CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo opens EU Non-Proliferation Conference

The European Union (EU) Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2013 brought together over 300 experts from around the world to discuss a range of issues related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.  The conference took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 30 September to 1 October, and was convened by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium.
CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo opened the conference with a keynote speech on his optimism about the prospects of the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and advances in the Treaty’s verification regime. He also informed participants about the newly created Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) comprising high-level dignitaries and internationally recognized experts, which will help promote the CTBT’s entry into force. The CTBTO head underlined the importance of the role the EU has played in building up the International Monitoring System (IMS) in Africa, the Pacific, and Latin America. “Europe is 100% behind this Treaty. Europe is a driving force of this Treaty. Your support will help the wealth of expertise that we have at the CTBTO,’’ emphasised Zerbo.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (right) and Mark Fitzpatrick, IISS Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme Director

The Treaty and its unprecedented global verification regime demonstrate that the multilaterally verifiable arms control is possible, effective, and necessary for advancing international peace and security.

Within the European Union the Treaty has essentially reached universal application; all EU member states have signed and ratified the CTBT. Moreover, EU member states host various IMS stations which help monitor the globe for nuclear explosions. Nearly all of these stations are operational, providing the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna with data. Further, the European Union is one of the major supporters of the CTBTO; it has made several voluntary contributions totalling over € 15.5 million. This support has enabled the CTBTO to further enhance its verification regime and, in particular, to assist developing countries to participate actively in this multilateral verification effort.
Zerbo addressed the delegates saying that "the civil and scientific uses of our technology have been key in getting the developing world to buy-in to the Treaty." Further, he stated that the Treaty and its global verification regime show that "multilaterally verifiable arms control is possible, effective, and necessary for advancing international peace and security."
The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium is managed jointly by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and four institutes: the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique in Paris, the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt (HSFK/PRIF), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).