Empowering diplomats, investing in the future

From 10 to 14 September 2012, 25 junior diplomats from the United Nations Programme of Fellowship on Disarmament participated in a seminar entitled Empowering Diplomats, Investing in the Future: the Role of CTBT in Disarmament and Security. The intensive week-long programme hosted by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) was a part of the Disarmament Fellows’ visit to the international organizations in Vienna. The seminar fell under the umbrella of the Capacity Development Initiative, which aims at educating and training the next generation of experts on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty that bans all nuclear explosions.
I learned a lot with the CTBTO, it was a very enriching experience that edified me and that will help me a lot in my work. I will most certainly make reference in the future to what I have learned here.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth welcomed the UN Disarmament Fellows and opened the seminar by highlighting the objectives of the organization’s training and educational activities and presented a multi-dimensional overview on CTBT-related issues. “The CTBT is not just a Treaty, but a sustained commitment to a world free from nuclear testing. This requires effort, education and capacity,” said Tóth.

Throughout the week, the Fellows participated in a series of lectures by CTBTO staff on the political, legal, technical aspects of the CTBT, including the history of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development, the Treaty's role in international peace and security, its entry into force and universalization. The CTBT’s verification system also played a prominent role. This unique multilateral system features a network of over 330 monitoring facilities spanning the globe, an International Data Centre (IDC) and an intrusive on-site inspections (OSI) regime.
The field trip to the OSI build-up site gave us an impression of the challenges people will face and how huge of a task it will be to have a successful inspection. Overall I take not only knowledge, but also a very vivid impression of the work CTBTO is doing.

One of the highlights of the seminar was the visit to an OSI base of operations at the Austrian army base in Bruckneudorf, some 40 kilometres south of Vienna, which was set up as a part of the preparations leading up to the next major OSI field exercise in 2014.
The simulation gave us a real picture of what will eventually take place. The margin of knowledge acquired increased from 1 to 100. I learned a lot here.

Participants were also given the opportunity to tour the IDC and the rooftop radionuclide station. The programme concluded with a full-day simulation of a session of the Executive Council – which will be the CTBTO’s executive body after entry into force - featuring a deliberation of an OSI request.