CTBTO Youth Group Conference Moscow

Moscow, 18-20 October 2017

Over one hundred students and CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) members joined Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, members of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM), and other VIPs for the Moscow CTBTO Youth Group Conference on 18-20 October. The event was co-hosted by the CTBTO and the National Nuclear Research University/Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute (MEPhi), and supported by the Russian Federation’s Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs.

CTBTO Youth Group Conference in Moscow, 18-20 October 2017

The youth are doing the impossible, and many think the CTBT is impossible, so this is why we need you.

The Conference brought together members of the CTBTO Youth Group, including nationals of seven of the eight remaining Annex 2 States, and Russian students, and offered an opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives on international security issues. Participants had the opportunity to discuss regional perspectives, learn more about CTBT verification technologies and exchange ideas with high level speakers on how to advance the entry into force of the CTBT. The conference benefited from the expertise of prominent arms control figures: Ambassador Grigory Berdennikov, Viktor Slipchenko, Konstantin Danilenko, Major General Kolesnikov, MEPhI Rector Mikhail Strikhanov, former IAEA Director General Hans Blix, Ambassador Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, Professor Ramamurti Rajaraman, and Peter Rickwood (Atomic Reporters). HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan also addressed the participants through video message.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo giving his opening remarks at the beginning of the ceremony. During his speech, he highlighted the power of youth in making the impossible possible.

12th directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Major-General Igor Kolesnikov addressing the audience.

The Conference featured several members of the CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) (From left to right) Prof. Ramamurti Rajaraman, Hans Blix, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque and Sha Zukang.

To interact with the academic community, diplomats, scholars and students at MEPhI provided me with the chance to understand perspectives in a way that I had never done before.

CTBTO Youth Group members moderated panels, presented research papers and provided “citizen journalism” coverage of the Conference through the CYG Newsroom project. On the Panel entitled “The CTBT Role in Enhancing Regional and International Security” former Foreign Minister of Sweden Hans Blix stated that "Global warming is a slow suicide; the nuclear weapons are quick suicide”.  Ambassador Susan Le Jeune noted that she was the only woman on the panel and called upon the audience to increase engagement of women in this field.

The panel on “The Russian Federation and the CTBT “ provided an in-depth overview of Russia’s position prior to and during the CTBT negotiations, Russia’s current work in support of the CTBT within the political and scientific domains as well as Russia’s vision of the future role of the Treaty and the CTBTO.

CTBTO Youth Group members during the Moscow Youth Group Conference debating on Article XIV, highlighting the urgent need to move towards the entry into force of the CTBT.

The Russian Federation is proud of its participation in the CTBT and of its IMS segment: the second largest in the world. The CTBT benefits all of humanity.

For the session “Achieving CTBT entry into force: regional perspectives” CYG members were divided into regional teams to discuss obstacles to entry into force and different regional approaches and opportunities to breaking the deadlock.
Apart from raising the topic of political issues and providing us with an in-depth analysis of the technological side of the CTBTO, the Conference itself undoubtedly expanded our outlooks and broadened our minds in terms of the interaction with youth group members.

In addition to the panel discussions, workshops and an opportunity to interact more informally, participants visited the Russian Federation national data centre at Dubna, north of Moscow. This was the first time foreign students have visited the centre. Read the full report here .