CTBTO Preparatory Commission holds two-day scientific symposium

CTBTO Preparatory Commission
holds two-day scientific symposium

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) held its first scientific symposium from 31 August to 1 September 2006 in Vienna, Austria. The symposium under the title "CTBT: Synergies with Science, 1996-2006 and Beyond" attracted several hundred participants, among them scientists from internationally renown universities and scientific institutions, representatives of diplomatic missions and members of the press.

The two-day symposium marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on 10th September 1996 and its opening for signature two weeks later. It aimed at strengthening the relationship between the global scientific community and the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

Several key figures representing international efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament addressed the audience on the first day and stressed the role of the CTBT as an instrument of international security. Among them were Nobuaki Tanaka, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary Emeritus of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. Representatives of the host country Austria and the city of Vienna, Hans Winkler, State Secretary of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Rudi Schicker, Executive City Councilor for Urban Development, Traffic and Transport of the City of Vienna, as well as Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission made introductory remarks on the first day.

Pointing out that the symposium is meant to celebrate the achievements of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Mr. Tóth invited participants of the symposium to explore synergies with science that could be beneficial for CTBT-related verification work. Keynote speaker Mr. ElBaradei, in his address, called the CTBT a key to global security and stated that the Treaty showed the international community's commitment to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Stressing the importance of the nuclear test ban, Mr. Tanaka stated that one should derive great satisfaction from the fact that the CTBT has created an international norm against nuclear testing.

The second day of the symposium was dedicated to science and its potential contribution to the verification work of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. In three sessions, scientists discussed issues related to the themes "Imaging the Earth", "Imaging the Atmosphere" and "Data Mining". In summarizing presentations and debates, future effects of science and scientific developments on the work of the Commission's Provisional Technical Secretariat were discussed in the final session.