CTBTO National Data Centre Workshop in Algiers
Representatives from CTBT National Data Centres (NDCs) from across Africa and around the globe gathered in Algiers, Algeria from 6 to 10 May 2018 for a workshop. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo inaugurated the event together with high ranking officials of the host government, including Mustapha Guitouni, Minister of Energy of Algeria, Nasserddine Djeghri, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission/ the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (COMENA), and Merzak Remki, Director of Cooperation, COMENA.
As a country that has suffered from nuclear testing and is viscerally attached to international peace and security, Algeria is and will always remain a strong advocate for the CTBT – at all levels.
National Data Centres facilitate the interaction between Member States and the CTBTO, especially on a technical and scientific level and most Member States have established NDCs. They are usually institutions specializing in verification technologies, such as a national earthquake institution or a nuclear radiation monitoring agency. These Centres aid Member States in assuming their role under the CTBT and help to obtain, examine and analyse all necessary information, i.e. monitoring data and analysis reports provided by the International Data Centre (IDC) of the CTBTO.
The 2018 NDC Workshop included around 46 participants from different Member States representing all geographical regions. This included participants from: Austria, Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Finland, France, Ghana, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In his welcoming remarks, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo noted that “this is a very good indication that most of the NDCs that have received assistance within the framework of the programme, have developed capacities that enable them to fully play their role as vital decision-support tools for the political spheres”.
You may be particularly eager to start passionate discussions about the science behind the CTBT, your experiences as NDC managers and/or staff, achievements and challenges. But, I believe that all your work would be incomplete if you do not fully grasp the power in your hands, the power that resides in the analysis and interpretation that you will make of the CTBT data.
The workshop focused on the ability of NDCs to carry out various verification activities, including their approaches to access International Monitoring System (IMS) data and International Data Centre (IDC) products; and seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound (SHI) and radionuclide (RN) data sharing among NDCs. The objectives of the workshop were to provide a forum for NDC experts to share experience in fulfilling their verification responsibilities and to provide feedback from NDCs to the CTBTO on all aspects of their work.The NDC Preparedness Exercise (NPE17) was a key topic for discussion, which included a presentation of progress results and drafting the scenario of the next NPE.The workshop also provided an opportunity for NDCs to share best practices and further develop and enhance their cooperation among each other. Whilst in Algiers, Executive Secretary Zerbo held bilateral meetings with the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, and Mustapha Guitouni, Minister of Energy. During the meetings, they explored, among other issues how to further strengthen the cooperation between the CTBTO and Algeria, Algeria’s possible role in promoting the CTBT in Africa and worldwide, CTBTO’s cooperation with regional entities such as the African Union (AU) and the African Commission for Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), as well as the current challenges of the global peace and security context and how to address them.