Executive Secretary addresses Conference on Disarmament

Geneva, 27 February 2018

On 26 February, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo addressed the High-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Established in 1979, the 65-member body, the CD is the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community and also the forum where the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was negotiated in the 1990s. In his intervention, Zerbo stressed that trust and confidence are key elements necessary to achieve progress in the non-proliferation and disarmament regime, including a successful outcome at the 2020 NPT Review Conference. Zerbo emphasized that “we must take great care to preserve the integrity of the institutions and instruments we have and to build trust in them and around them.  This means maintain and securing the NPT and its entire chain of responsibilities – of which the CTBT entry into force is an integral part”.

Lassina Zerbo, Director of the International Data Centre. Click for CV.

To date, not only is the CTBT an effective measure of nuclear disarmament, the CTBT is the only effective measure currently within the international community’s reach. As I said before, a ‘low-hanging fruit.


Last week, on 16 February, the CD, adopted a decision to start substantive work. This decision—a compromise to start working with the establishment of four subsidiary bodies—is a significant step forward, following two decades of stalemate at the CD. In his intervention, Zerbo noted that this decision “would send a much needed positive signal to the world. It would demonstrate that countries, despite their differences, are willing to work together to solve the world’s most difficult problems.” Other prominent speakers that addressed the CD that day notably included: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak; and Sigrid Kaag, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In his speech to the CD, the UN Secretary-General stressed “we must bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force without delay.”
We must bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force without delay.

Whilst at the Palais, Zerbo held several bilateral meetings, including with the U.S. Ambassador to the CD, Ambassador Robert Wood, and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag.