Vienna and to carry out its activities. To this end the PTS was established on 17 March 1997 and opened its doors for business on the same day.

It is interesting to note that, even though the Treaty negotiations themselves were long, complex and hard fought, the period between the Treaty’s opening for signature, the establishment of the Commission, and the commencement of PTS operations comprised a bare six months. This swift pace showed the urgency with which States Signatories were getting on with the establishment of an efficient and effective CTBTO.

In March 2006 the Preparatory Commission commemorated the ten year anniversary of the Treaty and the Commission.

Purpose and activities

According to the Annex establishing the Commission, its main purpose is to carry out the necessary preparations for the effective implementation of the CTBT and to prepare for the first session of the Conference of States Parties to the Treaty which will take place when the Treaty has entered into force. 

The Commission’s duties focus on the promotion of the signing and ratification of the Treaty so that it can enter into force as soon as possible. Entry into force takes place 180 days (i.e. six months) after the Treaty has been ratified by the 44 States listed in its Annex 2. 

The Commission’s duties focus on the Treaty's entry
into force, which will take place after it has been ratified
by the 44 States listed in its Annex 2.

Another duty of the Commission is to establish a global verification regime to monitor compliance with the comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, which must be operational when the Treaty enters into force. This prodigious task involves the build up of 321 monitoring stations and 16 radionuclide laboratories throughout the world. It also includes the provisional operation of an International Data Centre (IDC) and the preparation of on-site inspections in case of a suspected nuclear test.

Next chapter:
Standing as an international organization